In the News - Friday, April 9,
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
The time is now
Incredible as it may seem, a decade ago
Jazzaffair was teetering on the brink of extinction.
After 25 years, all the forces combined to lay an
egg in 1999.
Longtime members of the Sierra Traditional
Jazz Club board of directors were even batting around
notions that maybe there shouldn’t even be a
Jazzaffair. A storybook romance with the local jazz
revival might be coming to a not-so-happy ending.
[when the festival lays an egg] bound to happen once
in awhile,” said Bill Tidwell, who in the late
1990s was responsible for booking the bands. “It
really only rained one day but it snowed on the Grapevine.”
The threatening weather was just enough
to keep some of the regulars from the Los Angeles
area from making the four-hour trip to Three Rivers.
It hurt badge sales.
Compounding matters for Jazzaffair ’99
was another festival in Redding that was competing
for jazz bands and fans on the same weekend.
But Jazzaffair weathered the storm that
year and literally lots of other years too. In fact,
when it comes to the weather, locals like to kid each
other, but not Rusty Crain, High Sierra Jazz Band’s
current manager and Jazzaffair director, that Jazzaffair
is the only weekend of the year where Three Rivers
can experience all four seasons.
And lots of years it has not only rained
cats and dogs but it has snowed too. But even in the
worst weather, there are glimpses of unparalleled
High Sierra beauty that creates a heavenly ambiance.
Key members of the jazz club responded,
doing exactly what its founding members like Chet
and Thelma Crain would have done. They rolled up their
sleeves and worked even harder to make Jazzaffair
the best it could be.
In 2001, Gator Beat came to Three Rivers
and brought a new Cajun/zydeco beat that turned on
a new generation to Jazzaffair. The following year,
Titan Hot Seven made their local debut and reenergized
the crowds with tight trad jazz and lots of shenanigans.
Gator Beat returned in 2003 and Cornet
Chop Suey made their Jazzaffair debut. With the sudden
passing of Richard Domingue, the leader of Gator Beat,
this group did not return. Tom Rigney and his Flambeau
stepped in last year and have assumed that Cajun/zydeco
tradition on the festival circuit.
JAZZAFFAIR 2010— The true blue
fan base, which supports Jazzaffair year after year,
wants hot New Orleans-style jazz with a helping of
Cajun/zydeco for some spice mixed into the recipe.
The current recession that bottomed out
in early 2009 has had a dynamic effect on Jazzaffair.
First, a number of long-standing festivals like Redding
were cancelled or combined with other nearby festivals.
Also, the prime location of Three Rivers,
equidistant between Los Angeles and the Bay Area,
keeps Kaweah Country within reach of the RV crowd.
Approximately 200 RVs are expected to
be in Three Rivers this weekend. Badge sales are up
from 2009 and consumer confidence is returning to
pre-2008 levels. The Jazzaffair formula hasn’t
really changed much over the years though the recipe
for success has been tinkered with and refined.
Start with one healthy dose of the High
Sierra Jazz Band as host, the all-time favorite crowd
pleaser on the circuit. Add in Night Blooming Jazzmen
to keep their L.A. fans buying badges, add a taste
of Grand Dominion to keeps things coagulating; add
generous doses of St. Louis prime cuts and hot chop
house faire, bring the mix to Titan Hot; stir in Rigo’s
spicy Flambeau; and top with Blue Street so our Fresno
neighbors will always reciprocate our Mardi Gras visits.
Add scenery to die for, in fact, the
only place on the west side of the Sierra where you
can stand at 1,000 feet and gaze upon 12,000-foot
peaks. And never take the bottomline for granted:
a community in a town called Three Rivers that gives
its all so the bands can play on. Is it any wonder
why Jazzaffair is simply the best small venue jazz
fest on the planet?
Town Meeting tackles local
by Brian Rothhammer
regular monthly Town Hall meeting, sponsored by the
Three Rivers Village Foundation, was held Monday,
April 5, at the Three Rivers Memorial Building.
The first speaker was Julie Doctor, recently
appointed general manager of the Three Rivers Community
Services District. Doctor identified her number-one
project as the replacement of water lines in Alta
Acres. Contracts have been awarded and approval is
expected within two weeks. The work should begin in
about one month.
Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida
began his presentation with an overview of water supply
and usage throughout California, urging the audience
to “look at the total picture.”
always stated that if you want a solid water usage
plan in California you must consider [the areas] east
of the dams,” Ishida stated.
Regarding a proposed $11.2 billion water
bond issue Ishida remains skeptical.
just not enough information that has been made public
to form an opinion,” Supervisor Ishida said.
there is no net water gain for Tulare County, I’m
going to have a very difficult time endorsing this
bond. If we clean up the [San Joaquin] Delta with
money from cities that dump effluent into it, I might
support that proposal,” he continued.
Ishida also announced that the county’s
general plan has been released.
general plan is just that: a general plan,”
Ishida reiterated. “The real nuts and bolts
…is when we write ordinances to fit the general
Next up was Gamaliel Anguiano, director
of the City of Visalia’s Sequoia Shuttle program.
He presented a detailed account of last year’s
riders, reporting that the 2009 total of 5,385 passengers
was consistent with the average of 5,400 per year
since the program began four years ago.
The City of Visalia is planning to acquire
two diesel-electric hybrid vehicles to add to their
fleet through a partnership between the cities of
Visalia and Livermore, Anguiano said.
A stop has been added at The Barn (Shell
station), corner of highways 198 and 65. Three Rivers
pick-up points remain the Comfort Inn and the Memorial
Building. The shuttle is scheduled to begin service
the week of Memorial Day weekend
Danny Boiano, aquatic geologist with
the National Park Service, furnished an update on
the High Elevation Aquatic Restoration project alternatives.
He detailed various methods of restoring populations
of the mountain yellow-legged frog in Sequoia and
Kings Canyon National Park.
Boiano explained that all of the lakes
above 6,000 feet were historically fish free prior
to human intervention. He gave an overview of the
criteria for selecting bodies of water to be restored
and where certain methods to eradicate non-native
trout that are eating the frogs would be the most
These methods include gill netting, electro-fishing,
and the use of piscicides (fish poison). The goal
is to restore 75 of these lakes and streams and he
considers this to be feasible over a 30-year period.
The NPS will avoid the most popular fishing
spots during this eradication effort citing the importance
of the fisheries to park visitors, Boiano said. Over
560 high-altitude park lakes are known to contain
Later this year, a draft Environmental
Impact Statement (EIS) will be made available to the
Lastly, Bryan Rippee of Septic Solutions
West gave a presentation about water treatment through
the introduction of aerobic bacteria as an alternative
to conventional septic systems. He explained the simplicity
and low cost of such systems and stated that after
treatment, water from the system “is pure enough
use of aerobic bacteria rids the water of 98 percent
of nitrates, phosphates, and other waste material,”
Rippee invited Three Rivers residents
to view his system in Springville, one of 15 installed
in Tulare County.
The next Town Hall meeting is scheduled
for Monday, May 3, and will feature a forum of candidates
who are running for county offices in the June election.
Gallery displays 3R art history
An exhibit of art like no other opened
this month at Discoveries West Gallery and Archives
in Three Rivers. It features more than two dozen artists
past and present from Three Rivers, which has always
been an artists’ enclave.
There’s a poem, the exhibit’s
oldest item, written in 1872 entitled “To My
Wife” by a Three Rivers settler who wanted to
pay tribute to his spouse on her 32nd birthday. The
exhibit also includes the works of contemporary artists
like Kevin Yee, who recently completed an oil portraying
the Texas Rangers in the 19th century.
The ambitious new art exhibit opened
April 3 and runs through June 30 and is entitled “Three
Rivers Artists: Then and Now.” It is the latest
offering from John McWilliams, curator of Discoveries
West Gallery and Archives.
Works on display run the gamut of local
art from the handsome burl bowls of Frank Treuting
to resplendent oils on canvas by beloved artists like
Lorraine Young, Rosemary Packard, and Lidabelle Wylie.
exhibit defines the scope of what we are doing here
at the gallery,” said John McWilliams, owner
and curator. “We want to collect at least one
important work from every known Three Rivers artist.”
There are dozens of pieces, many being
shown publicly for the first time, in this historic
exhibit. Among the most eye-catching works are huge
framed oils by local icon Ron Stivers. His use of
light and color probe the imagination and subconscious
of all who gaze into his sublime mountain landscapes.
Familiar to jazz fans at Lions Arena
will be a grand oil by Mike Edgerton Riley depicting
the former ranch house at the Catfish Farm prior to
restoration. Riley also has a Catalina Island piece
on display where he has produced a larger than life
perspective of the landmark Wrigley mansion.
The gallery is located on the lower level
of the Pizza Factory building and is open during Jazzaffair
on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is free; for directions or more information,
Sustainable eating in Three
by Mona Fox Selph
Planning for this
year’s Three Rivers Environmental Weekend will
begin with a meeting Saturday, April 17, 1 pm. Community
members are invited to get involved. This year’s
Environmental Weekend event is scheduled for October
2-3. Highlights will be a Green Home Tour and a focus
on sustainable food.
In the K’iche’ Maya creation
myth, the forefather gods brought forth the earth
and filled it with animals and plants. Then, on their
third attempt, they successfully created man out of
maize (corn) dough. As a testament to its importance
to their culture, they made many images of the young
maize god, Cinteotl.
Today, we are literally the people made
of corn as well. We have developed hundreds of products
from this grain, some of the most basic being corn
oil and corn syrup. We also feed our animals with
feed corn, which is of little nutritional value. An
examination of our hair isotopes proves we are made
Ruminants such as cattle have evolved
to eat grass, not corn. Yet today we feed them in
crowded feedlots on government-subsidized corn, starting
when they are calves. They quickly grow fat and ready
for slaughter, yet the meat produced is not of very
good quality or flavor.
The animals are fed to the limit of what
they can tolerate in grain, using antibiotics to hold
down the development of stomach ulcers caused by their
diet. This is unhealthy for the animals and the people
who consume the meat and has led to bacteria that
have now become resistant to these antibiotics.
Advertisements portray our food production
as a pastoral farm fantasy, but in reality most farming
of today bears little resemblance to the good farming
methods developed over the last 10,000 years. Most
food is now a product of the industrial food system.
A handful of mega-corporations control
more than 80 percent of the production and market,
as well as owning seed rights and preventing farmers
from saving their own seeds. These mega-corporations
are more driven by profit than the healthful production
of food for the people.
The global dilemma is to produce more
and more food for an ever-growing population that,
so far, refuses to control its own growth, but the
cost is quality and soil and water depletion. This
path is not sustainable.
While many other cultures of pre-Columbian
America developed sustainable agricultural methods,
the Maya used slash-and-burn methods on their poor
soil, planting for as little as two years, then having
to rest the fields from seven to 15 years.
A centuries-long drought combined with
growing populations and poor farming techniques were
major factors in bringing down the great civilization.
We are in a similar situation today with
populations burgeoning the world over, unsustainable
agricultural techniques, and a warming planet pushed
warmer by shipping huge quantities of food around
the world rather than supporting local production.
In the past several years, research has
proven that properly managed grazing of animals can
actually restore and renew damaged and depleted soils.
Not all areas are good candidates for gardens or farms,
but meat can be successfully raised in these marginal
areas, such as Yokohl Valley in southern Tulare Country,
Scientists are now looking to the past
for answers to many agricultural problems. In the
Amazon, for instance, an anthropogenic fertile dark
soil called “terra preta” was created
by incorporating partially burnt charcoal and other
organic material into the soil to stabilize the nutrients.
This bio-char farming technique is of major interest
today, since while improving the soil it almost permanently
sequesters the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, a major
problem in global warming.
We all can participate in improving our
food-production system by the purchasing choices we
make. Sustainable food production takes more time
and labor, and so is pricier. Yet we all can do a
little toward supporting it, and some can afford to
do more than others.
There are farmers’ markets in Visalia,
but that is not a great option unless one has other
business there on those days. Right here in our community,
we have neighbors who are growing grass-fed beef,
free-range chickens, and organic gardens.
Don and Teriz Mosley, for instance, grow
grass-fed, truly happy California cows. Their beef
is available to the community.
On Sundays, Flora Bella Organic Farms open their produce
stand from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m.
Family Farm Fresh will bring local produce
to your door, from once a month to weekly. In addition
to fruits and vegetables, they have milk, cheese,
eggs, honey, and nuts.
We all travel to Visalia when the need
arises. On my way, I often stop at the “Big
Orange” in Lemon Cove, put my money in the hole,
and pick up a bag of oranges. The grove has been organic
for the past three years.
Owner John Hamlin tells me that they
have grove chickens and alpacas. The alpacas mow most
of the weed plants, and the chickens pick up the weed
seeds and bugs as they progress though the orange
groves, depositing high quality fertilizer as they
go. This simple, sweet, and sustainable system eliminates
the need for commercial fertilizers and destructive
In a world of much hunger, we are blessed
to live in this community of plentiful food.
Here, we can lend our support to the
efforts of our neighbors to produce healthful and
sustainable food. Our choices help to drive the changes
we want to see in better agricultural methods and
use of our precious land and water.
Mona Fox Selph is
an organizer of the Three Rivers Environmental Weekend.
TRUS garden created
prospective Eagle Scout
Andrew Moore of Three Rivers, a junior
at Exeter High School and member of Boy Scout Troop
3301 of Visalia, is striving to make a difference
in his community. For his Eagle Scout project, he
turned his attention to Three Rivers School.
Having attended TRUS and being aware
that small schools could use a little help in these
tough economic times, Andrew went before the school’s
board of trustees and proposed to develop a garden
behind McDowall Auditorium. His proposal
included laying decorative paving stones and creating
garden beds for native plants in an area roughly 68
feet by 13 feet.
After submitting site plans, he went
to work on raising the funds to buy the materials.
Nearly $5,000 later and with a little help from his
fellow classmates and scouts, Andrew’s project
is now a reality.
even have a little money left over, so I am going
to install a bench as the centerpiece,” Andrew
Andrew said he learned a lot on this
project from start to finish, especially about the
native plants and irrigation system he installed.
He expects after completing all the paperwork
he will attain his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout,
and that could happen sometime later this year.
WELCOME TO MY FOOD COLUMN
‘My single-most favorite recipe’
by Tina St. John
EDITOR’S NOTE: Regular readers of this column
will know that Tina St. John was raised in a large
family with nine children. For the next several installments
of her “Welcome to my food column,” she
will highlight one of her siblings and their all-time
favorite recipe. Tina said she wants to show “what
came out of a home where food preparation was such
a big part of how we lived.”
This week: Marc
Marc, my baby brother, as I had thought
of him growing up, is sibling number seven. He is
much younger, but many times bigger in size. I think
he’s somewhere around 6-foot, seven inches,
tall. Sometimes he has to duck when entering
a doorway, so that gives you an idea of how tall he
I remember once when I was traveling
overseas and had some unforeseen difficulties with
which to contend. When arriving back in New York City,
my brother Marc was there waiting for me at the airport.
Once I saw him I knew everything would
be okay. He towered over the crowd, looking like a
gentle giant with his confident and captivating smile,
reassuring me not to worry. What a guy!
Marc lives in Surrey, England, with his
wife Julie and their two children Malcolm and Madeliene.
He is a partner with CVC Capital Partners in London.
In two weeks: Part Eight of “My
single-most favorite recipe.”
2 lbs. beef, cut into big cubes —
stewing beef (brisket), no lean meat
2 onions, diced
3/4 cup cubed smoked bacon (about the size of small
peas; they are called “lardons” in England)
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. butter, melted
5-6 shallots, chopped
2 beef bouillon cubes
Bottle of red wine – pinot noir or French burgundy
Bouquet of thyme, tied
1 or 2 bay leaves
Over a hot fire, put in the bacon and
the onions into a thick casserole pot. Make the shallots
sweat and cook the bacon. Remove the shallots and
bacon (and drain off the grease if you’re looking
to lose weight). Add the butter and olive oil over
the high flame. Once melted, put in the beef to brown.
When the beef is browned, add a spoonful of flour
to coat the beef. Make sure that the beef is nicely
coated, but not too much! This flour will make a nice
gravy later on. Take everything out, including the
beef, and deglaze the pan with about three-quarters
of a bottle of wine (the quality of wine is critical;
no plonk, please). Put everything back in with five
or six chunks of dark chocolate (70%+ cacao), bay
leaves, carrots, plus a fistful of fresh thyme that’s
tied up (bouquet garnie). The chocolate will work
wonders on the tastebuds and create a lovely unctuous
sauce for your stew. Pepper to taste, but NO salt
if you put in bouillon cubes.
Cook in a low oven all day long or on
the stove for a couple of hours in a casserole dish
on very low heat. Toward the end, put in peeled potatoes
(cut up charlotte potatoes that have been parboiled
work best). Put them on top. The longer you cook the
stew, the better. Many times, the bourguignon is better
the next day.
Know what you eat
One aspect of the health care bill —
which President Obama signed into law on March 23
— that is taking effect immediately is that
chain restaurants nationwide will be required to prominently
display nutrition information. This could be a significant
step in changing the food landscape in America.
More than 200,000 fast food and other
chain restaurants will have to include calorie counts
on menus, menu boards, and even drive-thrus.
The new law, which applies to any restaurant
with 20 or more locations, directs the Food and Drug
Administration to create a new national standard for
menu labeling, superseding a growing number of state
and city laws (legislation to this effect passed in
California last year). This rule will also apply to
vending machines carrying convenience foods.
The idea is to make sure that customers
process the calorie information as they are ordering.
The new law will make calories immediately available
for most items.
It is time for Americans to become more
educated and be more informed about what is actually
in the food they are eating and the impact that this
has on both their health and the environment. We currently
have insatiable appetites for cheap processed foods
and factory-farmed meats, which impacts everything
from carbon emissions to water quality to pesticide
and antibiotic use on farms.
It’s possible that the passage
of the health care bill could have a major impact
on changing the way people eat, because health insurers
will finally have a financial motive to keep people
from eating unhealthy foods that can cause long-term
health problems. All of a sudden, health insurers
will have an interest in our health and disease prevention
that they didn’t have previously.
Processed foods and fast food contain
unhealthy fat, excess sodium, sweeteners, and preservatives,
none of which our bodies require to maintain health.
The optimal way to avoid dependence on
the industrial food system and to optimize health
is by (1) purchasing locally grown fruits and vegetables
at farmers’ markets or through community-supported
agriculture (or grow them yourself), (2) eat whole
grains and legumes, (3) purchase meat, eggs, and dairy
products from naturally raised, free-range animals,
(3) select wild, sustainable fish, not farm-raised,
(4) rid your diet of the white, or bleached, foods
(flour, sugar, rice) and replace with whole wheat
products and brown rice, and (5) don’t drink
soda ever (regular or diet). To avoid eating fast
food, pack up some of the above and take it with you
when you know you won’t be home for a meal.
If the majority of your diet consists
of these foods and is combined with a regular fitness
program, positive results will immediately appear:
weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol,
lower blood glucose levels, and smaller waist size.
Calorie information may be the first
step in this journey toward our collective health
as a nation. Educate yourself on your own caloric
requirement so you know what the calorie listings
And teach the children!