the News - Friday, March 27, 2009
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
and staff from World Class Kayak Academy,
alternative high school based in Montana. The group
in Three Rivers this week exploring the Kaweah River.
Academy ranks 3R as ‘World
Student’s classroom is the world;
their playground is its waterways
Sometimes, those of us who live, work,
and play here lose sight of the fact that Three Rivers
is truly one of the great places on the planet. This
week, there are 13 exceptional high school students
here to remind us all that we are indeed fortunate
to be here… and for several days they will be
here too — living, learning, kayaking, and sharing
the Kaweah Country experience.
The students in grades 10 through 12
hail from all over the U.S. (five from Montana, two
from New York, two from Wyoming, and one each from
Florida, Oregon, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts)
and are currently camped at the Three Rivers Hideaway
with their teachers and coaches for an academic and
athletic odyssey like no other.
Part independent study, part outdoor
classroom, and part extreme kayak team training, these
13 are the vanguard of a bold, new alternative education
program called World Class Kayak Academy (WCKA). The
school was founded in 2002 and is based in Missoula,
“We’re headquartered in Montana,”
said one instructor, “but we’re hardly
ever there except for graduation and taking care of
business between semesters prior to each new school
The curriculum at WCKA incorporates international
travel into a traditional liberal arts education.
Students take all the college entrance exams.
To date, more than a dozen graduates
have gone on to success at major universities and
there will be many more. Currently, the school is
committed to 13 students per year and there are many
more waitlisted that cannot currently be accommodated.
Successful candidates must complete a
rigorous application process and have a mandatory
athletic recommendation from a coach or paddling instructor.
If not an experienced kayaker when entering WCKA,
the student must be willing to learn.
The high school curriculum is supervised
through Alberton High School in Alberton, Mont. The
focus is on academics, but kayaking is the means for
each student to find their own passion.
Fueled by its paddling passion, the World
Class team travels the globe in search of the best
rivers, play spots, and competitions. The travel,
study, and the athletics are proven character builders
and foster life skills to succeed in whatever endeavor
students may choose to do next.
Before arriving in Three Rivers, the
entourage had just returned from Spring Break after
spending nearly three months in China exploring another
“three rivers” – the Yangtze, Yunnan,
All the students agreed that the chance
to visit other countries was a big part of the academy’s
draw. Each semester costs about $15,000 and is on
a par with tuition at most private high schools.
Scholarships are available but in general
the kids come from families that are a cut above average
relative to per-capita income.
“Recently, I read an account written by bestselling
author Amy Tan, where she said that in China, where
rivers run… these places were the most outstanding,”
said Jason Cohen, a sophomore from Hanover, N.H.
It’s a bit of irony, Jason agreed,
that they visited three of China’s rivers and
the first stop on their West Coast tour is Three Rivers,
“Three Rivers is like the places that Amy Tan
described,” Jason said. “It has a river
running through it and it is so green. It reminds
me of New Zealand.”
The students spent Wednesday like most
other days. The morning was devoted to study and working
with their 4:1 student-teacher ratio. By mid-afternoon,
all students were running the rapids above and below
Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park.
Asked what they thought of the Kaweah
River the chorus of replies was “awesome.”
“It’s beautiful here, everyone seems so
happy, and it’s not crowded,” said Sebastian
Scholl, a junior from Miami, Fla. “I’m
from back east so I’m not used to these wide-open
spaces and unspoiled places.”
After leaving Three Rivers, the caravan
will visit the American, Yuba, and Trinity rivers
in California and then explore the Oregon coast for
some ocean experience. In mid-May, this semester’s
educational adventure ends when the seniors graduate
Among the electives is journalism and
videography/photography so naturally there’s
a blog spot. TKC readers are invited to follow the
adventures of these extreme kayakers by logging onto:
Lake Kaweah projected to fill
And if you can tell us
when, you receive a prize!
It’s official. Earlier this week,
Phil Deffenbaugh, park manager at Lake Kaweah, confirmed
that the latest projections are now showing that Lake
Kaweah will fill with spring runoff and, at capacity,
will be brimming with 186,000 acre feet.
still not locked into when the lake will be full or
for how long,” Deffenbaugh said. “What
we do know is that we will be above the old fill level
of 145,000 acre-feet for an extended period so we
are going to have lots of beautiful water in the basin.”
That’s great news after a precipitation
season that was slow to get going but finally was
jumpstarted by some significant storms last month.
Season rainfall totals and the current
snowpack, though still slightly below normal, are
looking much better after last Sunday’s cold
storm dumped some significant snow on elevations above
Most of that low snow is already gone
but at 7,000 feet elevation, nearly five feet of firm
snowpack is in place, and it’s not likely to
be experiencing any major meltdowns soon.
would be great if these spring-like temperatures would
hold on for awhile longer,” Deffenbaugh said.
“Currently, there are no significant runoff
events in the immediate forecast and the really warm
temperatures are not being predicted until late April.”
When those warmer days do finally arrive,
and temperatures begin to flirt with triple digits,
the snowpack starts its rapid rush down the Kaweah
drainage. With an approximate six to eight-hour lag
time until the melting snow reaches Three Rivers,
the loudest river and highest flows generally occur
Those peak flows, which daily approach
3,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) in the Middle Fork,
generally occur in May and are a whitewater rafter’s
dream come true.
contests: To commemorate the annual
rolling thunder revue, Commonwealth readers are invited
to submit their best guess as to when the Kaweah River
and all its tributaries will provide peak mean inflow.
River gauges stream inflow data continuously to U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers computers, and the numbers
can actually be calculated to the very hour when the
annual river-watching ritual occurs.
think it’s entirely possible that several folks
might be able to come up with the right day, but to
nail the peak at the precise hour, that’s really
someone who is really paying attention,” Deffenbaugh
HINT: In the past 15 seasons since the
Commonwealth has been on the watch, the peak flow
has usually occurred in May, but at least once in
April and a couple of times in June.
Dinner for two at a local restaurant
(a $50 value) will be awarded for best guess on peak
river flow. Another dinner for two will be provided
to whoever provides the best guess when Lake Kaweah
reaches its highest level and fills for the first
time this season.
Each entry must contain the month, day,
and the hour and indicate whether it is for the peak
Kaweah River flow or Lake Kaweah fill. One entry per
each category per household may be submitted to The
Kaweah Commonwealth via email, U.S. mail, via fax,
or dropped off in person. Each entry must contain
a valid name and address with a phone number to notify
All entries must be received no later
than 5 p.m. on Friday, April 17. Winners will be announced
around June 1 subject to the whims of the weather
and when the peak flow and fill occur.
state sales tax
Effective April 1, 2009, the state sales
and use tax rate will increase one percent. The one-percent
tax rate increase will expire on either July 1, 2011,
or July 1, 2012, depending upon whether voters approve
the proposed Budge Stabilization constitutional amendment
(Proposition 1A) in a statewide election to be held
May 19, 2009.
On April 1, Tulare County’s sales
and use tax rate will increase to 8.75%. In Visalia,
the sales tax will be 9% due to a previous voter-approved
local district tax increase.
To view county sales tax rates and other
state laws and regulations, go to the Travel Information
page on this website.
River Rovers seek volunteers
Drowning is the leading cause of death
in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. But a
new visitor education program is seeking to curb this
As the rivers rise, volunteers are again
being recruited for the River Rovers. This corps of
dedicated people will roam the riverbanks to educate
visitors about river hazards and encourage responsible
use of park resources.
River Rovers will be provided with training,
uniforms, first-aid kids, two-way radios, and other
necessary equipment. However, they are not trained
rescue personnel and will not be involved in swift-water
rescue or placed in situations that would compromise
their personal safety.
River Rovers candidates should have outdoor
experience, good people skills, and be able to walk
several miles on uneven terrain in high temperatures.
Multilingual skills are especially helpful but not
For more information or to request an
application, contact Tim Barrett, interpretive ranger,
at Tim_Barrett@nps.gov or by calling 565-4212 or 565-4211.
Local groups prepare
Several organizations are requesting
applications from high school seniors in order to
provide some financial assistance to those planning
on attending college.
Scholarships for all
Three Rivers seniors:
ARTS ALLIANCE OF THREE RIVERS—
For the past several years, the Arts Alliance of Three
Rivers has awarded scholarships to students from local
high schools who intend to continue their art studies.
During the past year, the Arts Alliance has been hard
at work raising funds to expand the Lorraine Young
Memorial Scholarship program.
The program is open to all Three Rivers
students, whether at Woodlake High, homeschooled,
graduating from other high schools outside the Woodlake
High School District, or those who have completed
some college and are continuing their education in
The criteria for the scholarship are:
plans to attend college.
has an interest in art and plans to study art in college.
Rivers students will be given preference.
must show evidence of college enrollment to receive
In considering applications, the Arts
Alliance uses a broad definition of the arts. In the
past they have considered applicants who have an interest
in graphic design, architecture, music, performing
arts, and culinary arts, as well as drawing, painting,
and ceramic arts.
WHS seniors may obtain and submit an
application through the school’s counseling
department. All others may access the application
online at: www.artsthreerivers.org
or by calling 561-4417 (mail completed application
to the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers, P.O. Box 981,
Three Rivers, CA 93271). The due date for completed
applications is Saturday, April 25.
THREE RIVERS WOMAN’S CLUB—
The local club is requesting letters of intent from
Three Rivers seniors, no matter what school they attend.
In the body of the letter, applicants should list
financial need, the college they plan to attend, current
grade-point average, and extracurricular activities.
The letter should be mailed to: Three
Rivers Woman’s Club, P.O. Box 504, Three Rivers,
CA 93271. Letters of intent due by Saturday, April
An opportunity for
WOODLAKE HIGH SCHOOL FOUNDATION—
The WHS Foundation is in the process of awarding scholarships
to Class of 2009 graduates who are intending to further
The Foundation provides community groups
and individuals a tax-deductible way to help local
students. Contact the Foundation if you wish to set
up a one-time, annual, or memorial scholarship.
This year, it is critically important
to provide financial assistance to students because
of all the cuts in funding to colleges and universities.
The Foundation encourages anyone interested
in helping students succeed to mail a contribution
to: Woodlake High School Foundation, P.O. Box 475,
Woodlake, CA 93286-0475.
For more information, contact Sandy Owen,
561-4264, or Diana Pearcy, 798-2343.
Donations sought for
Sober Grad party
For more than 20 years, the graduating
class from Woodlake High School and their parents
have planned a celebration that takes place in an
atmosphere free from alcohol and drugs. Plans are
currently underway for the Class of 2009.
This year’s WHS Sober Grad party
will be held at the McDermont Field House in Lindsay
on Saturday, June 6, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Students
will be transported to and from Lindsay by bus.
This facility offers plenty of attractions
to keep the grads busy through the night, including
the new Flowrider, which is a wave pool for surfing;
skate park, climbing wall, zip line, sports courts,
laser tag, arcade, and more.
Currently cash donations and door prizes
are needed. Donations may be mailed or delivered in
person to Woodlake High School, Attn: Sober Grad 2009,
400 W. Whitney Ave., Woodlake, CA 93286 (make checks
payable to: Woodlake High School).
For more information, call Ana Carretero,
308-2342, or Sophia Cazares, 564-3307.
TRUS reunion planned
John McKellar, a Three Rivers School
alumnus who currently resides in Pomona, is organizing
a 25-year reunion for the TRUS Class of 1984. All
past alumni from the classes of 1982, ‘83, and
’85, as well as their families and TRUS staff
are also invited.
The event will be held Saturday, Aug.
1, from 4 to 10 p.m., on the TRUS campus. Those who
plan to attend should RSVP by Wednesday, July 15.
For more information or just to experience
a flashback to 1984, go to www.myspace.com/trus1984.
There are reunion specifics and updates, as well as
yearbook photos, teacher interviews, and more.
Last week’s tip advised us all
to get more sleep and described the health benefits
of doing so. This week, here are some sleep hygiene
Avoid non-sleep activities while
in bed— Watching TV, eating, planning,
and problem-solving while in bed are not conducive
Minimize noise, light, and temperature extremes—
For noise, earplugs. For light, window blinds. And
keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature, which
ideally should be between 54 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove, unplug, or cover luminescent lights from clocks,
televisions, and other electronic equipment as studies
have shown that these disrupt the quality of sleep.
Reduce fluid intake at night—
Try not to drink fluids two to three hours before
bedtime to reduce awakenings due to urination urges.
Use a nightlight— If you do need to get up at
night, don’t expose yourself to bright light.
Use a small flashlight or nightlights to guide the
Nicotine— No matter
how relaxing you think having a smoke may be, it is
actually putting a stimulant into your bloodstream.
If it can’t be avoided altogether, then don’t
use it near bedtime or upon night awakenings.
stimulant that is present in coffee, soda, cocoa and
chocolate, tea, and various over-the-counter mediations.
Caffeine should be discontinued at least four to six
hours before bedtime.
Alcohol— A depressant
that may help you fall asleep, but it hinders sleep
quality, causing awakenings, nightmares, and sweats.
Eating— A heavy
meal too close to bedtime interferes with sleep, as
does a hungry, grumbling stomach. If you must eat
before bed, have a light snack only. Stay away from
protein and stick to carbohydrates or dairy products
that have high amounts of the amino acid L-tryptophan
(which has been show in research to help people go
to sleep), such as yogurt, ice cream, a peanut butter
sandwich, or milk and cookies or crackers.
Exercise— A lack
of physical exercise is a severe disruptor of sleep.
An aerobic workout in the morning or afternoon aids
sleep. Exercise too close to bedtime, however, actually
increases wakefulness and makes it difficult to fall
Pets— If your
cat or dog sleeps in your bed, their movements may
be disturbing your sleep. Also, the pet dander may
cause breathing difficulties due to allergens.
In addition to the above, other factors
to consider include maintaining your mattress and
pillow, proper diet and regular exercise, and stress
As a rule, upon awakening from a good
night’s sleep, you should feel refreshed, alert,
and generally not feel sleepy during the day. If not,
it may be time to pay a visit to a doctor or sleep
The information in
this article is not intended to replace the advice
and treatment of a medical professional.
10 years ago in The Kaweah Commonwealth
— MARCH 19, 1999 —
TCAG approves rest stop, new
bike lanes for Three Rivers— During
their annual meeting on “unmet transit needs,”
Tulare County officials announced their decision on
how to divide up $3 million in transportation enhancement
funds. Of the six countywide projects approved, two
were in Three Rivers. One would be the next phase
of the bike lanes from Three Rivers School to the
rest stop. The other project would be a museum and
rest stop on a 3.4-acre Sierra Drive site to be owned
and operated by the Three Rivers Historical Society.
Brakes on bike lanes due to weather—
Caltrans halted work on the 1.2-mile stretch
of new bike lanes because of weather forecasts predicting
more rain than was actually received. “We’re
hesitating to tear up the roadway and do the paving
because we really need about two weeks of dry weather
to complete the job,” said Frank Momen, project
Park management plan enters public
meeting phase— Several public workshops
were scheduled for April — including one in
Three Rivers — to receive input to assist the
Park Service in developing a range of alternatives
to be included in the draft general management plan.
The plan, fashioned to guide park planning over the
next 20 years, had been in the works for two years.
ALSO, the Three Rivers Lions
Club presented an $1,100 check to FoodLink; the Kaweah
Land Trust received a conservation easement for the
340-acre Double Eagle Ranch at the end of Dinely Drive;
Jean Darsey’s “Garden Goodies” column
celebrated the birth of spring; Three Rivers artist
Nadi Spencer was putting the finishing touches on
a mural for Kaweah Delta Hospital’s pediatric
ward; Café Raven booked the Dave Philp Quintet
— Dave Philp, Steve Harris, Mike Cook, Billy
Nussbaum, and Kevin Yee; and Woodlake honored its
Man and Woman of the Year — Jose Martinez and