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In the News -
Friday, MARCH 30, 2007
In a changing climate, it’s difficult to say what’s
average or even normal. But based on totals for the past 50 years, the
April 1 Sierra snow projections are coming in below average. The water
content in the snowpack along the 400-mile mountain range averages 46
percent of normal.
That dismal total, the fourth survey of the season, is the
benchmark because state Department of Water Resources officials use these
stats to determine how much of the precious water will be delivered for
summer supplies to cities and farms. The 46-percent figure represents
the lowest content since 1990, when it was 40 percent of normal.
Melting snow cascading from the Sierra provides more than
a third of California’s drinking and irrigation water supplying
the canals of the State Water Project. The project, which pumps water
up and over the Grapevine to Southern California, furnishes water to 23
million people and 775,000 acres of farmland.
The recent storm that passed through Kaweah Country in the
24 hours ending Tuesday added another .51 of rainfall to local gauges
at the 1,000-foot elevation level. That brings the season total to 10
Forecasters are calling for better than average odds that
Three Rivers will receive more rainfall after March 30, but in several
seasons, and as recently as 1996-97, it didn’t rain a drop in April,
May or June. The lowest local rainfall total in the past 50 years was
8.56 inches for the 1976-77 season.
Nearby mountains received nearly a foot of new snow from
the recent storm at elevations above 7,000 feet. The warmer temperatures
in the weekend forecast, however, should be enough to melt the remaining
snow in those areas except on north-facing slopes and in shady places.
address town meeting
The series of recent Town Hall meetings, which are indispensable
for keeping locals up to speed on an array of developments, returns to
the Three Rivers Memorial Building on Monday, April 2, at 7 p.m. Sponsored
by the Three Rivers Village Foundation, at the top of the busy agenda
is a visit with state Assemblyman Bill Maze.
Assemblyman Maze, who last spoke at a local Town Hall meeting
in 2006, is no stranger to Three Rivers or his constituents of the foothills
and mountains of the 34th District. Maze, a Republican, who grew up on
a ranch outside of Exeter and now divides his time between Sacramento
and his home in Visalia, admits his heart is in Three Rivers and the mountain
communities of Silver City and Mineral King.
Long before Maze ever had an inkling of running for public
office, he and his sons were providing a valuable service to cabin owners
in the local mountains. Seasonally since the 1970s, Maze or one or two
of his sons, have returned to the nearby mountains and assisted with cabin
restorations and remodeling that have made it possible for a multitude
of folks to continue the tradition of enjoying their cabins each summer.
had a great time helping the good folks in Silver City and Mineral King,”
Maze recalled recently. “Being able to spend some quality time in
these mountains was reward enough for this farm boy and his family.”
Maze, a Tulare County native, knows the issues intimately
that affect farmers, the families that live in towns, Kaweah Country,
and the mountain communities both here and on the east side. He has spent
the last five years learning the ways of Sacramento and how best to promote
the interests of this diverse district.
In the 1980s, owing to his work with a coalition of Tulare
County civic and business leaders, Maze and his Tulare County boosters
came within an eyelash of landing a full-fledged University of California
That prize eventually went to Merced and led to the creation
of UC Merced. Undaunted, Maze has continued his efforts to establish accredited
four-year college programs in Tulare County. He recently secured the funding
to add a four-year nursing program at Porterville College.
At Monday’s meeting, Assemblyman Maze will update Three
Rivers on a number topics including the implications of the scenic highway
status for Highway 198 and the recent hike in fees for the state Department
of Fish and Game. Questions relative to any state agency or issue are
Also on the program will be David Spengeman, an area director
with AT&T. He will speak on some topics relative to the area’s
Supervisor Allen Ishida will be in attendance to answer questions
about county business. Supervisor Ishida said he has some interesting
news about plans to build a new dam at Temperance Flat and how increased
water storage could affect Tulare County agribusiness.
For more information about the upcoming meeting, call Tom
Chief of Interpretation
When Colleen Bathe, the new Chief of Interpretation for Sequoia
and Kings Canyon National Parks, arrived in Three Rivers last week she
hit the ground running. She’s already bought a house, done some
hiking, and attended lots of meetings while getting to know her co-workers
and new digs.
Prior to coming to her new office at park headquarters at
Ash Mountain she spent the last three years at Bryce Canyon National Park
as Chief of Interpretation, Education, and Partnerships. There, and at
her former job in Death Valley, she experienced plenty that prepared her
for this latest promotion to what she describes as her “dream job.”
For a California kid growing up in Ceres along Highway 99
and in the shadow of the central Sierra Nevada, it didn’t take long
to realize that a career as park ranger was what she should do as her
I was young, my outdoor experiences were boat camping in a national forest
at one lake or another with my dad who really loved to water ski,”
Colleen recalled. “It was with the Girl Scouts that I first experienced
the national parks.”
A defining moment, she said, was during a Girl Scout outing
to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
were at a campfire during a junior ranger program with your typical interpretative
ranger,” Colleen said. “I was in the eighth grade and decided
right then and there that someday I wanted to have a job doing what that
ranger was doing.”
After high school graduation, she gravitated toward a two-year
recreation studies degree at Modesto Junior College. Then it was on to
Cal State Chico where she completed an internship at Alcatraz and a B.A.
degree in Recreation and Parks Management.
After graduating from Chico in 1984 she worked as a seasonal
for Inyo National Forest at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest and began
her self-described love affair with the Sierra Nevada’s east side.
In 1985, she embarked upon the rest of her career, taking a position with
the NPS and soon landing at Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley National
It was there she met her husband, Dan, whom she describes
as very comfortable living in the beautiful isolation of the desert. For
the next two decades she worked diligently to revitalize the interpretive
program at Scotty’s Castle that in the beginning of her tenure was
really lagging in visitor interest.
One of her biggest challenges at Death Valley was finding
ways to boost employee morale among a staff that was living in the middle
of somewhere that was 140 miles from the nearest town.
is really an amazing community people person,” said Alexandra Picavet,
who is the public information officer at Sequoia-Kings Canyon National
Parks, but also worked with the new division chief at Death Valley. “She
is an innovative person with strong personal contacts and will make good
use of the resources from all the area parks.”
Picavet also said that Colleen has a very strong training
background and is especially adept at working with partners. She has coordinated
programs for students seeking federal jobs and helped Utah workers in
customer service to become a “super host.”
In addition to gearing up for the rapidly approaching summer
season, Colleen will be implementing an ambitious “Ranger in the
Classroom” program that seeks to educate a new generation of park
we’ll focus on schools in the Highway 198 corridor then branch out
to more of Tulare and Fresno counties,” Colleen said. “It’s
a great program that encourages these kids to visit and experience the
The next fiscal year should prove interesting as the new
budget seeks to add 13 interpretive positions to the local parks.
Sequoia, we’ll be maintaining all the traditional campfire programs
but you will see some new tools like PowerPoint presentations,”
Colleen said. “What we are working toward are more hands-on activities
and providing the visitor with a more interactive experience.”
Lake Kaweah guardrails installed
GUARDRAILS WERE recently installed by Caltrans on Highway
198 around Lake Kaweah at the no. 2 boat ramp. The effort to make the
highway safer was prompted by a fatality that occurred last summer when
a motorcycle struck a vehicle that was exiting the boat ramp parking lot.
3R artists on exhibit in Visalia
Extra Dimension,” an exhibit of work by more than 30 artists will
be featured at the Arts Visalia Gallery from April 3 to April 27. The
show will include sculptures of ceramic, wood, glass, metal, and other
materials, as well as “light sculptures” and gourd art.
One of the artists whose work will be featured in the show
is Three Rivers wood-turner Armin Pfadisch. Armin will be showing a bowl
with an image of a bird on the surface.
Born and trained as a chef in Germany, Armin formerly expressed
his talent through ice carvings, chocolate and mayonnaise painting, and
tallow moldings, in addition to preparing and exhibiting fine culinary
dishes. Now retired, he is still creating, and each branch, stump, or
burl presents him with a challenge.
a mixed media piece of glass and copper by Moni Mauch will also be featured.
Moni is a Visalia artist who has been active in promoting local arts and
bringing artists to classrooms throughout Tulare County. She is a board
member of the Arts Council of Tulare County and chair of the Fine Arts
Department of the Tulare County Fair.
Other artists in the show include Mark Ahlstrand, Richard
Arenas, Toni Best, Mary Camin, Verne Chapman, Carole Clum, Tony Cuellar,
Valerie Deveraux, Paul Dutton, Craig Easter, Mark Eaton, Anne Haxton,
Jerry Jonnum, Nancy Jonnum, Sam McKinney, Michael Murphy, Joe Nunez, Mike
Perez, Marn Reich, Chris Sorensen, John Sundstrom, Sherley Tucker, Mark
Tunison, Chris VanGoethem, Linda Victory, and students from College of
A reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April
6, at Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave. (across from The Depot restaurant).
WHS Foundation seeks
Each year during Woodlake’s Western Week, the Woodlake
High School Foundation holds its annual fundraising dinner. The money
raised at this event is used to provide scholarships to graduating seniors
as well as benefit other programs and activities at the high school.
As always, the Foundation is seeking donations that will
be won by the high bidders in the silent auction. The Foundation will
gratefully accept art, handcrafts, products, services, and books and other
A special attraction during this year’s silent auction
will be the signed published works by local authors and poets. Any writer
who would like to autograph and donate a piece may call Nicole Glentzer,
WHS assistant principal, 564-3307, ext. 113.
This year’s dinner and silent auction is scheduled
for Friday, May 11. Tickets may be purchased at the WHS office or from
any Foundation board member.
the 21st century
Locavores, slow food, CSA, sustainable agriculture, organic,
All of the above terms relate to the trend today among an
ever-increasing number of people who want to know where their food comes
from, who grew it and how, and that local is best. Many, of course, continue
buying whatever they want from sources that vary from the guy or gal standing
on the corner of the road to the neighborhood grocery.
Family Farm Fresh is a local “CSA” (consumer-supported
agriculture), making delivery to more than 200 members in Tulare County
including a large number of Three Rivers members.
The member of longest standing in Three Rivers is Ginger Curtis on Dinely
Drive. She’s one busy lady, involved in school and community activities.
Kris and Craig Axtell (Sequoia-Kings Canyon superintendent)
on Cherokee Oaks Drive have been members since April 2006. There are a
large group of members who work for Sequoia National Park.
Another member for a year who also lives in Cherokee Oaks
is Susan Lamberson, owner of Yoga of the Sequoias.
The CSA movement started in Japan and rapidly moved to Europe. Eventually,
folks along the East Coast introduced the CSA concept to America.
There are a number of types of CSAs, however, in each case
the basis is the same. People become members and one or more local, small,
family farmers supply what they grow to members on a weekly basis during
the growing season.
Family Farm Fresh, however, is blessed by location, which
enables the delivery of fruit, vegetables, eggs, olive oil, honey, bread,
and other products on a year-around basis. Some CSAs rely on members picking
up boxes at central points. Family Farm Fresh personally delivers to homes
and offices on a weekly basis.
started as a group in the Bay Area that would eat only food grown within
100 miles, and they have challenged others to do the same.
Food” is an international organization with its beginnings in Italy.
Again, its thrust is to encourage people to slow down and enjoy eating
“organic,” “pesticide-free,” and “bio-dynamic”
are each a type of farming practiced by an increasing number of farmers
for the purpose of producing more wholesome, natural food. Organic is
defined and controlled under national law. Pesticide free is what it says
and growers for farmers markets are pesticide free. Family Farm Fresh
farmers are all pesticide-free plus some are certified organic.
This article contributed by Bob McKellar, an Ivanhoe
rancher and the founder of Family Farm Fresh. For more information, visit:
Advenutres of the
on the Fly’
It’s known as “Sisters on the Fly” and
has been featured on the Travel Channel. This fast-growing gathering of
women now numbers 704.
The members are married, widowed, or single, but all enjoy
having fun and have the common interests of flyfishing and rescuing vintage
Two Three Rivers women, Martha Bubel, #471, and me —
her sidekick friend, Mary Kimmel, #633 — rolled out of town Friday,
March 9, for 10 days full of cowgirl adventure, pulling our spectacularly
painted and decorated vintage trailer destined for the Arizona Giddy-up.
The California “Sisters,” from northern to southern,
pulled 18 gaily decorated trailers to meet at a campground in Indio. After
several hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic, we were ready to relax with
lemon drop martinis, lots of laughter, and a good night’s sleep.
The next day, we caravanned into Phoenix. Boy, our caravan
was a hit on Interstate 10!
People interrupted our constant chatter on walkie-talkies
to ask questions, leaning out windows, waving and honking. Martha and
I led the caravan through the huge maze of Phoenix to Usury Park in Mesa,
The gathering of 101 women and 78 vintage trailers from 19
states was a sight to behold. No two trailers looked alike and were lettered
with themes such as “God Bless Cowgirls” and decorated with
horses, western boots, or flyfishing themes, plus their Sister number.
The real adventure began with a “Cowgirl Bling”
cocktail party at the fabulous home of Sister #1, which has been featured
in Country Living magazine. The next morning, it was off to “Cowgirl
U” at the famous Cowboy U ranch that has been featured on television
as well as in newspaper articles.
There were hunky cowboys to teach us to rope, plus we had
contests in roping, riding, saddling, and a fun race that included huge
clothes and stick horses. I overheard one cowboy say, “Boy, I thought
it was hard to teach men to rope, but these gals really take the prize.”
Each night at Usury, we were treated to wine, beer, and scrumptious
catered trail food, always followed by unique entertainment. We’d
fall into our bunks at night, exhausted and satisfied from the days’
exciting activities as the mournful howl of coyotes lulled us to sleep.
On Wednesday, March 14, the caravans left in groups of 10,
destined for Tombstone, Ariz., where we took over an RV campground for
the next three nights. We explored and shopped in Bisbee and Tombstone
and were treated to nightly chuck wagon dinners and entertainment including
Cowboy Doug, a real life cowboy poet who not only entertained us with
his adventures but also taught us to tell time at night by the Big Dipper.
It took us two days of freeway travel to return home to Three
Rivers. Wow, how did the weeds grow so tall?
The familiar arms of the trees, mountains, and river surrounded
us in our secure wonderful world as we dream of more adventures with out
Sisters, including the Navajo life in Monument Valley that visitors never
This article contributed by Mary Kimmel of Three Rivers.
1913 ~ 2007
Clarence E. Searcey of Three Rivers died Friday, March 16,
2007, in a Fresno hospital. He was 93.
Clarence died due to the injuries he received when he fell
down a 50-foot embankment into the river. The incident occurred Sunday,
March 11, at the South Fork home he shared with his son, Lee.
Clarence was born Dec. 9, 1913, in Exeter. He was raised
in Exeter by his mother and stepfather, Elizabeth and Frank Shaw.
From 1935 to 1976, Clarence owned and operated two Visalia restaurants:
Searcey’s Bar & Restaurant on Houston Avenue at Ben Maddox and
Shaw’s on Court Street.
Clarence served with the U.S. Army’s 43rd Infantry
during World War II, where he was stationed in Japan and the Philippines.
Clarence, a resident of Three Rivers for nearly 60 years, built his Three
Rivers home in 1948.
Clarence is survived by his sons, Lee Searcey of Three Rivers
and Robert Hanggi of Springville; daughter Zoe Searcey Bull of Three Rivers;
four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
1927 ~ 2007
Andrew L. Lee Jr., a 45-year resident of Three Rivers, died
Sunday, March 25, 2007, in Tulare. He was 79.
Andy was born Aug. 14, 1927, in Santa Monica. In 1948, he
married the former Joyce Fisher in Taft. The couple moved to Three Rivers
Joyce preceded her husband of 58 years in death by three
weeks. She died Sunday, March 4, 2007, at the couple’s Three Rivers
home at the age of 78.
A memorial service for Andy and Joyce will be held Sunday,
April 1, 2 p.m., at St. Anthony Retreat.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Comfort for
Kids, P.O. Box 116, Kaweah, CA 93237.
The following are California residents killed in Iraq as
announced by the governor’s office this week:
U.S. Army Sergeant John E. Allen, 25, of Palmdale died Saturday
March 17, as a result of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive
device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Baghdad,
U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Darrell R. Griffin Jr., 36, of Alhambra
died Wednesday, March 21, as a result of injuries sustained when his unit
came in contact with small arms fire during combat operations in Balad,
Iraq, north of Baghdad.
—Total U.S. deaths—
Iraq area: 3,229
(as of Friday, March 23)
Afghanistan area: 309
(as of Saturday, March 17)
—Monday, March 19, 2007, marked the fourth anniversary of the U.S.
invasion of Iraq.