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In the News - Friday, April 8, 2011




A photo gallery of wildflowers and more


See this week's front page


Separate South Fork incidents

leave two 3R residents hospitalized

South Fork man injured in tractor accident

  Jack Fiscus, a resident of the Cinnamon Canyon area of South Fork Drive, was seriously injured Thursday, March 31, when the tractor he was driving on his property overturned. Fiscus, 70, became trapped underneath by the overturned tractor.
   Jack and his wife, Judy, have lived in Three Rivers since 1967. He retired from Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks in May 2008 as an equipment operator supervisor after 41 years with the National Park Service.
   According to Judy, who was with her husband at the time of the accident, the couple had been cleaning out dirt and manure from a nearby horse corral. While hauling the load uphill, the tongue of the utility trailer caught the ground while the tractor’s tires continued to rotate.
   This resulted in the tractor turning upside down and landing on top of the trailer, pinning Jack underneath the tractor. Fuel from the tractor began leaking and ignited.
Judy immediately began to extinguish the flames near Jack by applying some of the dirt from the load. Then she ran to their nearby house and called 911.
   Lt. Shaun O’Dell of the Tulare County Fire Department was on scene at 11:59 a.m., arriving 14 minutes after receiving the emergency call at the South Fork station. He immediately ran a hose line from the Three Rivers Engine Patrol 14 and extinguished the fire.
   Within a few more minutes, the Exeter Ambulance had arrived on scene and began patient treatment. A SkyLife air ambulance landed in the pasture at the nearby Mosley ranch.
   Firefighters inflated air bags under the nose of the tractor and were able to get eight inches of lift to free the victim’s arm but he remained pinned. Using a Sawzall, firefighters cut away the steering wheel, gear shifter, and the left rear wheel from the tractor.
   This created just enough room to slide the patient down and out from underneath the tractor. He was then transported via ambulance to the waiting helicopter, which transported the victim to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno where he remains hospitalized after having his arm amputated.
   Jack sustained a crushed and partially severed arm that resulted from the weight of the tractor. According to the Tulare County Fire Department report, he also suffered second and third-degree burns to his right hand, right arm, and neck due to the fire in the engine compartment of the tractor.

Rollover crash injures driver, causes South Fork blackout

  A pre-dawn solo vehicle rollover collision left a Three Rivers woman hospitalized with multiple spinal fractures and resulted in a widespread South Fork power outage for more than nine hours. The crash occurred on South Fork Drive in the straight-away that is located approximately 2.5 miles from Sierra Drive.
   CHP Officer Beal, who investigated the accident that occurred on Friday, April 1, just before 4 a.m., described the location of the crash as 1,800 feet north of where Sequoia Oaks Drive intersects with South Fork Drive. According to Officer Beal’s report, the 2007 Ford Focus driven by Krystal Cassano of Three Rivers left the roadway and hit one pole, then overturned after crashing into another.
   Cassano, 21, was able to crawl out of the overturned vehicle and was at the scene when the CHP arrived. The vehicle was heading down canyon when it drifted off the roadway.
  “Evidently, the driver became startled when she realized she was on gravel,” Officer Beal reported. “She jerked the wheel hard and then lost control and struck the utility pole.”
After complaining of chest and back pain, Cassano was transported to Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia. That same day, she was transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno where she underwent back surgery.
   The patient remains in the hospital and faces lengthy rehabilitation. She reportedly suffered no paralysis, which often accompanies severe spinal trauma.
   Officer Beal said there was no evidence that Cassano was impaired at the time of the accident. Skid marks indicated she was driving approximately 40 m.p.h. at the time of the crash.
  “She was at fault in the accident but will not be cited,” Beal said. “We don’t add insult to injury.”
   The road closure and power outage had numerous impacts on local residents. One South Fork man suffered a heart attack during the closure; the ambulance was permitted to pass through the area after emergency workers temporarily lifted the downed power lines off the roadway.
   At least two Three Rivers School teachers were unable to make it to work and the school bus was not able to service students on the South Fork. Some local residents hiked through pastures and around the closure; power was restored to the area about 1 p.m.

150th anniversary of the onset of the Civil War:

April 12, 1861-April 9, 1865

The California perspective

By Brian Rothhammer

  At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, Confederate artillery opened fire on U.S.-held Fort Sumter at the harbor of Charleston, N.C. Over the next 34 hours, more than 3,000 shells were hurled by former countrymen at one another. At the end of the battle, amazingly, not a single person had been killed.
   Citizens of Charleston were jubilant as the Union forces surrendered on April 13 and withdrew by sea to Washington, D.C. It appeared to some as if the newly forged Confederate States of America had asserted itself as an independent nation in a quick and bloodless war. By April of 1865, the war had claimed over 620,000 lives and the Confederacy was resigned to defeat.
   What was California’s involvement in all of this? There can be no doubt that the debate over slavery was a root cause of the U.S. Civil War. The entry of California to the Union on September 9, 1850, tipped the scales of influence for this contentious issue, with California being admitted as a free state. This shift of congressional majority caused great concern among the slave states and advocates of slavery.
   On September 18, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act (part of the Compromise of 1850), which imposed fines up to $1,000 upon anyone aiding runaway slaves or even failing to report knowledge of same. This caused great concern for free states and abolitionists.
   During this controversy, in response to discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in 1849, a mass exodus of hopeful treasure seekers flooded California, having heard tales of easy riches just laying about to be taken. They came from all points of the compass, and many brought their beliefs and attitudes with them.
   Through bleeding Kansas and the Dred-Scott decision, divisions deepened among many Californians as to what would be the role of California if war broke out between the states.
The California legislature had approved the division of California into two states, Northern and Southern, in 1859. With war on the horizon the idea was scrapped. Still, Lincoln got only 25 percent of the Los Angeles vote. Many Southern Californians were from old Dixie.
   By mid-1861, the Confederacy had visions of taking Southern California primarily as a trade route, as U.S. blockades had strangled Confederate ports. By July 1861, Confederate Texans had taken the southern halves of present-day Arizona and New Mexico from the U.S. and considered them to be the Confederate Territory of Arizona. The Southern Arizonans agreed and elected a delegate to the Confederate Congress.
   In the autumn of 1861, plans were made to expand Confederate Arizona northward as an invasion route to California’s gold fields.
   At the outset of the war, virtually all regular U.S. troops stationed in California were called east. To replace them, there was a call for volunteers.
   From July to August 1861, two regiments of cavalry and five regiments of infantry were raised. By war’s end, 15,725 Californians had volunteered for the Union. While many of these soldiers fought in Washington, Kansas, eastern states, even into French-occupied Mexico, others maintained home garrisons against rebellion.
   In April 1861, Los Angeles had only a quartermaster depot manned solely by Captain (later General) Winfield Scott. When news of Fort Sumter arrived, the garrison at Fort Tejon was emptied and the troops sent to L.A. along with their contingent of 36 camels. The California Column had begun.
   After relocating several times in the Los Angeles area, the California Column, under Colonel James Carleton, moved east to repel the Rebel threat with a command of 2,350 soldiers. The hardy Californians, many of them ex-miners, and their capable commander marched in late ‘61, arriving at the Rio Grande in August 1862.
   Along the way they skirmished with the Texans at a place called Grinnell’s Ranch (Ariz.), then engaged them at the Battle of Picacho Pass, some 50 miles northwest of Tucson. These were the westernmost land engagements of the U.S. Civil War.
   The Confederates fell back to Tucson, then when no reinforcements arrived, retreated altogether. These actions contributed to putting an end to Confederate ambitions of a Southwest corridor.
   The California Column fought on with another 6,000 volunteering for service by war’s end. Considered to be exceptional soldiers, they often differed on the issue of slavery, but were ardent in their desire to preserve the Union.


In loving memory… of food!

By Allison Millner

  Does anyone out there have a food memory? Not simply a memory of the great turkey last Thanksgiving or the pumpkin pie after the meal.
   I’m talking about a memory that brings you back to when you were a child. Remembering exactly how sugary the cotton candy tasted at the fair or how magical a hot dog tasted at the ballpark.
   I have lots of memories and, like most people, have tried to recreate them. I’ve been to the fair as an adult, sought out the cotton candy and painstakingly tried to decide, blue or pink?   Which flavor would bring back the mouth-watering sweetness I desired? As it turns out, neither did the trick; my memory was sweeter than the candy itself.
   That’s the way food memories often are… created at a certain moment in time, with many factors that all join forces to make them. Although we try hard as adults to reconstruct these culinary “ideals” from our childhood, it is seldom done. But at least we have the chance.
   Imagine, however, that you don’t have the opportunity to rediscover the memories from your youth. This is the case with Dane (my husband), who grew up in the south of Spain. For the past 10 years I’ve been hearing about the food he ate as a child; the vivid tastes, flavors and spices.
   Dane left Spain at age 12 and never got the chance to return. As an adult, he’s been unable to try the food that brought him such happiness… until now!
   Traveling to Spain this past January was something I’ve always wanted to do, but for Dane it was to revisit the life he left almost 30 years ago. He had only a few specific things he wanted to do and, besides trying to find his childhood homes, food was his main objective.    There were several specific tastes he sought and we were going to take advantage of every possible opportunity.
   The top four food memories we were in search of on the list:
  —Pipas: Sunflower seeds that were vowed to be different than any I’d ever tasted.
  —Pimientos Fritos: Fried, long, green peppers with sea salt.
  —Spanish Yogurt: Tangy, thick custard, lightly sweetened and void of any fruit.
  —Pinchitos: Small bites of slightly spicy pork on a skewer (the description of these was vague but I was assured that once tasted they would be recognized).
   And off we went, starting in Barcelona, to discover and rediscover the tastes of Spain.  After over 40 hours of travel we arrived at our hotel; tired, exhausted, and excited.
   Sitting in our first restaurant, we examined the menu, ding-ding-ding, pimientos fritos. We ordered them, along with cheese, fried artichokes, and tempura asparagus.
   The pimientos arrived at our table whole, complete with stems, and were steaming. They glistened with oil, skins partially fried off, but what remained was wrinkled and bunched.   Visible were large chunks of sea salt scattered across the peppers. They awaited our approval.
   To me, they were delicious fried peppers with enough salt to offset the slight bite from the green pepper itself. For Dane they were small bites of childhood perfection.
  “Now these are pimientos fritos!” he exclaimed with satisfaction, making sure to clear the platter and savor every bite.
   Contentment came again the next morning at the breakfast buffet, yogurt. While this particular variety had fruit, it seemed to pass the standards Dane had set for it regarding flavor, sweetness, and texture. Two down, two to go.
   That same day, while standing outside the landmark Sagrada Familia cathedral, we purchased pipas from a street vendor. Upon examination, the seeds were much larger than those we have here. Instead of there being an overall saltiness to the shell, chunks of salt clung to the long, flat, hulls.
   I decided that in taste, these pipas were identical to our seeds, but I did favor the salt chunks on the outside. Dane contends that they are superior in every way. We agreed to disagree and they came off of the list. Barcelona had done us well and only the pinchitos remained.
   In Sevilla, while sitting at a hole-in-the-wall tapas bar, we ordered pinchitos and got small chunks of beef that were fairly bland; they weren’t even on the menus in Granada. And in Rhonda we had a “lost in translation” moment and ended up with a huge platter of pork chops.
   Along the way we’d learned that the word pinchito means little bites of skewered meat. The meat, and the flavoring used, varies from region to region, making each skewer different from the next.
   We tried the pinchitos in Jerez after touring the sherry factory, but they were made of chicken, and I was informed that they didn’t measure up. Our next attempt was the following day at the center market in Madrid. Dane ordered pinchitos that looked soooo promising but “they weren’t quite right.”
   And that’s how it ended; our time was up and the journey over. As elusive as the cotton candy of my youth, the memory of the pinchito remains only a figment of Dane’s imagination.
   While I am content to let my sweetness go, he still contends that somewhere, someplace, in a dark tapas bar in Spain, the memory waits for his return.
   Allison Millner and her pinchito-pining husband Dane own and operate Sierra Subs and Salads in Three Rivers, where they create food memories on a daily basis.


Bill Maloy

Raised in Three Rivers, award-winning saddler

  William “Bill” Maloy, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Monday, March 28, 2011. He was 74.
   Bill was born in Visalia on December 12, 1936, to Lee and Blanche (McKee) Maloy of Three Rivers. Bill was raised on the family’s South Fork ranch in Three Rivers and graduated from Three Rivers School and Woodlake High School.
   It was an art class at Woodlake High School where Bill produced his first saddle from scratch. He honed his craft during summers while working at his family’s pack station at Wolverton in Sequoia National Park.
   He went on to major in art at Visalia Junior College (now College of the Sequoias) and Fresno State. During this time, he also apprenticed with saddler Bill Rogers in Visalia.
   On June 17, 1956, Bill married his high school sweetheart, Mary Albanese. The couple moved to Reno in 1959, where at the age of 22, he opened his first saddle shop.
   Shortly after opening his Reno shop, Bill lost the sight in one of his eyes when he was tooling leather and the tip of his X-Acto knife broke off and sliced through his eyelid and pierced the cornea.
  “It was pretty discouraging,” said Bill in a Commonwealth article on January 24, 2003. “I lost my depth perception. I had to learn everything all over again.”
   In 1997, Bill was honored at both Canada’s Cowboy Festival in Calgary as a hero of Western Art and Craftsmanship and the Western Folk Life Center in Elko, Nev. In 2002, Bill was presented with the Will Rogers Cowboy Award from the Academy of Western Artists in the saddle-making category. In 2004, he was inducted into the prestigious Traditional   Cowboy Arts Association at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Recently, he was the recipient of the Nevada Governor’s Art Award for Excellence in Folk Arts.
   Bill was also an accomplished silversmith. His shop is adjacent to his Reno home where, over the years, he created saddles for such clients as Slim Pickens, Nancy Reagan, Conrad Hilton Jr., and Clark Gable.
   His signature leather designs feature intricate mixes of floral, wild rose, oak leaf, and acorn patterns. The silver decorations of the engraved conchas, nameplates, and saddle horns add the crowning touch.
   Bill’s saddles would take 50 to 200 hours to complete, depending on how ornate. There was a waiting list for his saddles, which cost from $2,500 to $10,000.
   Bill is survived by his wife of 54 years, Mary; sons Tim and wife Laurie and Donny and wife Patti; daughter Diana; his brother Leroy Maloy of Woodlake; sister Virginia Newberry of Visalia; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Three Rivers relations include his uncle, Earl McKee, and niece Wendy (Maloy) McKellar.
   A funeral service was held Tuesday, April 5, in Reno.

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