Kaweah Commonwealth - Three Rivers

News and Information of KAWEAH COUNTRY - Three Rivers,

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Lemon Cove and Woodlake

Visitor Information:
Three Rivers
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Real Estate
Local History
Travel Information
Weekly News and Features
Weekly Weather
Calendar of Events
Property Rentals
Columns/ Opinions
Readers Poll
Newspaper Archives

Live Web Cam of
Sequoia National Park,
the High Sierra,
and Three Rivers, California


Kaweah Kam

AddThis Feed Button



In the News - Friday, March 22, 2013




Feral pigs cause hazard on Highway 198

  Feral pigs can be devastating to a lawn or garden. But when they dart across a highway, especially after nightfall, there is bound to be destruction and death.
   At least two pigs were on Highway 198 at dusk on Saturday, March 16. According to a motorist heading eastbound that evening, two pigs had already been hit and were lying in the roadway near Horse Creek.
   The driver, a 60-year-old male from Visalia, said his 2005 Hyundai struck both animals. The motorist was not injured but his vehicle suffered moderate damage.
   A number of other Three Rivers motorists reported passing the scene later that evening and seeing remains of at least two animals along the shoulder of the roadway. Blood from the carnage was still visible on the roadway several days later.
   CHP officers are cautioning motorists in the vicinity of Lake Kaweah to slow down, especially when approaching the Horse Creek curve. The area is a known wildlife corridor and the dark-colored feral pigs can be hard to see at night.
   The motionless figures of the critters, often weighing several hundred pounds, are nearly impossible to see until just before impact. If you do happen to strike an animal, or come onto a scene where animals are blocking the roadway, it is critical that the CHP be notified via the 911 system.

Eagle lands on South Fork Drive

  What do you do with a regal sycamore that’s nearly a century old and beginning to show its age? If you are Mike and Pam Condon, longtime residents of Three Rivers, you create a unique stump carving for the entire community to see and enjoy.
  “I wouldn’t cut a tree down just to make a carving but something had to be done eventually with this sycamore,” said Mike. “There was some rot in the upper trunk so some cutting and trimming was needed just below the utility wires.”
   Mike, who works construction and is a Three Rivers volunteer firefighter, said over the past few years that Gene Castro’s Tree Service has trimmed the sycamore but it was in a state of decline. After the last major cut, the shape of the large trunk that remained suggested a bird and became a candidate to be carved.
   Like most Three Rivers property owners, Mike has always enjoyed cutting wood and even tried some chainsaw carving of his own. But a carving of this scope and size, Mike realized, called for some expertise.
   That’s when he happened to meet Jason Moody, a Springville-Porterville carver, at last month’s World Ag Expo in Tulare. Mike asked Jason to come to Three Rivers and take a look and soon a deal was struck to transform the nearly 10-foot-high stump into a soaring eagle.
   Jason admitted that he has never tackled a carving this big.
  “I carve anything and everything, and recently I did one up in Shaver Lake of a coyote and a couple of bears,” Jason said. “But this stump carving is my best so far. This tree is unique and really worked out well.”
   It all worked great except for the amount of time Jason estimated it would take him to complete the wooden sculpture. What Jason thought would take four or five days became twice that and soon went from commissioned artwork to labor of love.
   Mike set up the scaffolding, and kept his backhoe parked at various angles so Jason could stand in the bucket to reach all the places that needed the thousands of fine strokes and burned accents. Within two weeks from start to finish the Condons’ eagle was created.
   Jason, who lives near Lake Success, said he never has booths at area shows because as soon as he carves anything it sells. He refers to himself as a “commission carver.”
   As for his tools of the trade, Jason prefers Stihl chainsaws, which are American-made and not sold at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
  “They make a decent saw and have a really good warranty,” Jason quipped.
   According to Jason, the secret to expert carving is to violate the cardinal rule of every chainsaw user’s manual.
  “The rule of thumb in chain sawing is never touch the tip,” Jason said, “but learning how to use the tip is the only way to get the fine detail.”
   Most of his learning about carving has been done in the company of other carvers in Washington and back east where he learned from a national champion – Dennis Beach of Wapwallopen, Penn.
  “Dennis has been out here to carve on several occasions,” Jason said. “He’s been my mentor as an artist and a chainsaw pro.”
   Three Rivers’s latest resident eagle has a 16-foot wingspan with a body that’s eight feet in height. Mike Condon, who commissioned Jason, did the site prep and finish work himself. He even applied the final coats of varnish and said to do a project like this one should plan on a budget of $2,500 to $3,000.
   Need some inspiration of your own to creates some yard art? Head up South Fork Drive near the intersection with South Fork Estates to see where this eagle has landed.

TRUS hosts German students

By Holly Gallo

  Phelan Klemer, who arrived this week as a guest student at Three Rivers School from Münsingen, Germany, presented the entire TRUS student body with a multimedia program about life in Germany.
   Phelan has been studying English since he was in first grade, but still has a slight accent; a trait that an informer said some female classmates find quite endearing. He is in eighth grade and will stay at TRUS through the rest of the school year.
   Phelan attended his first baseball game on Tuesday, March 19, and will join the school’s baseball team for the rest of the season. He will also travel with the class on their San Francisco trip in May. In Germany, his favorite hobbies are biking, snowboarding, soccer, listening to music, and building model kits.
   His brother Elis is a third- grader and also a guest student at TRUS. He will be staying at the school until he returns to Germany with his parents, Andrea and Michael, on April 11. Their little sister, Lavinia, is kindergarten-age but is not a guest student at the school.
   Andrea Klemer was a foreign exchange student at Woodlake High School. Wanting her children to experience California and improve their English, she asked TRUS principal Sue Sherwood if the school would be willing to host them. Sherwood obliged, noting the importance of children learning about different cultures.

First river rescue of the season in Sequoia

  Just when you think it’s safe to go near the river, it happens.
   On Saturday, March 9, a group of teenage friends were walking near the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River below Hospital Rock. One moment he was there, the next minute the 18-year-old male slipped on a rock and fell into a pool — the very same area that has claimed a number of others before him.
   In fact, the Hospital Rock area has had more fatalities due to drowning in the past two decades than any other area in Sequoia or Kings Canyon national parks.
   On this day, the victim was most fortunate. Though unconscious after apparently striking his head, the youth’s friends were able to pull him back up onto the riverbank and administer CPR.
   Sequoia National Park rangers responded to the calls for help and examined the victim who had regained consciousness. In communication with an emergency room doctor at a Fresno hospital, park personnel were able to monitor vital signs and the levels of oxygen in the victim’s blood.
   After talking with park personnel for a few more minutes, the victim refused to be transported to the hospital for further examination. Park rangers are cautioning all who enter the parks that even when the river does not look dangerous, it is, and the inviting shallow pools are currently extremely cold and can contain hidden undercurrents.

Internet outages reported

  An AT&T system-wide Internet outage occurred beginning at about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, and wasn’t resolved until 1:40 p.m. on Sunday, March 17. The problem was with equipment located somewhere between the AT&T hub on Sierra Drive in Three Rivers and the Valley. DSL was reported as not working in all areas of Three Rivers, and AT&T land phone lines were also out of order.
   Reports were also received of spotty outages on Monday, March 18, which could have been due to ongoing work on the lines.

WHS teen program seeks sponsors

By Holly Gallo

  Woodlake Union High School will once again host the dramatic educational program “Every 15 Minutes.” The two-day event, to be held Thursday and Friday, May 23 and 24, is a proactive opportunity for high school students to think critically about safety when alcohol is involved.
   Community members are encouraged to help sponsor the event.
   Steve Katz of Three Rivers, a WHS counselor and Every 15 Minutes committee chair, said that this year they are also doing a distracted-driving component to bring attention to the dangers of texting and talking on a cell phone while driving.
   Katz said that the program challenges students to “think about drinking, driving, personal safety, the responsibility of making mature decisions and the impact on their decisions have on family, friends, and many others.”
   The Every 15 Minutes program calls attention to reports that alcohol-related collisions are the leading cause of death among teenage youth, its name stemming from the statistic that someone in the U.S. is injured or killed in an alcohol-related incident “every 15 minutes.”
   Woodlake is producing the program in conjunction with Friday Night Live, the California Highway Patrol, and the Office of Traffic Safety. WHS held the event previously in 2003 and 2008.
   If interested in sponsoring the event or providing time, services, or financial assistance, contact Steve Katz at 564-3307. Financial donations will be used to provide meals for students and participants, pay for printing supplies, T-shirts, photography, video production, transportation, and retreat facilities. Any unused donations will be placed into a college scholarship fund for the participating senior students.
   During the first day of the event, the “Grim Reaper” stalks the student body, removing one student from their peers every 15 minutes. An obituary is read for the student and a uniformed law-enforcement officer or chaplain gives the parents of the “living dead” their child’s death notification.
   The highlight of the program is a staged traffic incident in front of the school, where a student is “killed” by a fellow student who was drunk driving. A pre-recorded 911 call is broadcasted throughout the campus, and emergency response teams arrive to treat one injured victim and use the “Jaws of Life” to recover a critically injured student who is trapped inside the vehicle. The drunk driver is taken to jail.
   At the end of the day, the living dead are taken to an overnight retreat where they have no contact with friends or family. The students participate in team building activities and write letters to loved ones expressing their thoughts had they not been killed that day.
   As a powerful conclusion to the event, the second day features an assembly for the student body. Students watch a video of the previous day’s events and living dead students read portions of the letters they wrote the night before. Parents and their children are reunited, while students read letters to their parents that begin: “Dear Mom and Dad, Every 15 minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic collision, and today I died. I never had the chance to tell you…”

Cort Gallery receives upgrades

Spring events being planned

By Holly Gallo

  After 25 years of providing Three Rivers with art, creativity, community, and music, the Cort Gallery has now officially completed its construction.
   Gary, a self-described “optimistic existentialist,” said that though the final touches may seem small — a simple layer of plaster and paint on the ceiling and a new, dark finish on the floors — the moment signifies a new beginning. As such, he’s planned a lineup of activities for the coming months.
   On Saturday, April 20, the Nameless Fire Tribe will host the “Nameless Art Festival” at the gallery. Artists will be showcasing their photography, painting, poetry, and performances while attendees will have the opportunity to create and learn. Admission is $5 for adults; free for kids under 13.
   In early May, the Cort Gallery plans to host a concert featuring Jesse Belman and other local musicians. As always, the Kaweah River Drum Circle crew meets Sunday evenings, and the gallery is open to visitors every “1st Saturday” of the month.
   The continual effort of the Cort Gallery is “community building.”
  “It’s a do-it-yourself gallery,” Gary said. “I’ve dedicated it to beginnings and beginners; music, art, whatever. The drum circle too. Art, at its best, is for beginners. It’s closer to art when it’s fresh and new.”


Elizabeth Wilcox
1924 ~ 2013

   Elizabeth Wilcox of Three Rivers died Tuesday, March 12, 2013, in Visalia. She was 88.
   A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Saturday, March 23) at 11 a.m. at Three Rivers Presbyterian Church, followed by a gathering with refreshments at the church’s Harrison Hall.
   She was born Jessie Elizabeth Woodard in Tahlequah, Okla., on July 25, 1924, to Nell E. and Jesse E. Woodard. She attended schools in Tahlequah and was in Northeastern State College (present-day Northeastern State University) when World War II broke out.
   Elizabeth left school and went to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C. She also worked at the Navy Mine Test Station on Chesapeake Bay, Md.
   While there, she met and married Herbert W. Moise, who was a member of the U.S. Navy Band. Elizabeth and Herbert had four sons.
   Elizabeth and Herbert divorced. Years later, she married Chan Wilcox, a Visalia-area rancher. She and Chan lived on a ranch north of Visalia and later retired to Three Rivers.
   Elizabeth was small in stature but large in courage and ambition. Her boys may have been bigger and stronger but there was never a question as to who was in charge.
   Elizabeth took to ranch life as if she’d done it all her life. She and Chan also took many trips, which she thoroughly enjoyed. She had a real zest for life.
   Elizabeth was preceded in death by her older sister, Jean Marie.
   She is survived by her husband, Chan, of Three Rivers; her four sons, Herb III, Gene, Mark, and Kim; and two stepsons, John and Alan Wilcox.

Winifred Lamb
1905 ~ 2013

   Winifred Lamb of Three Rivers died Friday, March 15, 2013. She was 107.
   Winifred was born in London, England, on November 2, 1905, to Arthur George Heming and Rosina Turnham Heming. She immigrated to the United States as a young child, settling in California with her family.
   In 1923, Winifred graduated from Owensmouth High School (Canoga Park). While a student she enjoyed participating in school plays and accompanying musical events on the piano.
   She attended the University of Southern California and graduated in 1927 with a bachelor of music degree.
   For the next three years, Winifred was a freelance accompanist for local music teachers and singers. Then, from 1930 to 1934, Winifred was a teacher of music at Frances M. DePauw Spanish High School. As a trained musician, Winifred was a “brilliant accompanist,” as stated by her superintendent.
   Wyn fondly recalled her participation in the Olympic Chorus during the 1932 Olympic Games. She also played the piano in a violin and cello trio at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park during her Easter vacation.
   Winifred was an active member of Sigma Tau Chapter of Sigma Alpha lota and the Music Teachers Association of California.
   A career in social work was next for Winifred when she went to work at the Assistance League in Hollywood.
   On August 29, 1942, Winifred married Charles H. Lamb. After his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, the couple moved to Chatsworth. They were orange growers and, overall, spent 65 years in the agriculture industry.In addition, raising quarter horses was a family hobby, and Winifred enjoyed riding for pleasure throughout her life.
   When her daughter, Margaret Deane, arrived in 1944, it was the beginning of a whole new career for Wyn. And when Winifred and husband Charles moved to Elderwood they went to work on yet another orange grove venture. During this time, Winifred was also employed at the Tulare County Welfare Department in Child Protective Services.
   She attended St. Clement’s Episcopal Church, serving as the organist for many years, and was an active Episcopal Church Women’s member. She was also a member of the Founders Circle Garden Club in Woodlake. Through the years, she enjoyed traveling to Ashland, Ore., to view the Shakespeare plays.
   In 2007, at the age of 101, Wyn moved to Three Rivers to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Deane and Herb Reed. Her appreciation of music never waned, as she enjoyed the Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute’s concerts, the local violin summer camp recitals, and the annual Concert on the Grass. She also graciously co-hosted a weekly Bible study.
   Having lived for more than a century, Winifred marveled at the changes in the world that she witnessed, from churning butter, washing boards, and ice boxes to the “thin air” merchandising and email of today.
   Winifred was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Hubert Lamb; brother Thomas William Heming; and sisters-in-law Margaret F. Lamb and Margaret C. Heming.
Winifred is survived by her daughter, Margaret Deane Lamb Reed, and husband Herbert D. Reed; and nephew Arthur Stewart Heming.
   In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org/charitable-donations); Valley Oak SPCA (www.vospca.org); St. Clement of Alexandria Church, 498 N. Valencia Blvd., Woodlake, CA 93286; or Talking Book Library for the Blind, c/o Fresno County Public Library, 770 N. San Pablo Ave., Fresno, CA 93728.

THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
© Copyright 2003-2013 The Kaweah Commonwealth