the News - Friday, March 13, 2009
in glimmering sunlight
is the Kaweah Marina at Lemon Hill with
Terminus Dam in the background.
storage as of Thursday, March 12, at Lake
Kaweah is 43,182 acre feet.
mean inflow is 367 cubic feet per second
and the outflow is just 17 cfs.
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
Student struck in TRUS crosswalk
By John Elliott
David Lowe, 15, a Woodlake High School
sophomore, was struck by a westbound pickup truck
when crossing the highway from Three Rivers School
toward the Chevron Station. The victim miraculously
received only minor injuries.
The accident occurred Thursday, March
5, just after 6:30 p.m. The driver of the 1993 Chevy
pickup, Andrew Denman Jr., 43, of Three Rivers, told
a CHP investigating officer at the scene that he was
traveling between 35 and 40 mph and never saw the
pedestrian in the crosswalk.
According to a preliminary accident report,
the cause of the accident is listed as failure to
yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk. There was
no indication that alcohol was a factor in the accident.
Lowe had just been dropped off near the
crosswalk by the Woodlake High School bus. There was
at least one car parked on the south shoulder of the
roadway in the vicinity of the crosswalk so the bus
had to pull off the roadway farther up than usual,
closer to the intersection of Eggers Drive.
At the time of the accident, there were
a large number of cars parked nearby and people in
and around the Three Rivers School parking lot attending
the school’s annual Recognition Night event
and a dinner that was being served in the McDowall
Auditorium. Witnesses at the scene reported that the
pickup struck the victim a glancing blow causing him
to become airborne at least eight feet.
According to Lowe’s father, also
named David, his son landed on his left side and was
unconscious for at least 30 seconds. The elder Lowe
was on his way walking along the highway en route
from Chumps DVDs to meet his son when the accident
arrived at the scene within 90 seconds of David being
struck,” said the boy’s father. “By
the time I got there, some people at the scene were
with David who was lying near the north shoulder of
Lowe said a Tulare County Fire Department unit arrived
a few minutes later and a paramedic checked his son
to determine the extent of his injuries. A short time
later, the Three Rivers Ambulance was on scene and
transported the victim with his father to Kaweah Delta
Hospital in Visalia.
we arrived at the emergency room we sat in the hallway
at least 30 minutes before they even did anything,”
the boy’s father said. “After determining
that there were was no internal bleeding, David was
released about 10 p.m.”
The boy’s father said his son only
suffered a few bumps and bruises.
was an absolute miracle that the accident was not
more serious,” said the victim’s father.
“Since the accident I’ve checked out that
S-curve east of the crosswalk and there is no way
that a vehicle approaching at 40 mph on a dark roadway
can see someone in time to stop.”
Lowe said that there needs to be more
lighting at the crosswalk. The TRUS board of trustees
is expected to address the crosswalk issue at its
Last Thursday’s accident was eerily
similar to one that occurred at the same crosswalk
on Feb. 17, 2004. In that 6 p.m. mishap, Sarah Farkas,
at the time also a Woodlake High School sophomore,
was struck by a pickup that also failed to yield to
a pedestrian in the crosswalk.
Sarah suffered more extensive injuries,
including head trauma and a broken pelvis, and was
hospitalized at Children’s Hospital Central
California. She has since recovered and currently
attends college in Orange County.
3R woman victim of credit card
by Brian Rothhammer
Mary Famisaran owns Foragers Place, a
cozy little shop next to Sierra Subs where she specializes
in vintage Japanese textiles. On March 4, she went
online at a local restaurant (no DSL at home) and
had an unpleasant surprise.
Not the food, that was fine, but while
checking her business bank account she found the balance
to be about $500 short. Four suspicious charges were
pending, two in Inglewood and two in Los Angeles.
She called her bank at once to dispute the charges
and cancel the credit card. She was told by their
fraud department that she would have to wait until
the charges cleared before they might be reversed.
Telephoning her son, she was told about
unscrupulous persons using cell phone cameras to snap
images of another’s credit card when the unsuspecting
person presented it to a merchant. Also, he said there
are pinhole cameras that have been discovered at strategically
placed vantage points to photograph cards as they
are fed into readers mounted on gas pumps.
On her next call to the bank’s
fraud department, Mary found that not only was the
fraud investigator familiar with such occurrences,
but that she herself had been a victim of credit card
fraud. Turns out that 35 online accounts had been
opened and merchandise ordered using the card number
that she had provided to a pizza delivery driver,
and all on that same night within a six-hour period.
The bank faxed forms to Mary, which she
signed and returned. On her next call to them, she
got a “rude man” on the line who told
her that her card had been present at the suspect
purchases. He advised her in such cases that the merchant
was to provide copies of the transactions and had
30 days to do so.
Thirty days of negative cash flow. The
following day, a different (“nice lady”)
investigator told her that although that was technically
correct, the bank would not hold her funds for more
than 10 days and, indeed, the funds were back in her
account the following day.
All in all, good lessons were learned
in diligence and follow-through on the part of Famisaran
as far as protecting assets and mitigating damage.
What this local merchant and consumer realized is
that credit card fraud is rampant and is certainly
not limited to online purchases.
Remember the old carbon copy credit card
slips? It was so easy for larcenous types to simply
keep the spare copy and use the number later for fraudulent
It’s even easier now. It seems
that with a simple digital photograph of anyone’s
credit or debit card, thieves can reproduce the magnetic
strip and affix a bogus strip to any plastic card
and, voila, a usable duplicate of the original.
This may be what happened to an unsuspecting
Vigilance is the key to protecting yourself
and your assets. Do not leave your card face up in
plain view of anyone, even for a moment. Be aware
of your surroundings.
Even then, you may not be safe. A quick
Google (or other engine) search of credit card fraud
prevention will provide a wealth of information such
as the federal limit of cardholder liability, which
in theft cases is $50.
of local Chamber resigns
In challenging economic times, when stimulus
packages and financial bailouts are the prescription
for small businesses, an ailing chamber of commerce
is not what the doctor ordered.
Citing the struggling economy and the
need to spend more time on business and with family,
Johanna Kamansky abruptly announced Thursday, March
5, that she had resigned from the presidency and the
board of directors of the Sequoia Foothills Chamber
of Commerce. The resignation, she said in an email
correspondence, was effective immediately.
Johanna cited that in the past 14 months
as president she had volunteered more than 80 hours
monthly and in three years on the board had volunteered
more than 1,500 hours toward improving the economic
health of what she called “this wonderful region.”
The latest resignation comes within a
week of the resignation of Mark Tilchen, a charter
chamber board member and immediate past president.
Tilchen cited increasing challenges in his job as
director of the Sequoia Natural History Association
as the primary reason for his departure from the SFCC
At its regular board meeting held on
Monday, March 9, the remaining eight board members
named Linda Drouet as interim president of the chamber
board. Drouet is the owner of Drouet Designs and with
her husband Roger operates a Three Rivers firm that
specializes in new construction and kitchen/bath remodels.
Other interim officers are Arlin Talley,
pastor of Community Presbyterian Church, vice president;
and Leah Catherine Launey, owner of Three Rivers Bed
and Breakfast, secretary. SFCC directors are Chris
Schlossin (Sequoia Motel), Tony Moreno (Sierra Business
Center), Diane Mason (Wuksachi Lodge), and Don Mosley
(Donald W. Mosley, D.D.S.). Alex Picavet of Sequoia-Kings
Canyon National Parks is the parks’ liaison
to the board.
Don Mosley, the board’s newest
member, said after Monday’s meeting that he
was encouraged by the direction of the board. He said
he expects the chamber to promote more events and
to aggressively market some conventions to stimulate
new business in Three Rivers, especially in the off-season
when there are less park visitors.
Saving Blue Ridge is a group
By Brian Allison
Blue Ridge Lookout is located in Tulare
County and sits perched amongst pine, oak, and manzanita
atop a Y-shaped ridge that drops 2,500 feet into surrounding
canyons. Beautiful views of the San Joaquin Valley,
Sequoia National Park, and the High Sierra are visible
from its strategic location.
The tower, jointly built by Cal Fire
(formerly California Department of Forestry and Fire
Protection) and the U.S. Forest Service, was constructed
in 1930, In 1931, a separate cabin was built at the
base of the tower and is currently the oldest Cal
Fire (CDF) lookout residence.
According to cultural-resource specialist
Mark Thornton, the station exhibits “exemplary
craftsmanship” with little significant historical
integrity loss over the years.
Old-timer lookouts remember its dual
use as an observation post for the California condor.
Blue Ridge Lookout has been abandoned as a location
for fire detection for over 20 years and is currently
managed by the State of California.
Although there are plans to relocate
the lookout tower, the residence and garage are slated
* * *
Despite every sort of setback and obstacle
imaginable, Nick Perricelli’s goal of rescuing
Blue Ridge Lookout from demolition is close to becoming
a reality. If all goes according to plan, the lookout
will become a permanent fixture at the Tulare County
Fairgrounds instead of ending up on a scrap metal
boat bound for China.
Perricelli, a captain with Cal Fire’s
Tulare Unit, has over the years become a student of
California firefighting history. When he learned that
Blue Ridge was slated for demolition to make way for
more communications towers, he thought it a shame
that a piece of the legacy would disappear.
Captain Isi Bran shared Perricelli’s
sentiment, but that was as far as it went until one
day in 2007 when Perricelli by chance met Cherish
North, the lookout on Jordan Peak. When Perricelli
told her of his desire to save Blue Ridge, “her
eyes lit up,” and she told him of Kathy Ball
and the Buck Rock Foundation.
Perricelli, Bran, and Ball teamed up
and together started a long, long journey through
the labyrinths of bureaucracy.
Approval was needed from various departments within
the State of California — fire management, real
estate, cultural resources, etc. Environmental assessments
The seemingly simple matter of transferring
ownership from the State of California to the Tulare
County Fairgrounds turned out to be not simple at
Then there was the meat-and-potatoes
end of it: How to lower a four-ton building 60 feet
to the ground in a tight space bristling with radio
towers and transport it down narrow mountain roads
to the Valley below.
Being firefighters, Perricelli and Bran
had a simple solution: a heavy-lift helicopter to
pick it up and set it down nice and easy.
Perricelli and a colonel of the California
National Guard, Jeff Holiday, got together and formed
a plan, but a couple of wars intruded and Col. Holiday’s
aircraft were called away and deployed halfway around
the world. There went that idea.
The dream simmered but never turned cold,
and in another chance meeting — this time at
fire camp on the Hidden Fire in summer 2008 —
Perricelli met Jeff Kurz, the owner-operator of Kurz
Trucking and Crane, who signed on. This brought some
new logistics into play.
A couple of trees near the lookout would
need to be removed. Being potential California condor
habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had something
to say about that.
Then there was the actual uncoupling
of the lookout cab from its stairs and the placement
of the crane’s rigging. A perfect job, suggested
Kathy Ball, for the Southern Sierra Climbing Association.
Sure enough, Patrick Paul, founder of the SSCA, has
now offered his assistance.
In January, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s
approval, the troublesome trees were removed by Cal
Fire’s Mountain Home saw-team crew.
With any luck, before the upcoming fire
season begins, the cab of the Blue Ridge Lookout will
be moved from its mountaintop and housed at Cal Fire
headquarters in Visalia to undergo extensive restoration.
Pending approval from Sacramento, the
lookout will stand tall at the Tulare County Fairgrounds
for generations to come.
And if the area at the base of its stairs
is called Perricelli Plaza, so much the better.
Brian Allison is the editor-at-large
for the Buck Rock Foundation’s newsletter.
BE A VOLUNTEER!
The 2009 Orientation and Training Workshops
are in the process of being scheduled.
The two separate all-day sessions will
teach all aspects of fire detection from map reading
and daily log recording to using the Osborne Fire
Finder and smoke reporting.
No previous experience is necessary.
To be alerted when the workshops will be held this
spring, call 336-2366 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Studio Tour 9 prepares
2010 artists’ event
Early planning is underway for the biennial
Three Rivers Artists' Studio Tour, which is scheduled
for March 19, 20, and 21, 2010.
Are you a creative person with a designated
workspace who lives in Three Rivers? Have you thought
of adding yourself as an artist on the Studio Tour,
but are not sure how it could work for you?
If so, you are invited to come to a planning
meeting on Saturday, April 4, at 4 p.m., at the home
of Studio Tour organizer Elsah Cort. Artists who have
previously participated in the Studio Tour will also
be attending this meeting and sharing their experiences.
The meeting will include a potluck supper;
bring a dish to share and a place setting.
The Studio Tour is open to creative persons
who work in all media. The only criteria are that
the artist is a resident of Three Rivers with an individually
designated place to practice their art form.
“The Studio Tour has a reputation for showing
the artist in their creative environment, demonstrating
how art-making or creative endeavors can be integrated
into our daily lives,” said Elsah. “It
is a multi-dimensional way to expose people to creativity
and inspire them to wake up their own creative instincts.”
Started 17 years ago, and now preparing
for its ninth incarnation, next year’s Studio
Tour will be expanding to a three-day format. This
will allow people to explore the studios leisurely
over several days, talk with the artists and, hopefully,
come for a long weekend visit to Three Rivers.
Arts Visalia Gallery will also be hosting
a Studio Tour artists' group show during January 2010
as a prelude of what will be coming for the Studio
For more information, call 561-4671.
Arts Alliance plans spring workshop
The Arts Alliance of Three Rivers has
scheduled a day of art instruction that will feature
artist Marjorie Brandon, formerly of Three Rivers.
Marjorie has much expertise to share and many decades
of artistic knowledge considering she is over 90 years
of age and still going strong.
Now she will teach her method for creating
collage while giving workshop participants a choice
between “careful planning” and “artistic
The Arts Alliance’s recent workshops
— from stepping stones to living wreaths —
have all sold out, so register early. The workshop
will be held Saturday, April 18, from 10 a.m. to 2
p.m., at the Cort Gallery in Three Rivers.
The cost is $40 ($30 for Arts Alliance
members). Information/registration: 561-4166.
National parks documentary
air on PBS this fall
The new Ken Burns documentary series,
“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,”
will air on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) in fall
2009. The 12-hour, six-part series is the story of
an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of
Independence and just as radical: that the most special
places in the nation should be preserved, not for
royalty or the rich, but for everyone.
The documentary was filmed over the course
of more than six years in some of nature’s most
spectacular locales, from Acadia in Maine to Zion
in Utah. The narrative by Peter Coyote traces the
birth of the national park idea in the mid 1800s and
follows its evolution for nearly 150 years.
The visual aspect of the film will include
archival photographs, interviews, first-person accounts,
and, of course, stunning cinematography.
There are 391 units in the National Park
System (58 national parks, 333 national monuments,
historic sites, and other units). The National Park
Service has a presence in 49 of the 50 states (Delaware
is the sole exception).
A companion book will accompany the film.
Great Smoky Mountains
10 years ago in
The Kaweah Commonwealth
MARCH 5, 1999
Two weekend accidents are alcohol-related—
Two accidents occurred on Sierra Drive over the past
weekend, both of which involved female drivers and
both of whom were cited for driving under the influence
of alcohol. Both drivers were taken into custody at
Woodlake appoints recreation director—
The City of Woodlake hired Ben Partin of Three Rivers
to oversee organized sports and recreation in the
TRUS hosts Foothill League tournament—
Three Rivers, the only team in the league that is
actually in the foothills, hosted a six-team boys’
basketball tournament. The TRUS Eagles came in third.
Hiking the Parks: Hospital Rock to
Panther Creek— A feature describing
a winter foothills hike.
MARCH 12, 1999
TRUS board agrees to partial Internet
filtering— The controversial issue
of Internet filtering deadlocked the Three Rivers
School board of trustees at their February meeting.
At the March meeting, Bob Burke, trustee, said, “This
issue is tearing apart our town and our board and
we just can’t be fractured by this.” Ultimately,
the board appeased both the pro-filtering and non-filtering
factions by unanimously passing the motion that one-half
(15 computers) of the computers in the lab be filtered
for those who choose to have filtered access.
March is National Nutrition Month.
The Central Valley Health & Nutrition
Collaborative, in conjunction with the American Dietetic
Association, is encouraging local residents of all
ages to eat right and get healthy. Eating right at
any age is a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight
and reducing the risk of chronic diseases, especially
cancer, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
Throughout the month of March, local
organizations in the Collaborative, including the
Tulare County Office of Education, will be reminding
Central California residents that eating right is
important and easy. Below are a few simple steps everyone
can take to eat better and live healthier:
—Adopt a few specific small changes such as
adding a piece of fruit daily to your diet.
—Plan meals to prevent unhealthy, last-minute
—Select food that is nutrient rich — packed
with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients.
—Increase daily physical activity for overall
health and fitness — 60 minutes for children
and at least 30 minutes for adults.
—Be aware of special needs. Nutritional needs
can vary according to age and overall level of health.
For example, older adults need more vitamin D and
calcium to maintain bone health.
The Central Valley Health & Nutrition
Collaborative is comprised of more than 100 health
and nutrition-related partner organizations and more
than 250 individuals who are committed to the health
of residents in Tulare, Fresno, Kings, Kern, Madera,
Merced, and Mariposa counties. The Collaborative brings
organizations together to address regional health
concerns through policy, prevention, and intervention
For more information, visit www.cvhnc.org.
1937 ~ 2009
Ken Gardner, a longtime resident and
friend of Three Rivers, passed away Friday, March
6, 2009. He was 71.
A memorial celebration and potluck is
scheduled for Saturday, March 21, beginning at noon,
at Lions Arena in Three Rivers.
Ken was born in Martinez, Calif., in
1937 to Raymond Kenneth and Cherry May (Nana) Gardner.
He was a loving husband, son, brother, father, uncle,
grandfather, and friend who will be greatly missed.
During his lifetime, Ken was a master
mechanic, electrician, racecar driver, motorcycle
racer, teacher, gemologist, jeweler, golfer, fisherman,
backcountry packer in national parks, fire camp crewmember
for CDF, cowboy, rockhound, storyteller, bartender,
and a private in the Marine Corps Reserve.
In 1956, Ken married his beloved Jackie
Gentile-Gardner. He was the father of the following
Son Ray Gardner, wife Naomi, and grandsons
Grant, Levi and his wife Kim, and great-grandchildren,
Saundy and Neva Jo Gilton.
Daughter Anne Gardner-Mederios and her
wife Joan, and grandchildren Joanne Ritter and husband
Mike, and Steven Anderson.
Son Frank Gardner.
Daughter Sandy Machado and husband Tony,
and grandchildren Shirley Machado and Tina Machado-Vasquez
and wife Ronnie.
Preceded in death by son Kenny Gardner.
Son Travis Gardner and his partner Denise
Other family members include:
Brother Don Gardner (deceased) and his
wife Linda Gardner-Richardson, her husband Bob, and
nieces and nephews.
Brother Jerry Gardner, his wife Marilyn,
niece Karen Gonzales and husband Marty and family,
and niece Sheryl Karnest and husband Rick and family.
Sister Patricia Ben-Ami and nephew Joe
Ben-Ami and his wife Allison and family, and nephew
Sister Phyllis Udell, her husband Dan,
and nephews Daniel Udell (deceased) and Doug Udell.
Also, favorite sister-in-law Frances
Down and her family; niece Nancy Aiguier and her family;
niece Renee Aiguier (deceased); nephew Ernie Aiguier
and family; niece Lynda Hester and family; nephew
Kevin Aiguier (deceased) and family; nephew Harry
Aiguier III (deceased); and niece Nila Aiguier and
His extended family includes:
Richard and Melissa Skeen and family;
Jeff Lasswell; Randy Norris; Tyler and Teddi Johnson
and family; Tod Johnson and family; Clint Johnson;
Phil and Lora Gomes and family; Katrina Young and
family; Linda DeLisio and family; Evan and Mary Sturdivant;
Mike Watkins and family; Kay Packard; Cindy Skeen
and family; Wendy McKellar and family; Kellie Lasswell
and family; Larry Davis; Paul Sprague and Kim Bollens;
Larry Davis and family; Antoinette Cloutier; and Scott
and Dawn Merrell and family.
A special acknowledgment to the guys
at Three Rivers Golf Course and all of Ken’s
Ken was a lover of NASCAR and well-known
for knowing “Who’s on the Pole.”
Who’s on the Pole position now, Dad?