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In the News - Friday, April 20, 2012

This week's front page



The mystery is solved of how Jazzaffair keeps on playing

while so many other festivals of its kind are struggling...



3R postmaster retiring

  Earlier this week, the Commonwealth learned that Lori Ontiveros, who has served as Three Rivers postmaster since 2004, will retire at the end of the month. Lori’s last day on the job will be today (Friday, April 20) as she will be taking some unused leave time before her retirement is official.
   The current postmaster came to Three Rivers after serving an appointment at Ducor. Her career with the U.S. Post Office spanned three decades.
   In 2006, Lori was instrumental in organizing a local effort as a part of Operation Gratitude, a nationwide holiday gift-giving campaign coordinated by the Postal Service to say thanks to the men and women serving in the U.S. military. The local post office collected donations for phone gift cards that were delivered to Armed Forces personnel serving overseas so they could stay in touch with loved ones.
   When the Kaweah Post Office was threatened with closure, Lori worked with USPS management to keep the historic postal station operational. Though the use was changed from a “community post office” to “delivery unit,” patrons still have service and are able to send and receive mail from the century-old privately owned station.
   Lori also played a crucial role in the Kaweah Post Office’s centennial fundraiser held in October 2010, expediting postal products that raised several hundred dollars to pay for maintenance and upkeep. She said later that she was proud that Kaweah’s identity and zip code were preserved.
   The future is uncertain as to when and if the postmaster position will be filled at Three Rivers. So much has changed in the past eight years for the U.S. Postal Service since the last appointment that the position could be eliminated.
   A source in the post office said that it is likely that the Three Rivers station will continue to operate with an “officer in charge” and a postmaster won’t be appointed. Local revenue has declined to a point now that the higher paying position is not cost effective.

Bearpaw reservations,

pack station permits suspended

  U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg will preside at a Wednesday, May 23, hearing — the next go-round in a lawsuit brought by High Sierra Hikers Association v. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. In one corner is a 600-member group of hikers who want commercial packers to be prohibited from using and grazing stock in wilderness areas; in the other corner are National Park Service managers who, the suit claims, are ignoring Wilderness Act mandates in favor of granting permits to commercial interests and not placing quotas on stock use.
   In a March 12 letter written to 16 pack stations, Karen Taylor-Goodrich, superintendent of Sequoia-Kings Canyon, wrote that permits for the 2012 season could not be issued pending the outcome of the hearing in the San Francisco courtroom.
   That uncertainty has wreaked havoc on backcountry businesses, like Bearpaw High Sierra Camp in Sequoia, that depend on commercial packers for their supplies. They are telling their dozens of reservations (at $175 per night) to please stand by until at least July 1 and have a backup plan for their High Sierra vacation just in case.
   Pack station operators like Charley Mills at Horse Corral Meadow and Tim Loverin at Cedar Grove are also reluctant to start booking their regular complement of summer trips. Mills, who lives in Woodlake in the off season, said 90 percent of his business comes from pack trips into the wilderness.
   Some wilderness users cite the recent disappearance of commercial packers in Mineral King and Giant Forest and believe this may finally be the end of the era for pack stations in the local national parks.
  “We’re doing everything possible to reach an agreement in this case in time to start the season,” said Superintendent Taylor-Goodrich. “This is not the end of commercial packing and riding horses in these parks.”

Woodlake schools superintendent heading to Exeter

  Earlier this month, a spokesperson for Exeter Public Schools announced that their board of trustees was expected to approve Tim Hire, current superintendent of the Woodlake School District as the candidate to succeed Renee Whitson. Whitson has held that position since 1995; Hire has been in the top post at Woodlake since 2007.
   Though he will make $9,000 more in the Exeter job, Hire insisted it’s not the money that was the priority in his decision. His kids participate in several sports in Exeter so he wants to be more involved in their activities too.
   Hire lives outside of Exeter in the boundaries of the school district. He will finish out the current school year at Woodlake and then start his new job on July 1.
But, in the meantime he said, he’s looking forward to getting some new projects started and the Woodlake High School graduation that will be held at the new Twilight Park.
  “We hope to have the stadium improvements project underway in May so that facility will be a construction site,” Hire said. “The walk-through with the contractor was held this past week so it won’t be long until the contract is in place.”
   The improvements that are scheduled to start in May also include new tennis courts. The projects are funded by Measure C, which was approved by voters in 2008.
   Hire is proud of all the campus upgrades, especially the sports facilities like the junior varsity baseball/softball fields that were completed a couple years ago. The two softball and two baseball fields now make it possible for all teams to play at home on the same day.
   But the progress in academics, Hire said, is even more impressive.
  “During my tenure we have increased the number of students meeting grade level requirements,” Hire said. “I sincerely believe the team we have here has created a culture where every student has the opportunity to succeed.”
   Hire admitted when he was first approached by the Exeter search committee he turned them down. But the more he thought about the situation, the more it was apparent that he should at least consider all the options.
  “A positive for Woodlake,” Hire said, “is that the new unified board will have to galvanize and come together in making the decision on the new superintendent.”
   That process will help the board evolve into a more effective decision-making body, Hire believes, especially in light of the split decision regarding health care benefits for board members.
   The timing seems right both for Hire and his new employer because the Exeter districts have the unification issue slated for the November ballot. Apparently, the search committee felt that Hire’s experience with Woodlake’s unification was the clincher in his selection as the new superintendent.
   Hire began his career at Woodlake High as an agriculture teacher 15 years ago. From 2001 to 2005, he worked as WHS assistant principal; he was principal at Woodlake High from 2005 until becoming superintendent in 2007.
  “I sincerely believe that I’m leaving Woodlake in good financial shape,” Hire said. “And just because I take the Exeter job, I won’t forget my relationships here or my Woodlake family.”

Moro Rock climbing routes closed

  All Moro Rock climbing routes between, and including, “South Face” and “Glow with the Flow” are currently closed to the public due to the fact that it is springtime and there are babies being born. In this case, it’s the rare peregrine falcons, which have been making a comeback in numbers in the last decade or so.
   The closure went into effect April 17, 2012, and will remain until August 30 or until further notice. The popular walking route to the summit of Moro Rock remains open as weather conditions permit.
   Peregrine falcons are territorial during breeding season and will vigorously defend their nests. They are sensitive to human activity around their nest area and could abandon the nest if disturbed. It is against the law to disturb the birds; offenders will be cited.

Former 3R kid to appear

on Discovery Channel series

  Be in front of the television set on Sunday, April 22, at 10 p.m., and tune into one of the Discovery Channel’s newest shows, Unchained Reaction, where some Three Rivers folks will see a familiar face.
   Naim Busek, who currently lives and works in Los Angeles, was raised in Three Rivers, graduating from Three Rivers School and Woodlake High. He will be participating in the show that is executive produced and judged by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters fame.
   Unchained Reaction is a six-part series that pits two teams of varying backgrounds against each other to build an elaborate chain-reaction contraption. Most likely, Naim will claim his talents stem from Three Rivers School’s annual Rube Goldberg contest, held each May, in which the middle-schoolers are provided with a task (i.e., put toothpaste on a toothbrush) that they must complete via the building an elaborate hands-free device.
   Naim will appear on the final episode in the series entitled “Movie Mayhem.” Two teams will be vying to see which one builds “the best machine.”
Team Fail Fail Win, of which Naim is a part, consists of five multimedia artists, all from Southern California. They are going up against Team InSaign, which consists of members who specialize in working with metal; three are from Southern California, two of the members are from Washington.
   As an example, previous episodes matched electronics experts against carpenters and artists against engineers.
   The team will be provided with materials, such as tires, palettes, barbecues, lumber, steel, a fan and refrigerator, treadmill, computer monitors, steel drums, car lift, helicopter blades, telephone poles, toilets, anvils, surfboards, and other off-the-wall elements. This works right into the hands of Naim, who along with his team, confesses to liking to break things to see what new things can be built with the pieces.



Soulful pianist to perform in chamber music finale

By Bill Haxton

  Three beloved piano compositions are coming to Three Rivers on Saturday, April 21.
Presenting this exciting program is acclaimed pianist Domonique Launey, winner of the Wideman International Piano Concerto Competition and recipient of the Gold Medallion for her solo recital at the L’Academie de Musique in Brussels. Domonique has performed as a soloist all over America and Europe, including with the Tulare County Symphony, and is well known for the rich tonality and poetic lyricism she brings to her music, giving it an intimate, almost soliloquy quality.
   Johann Sebastian Bach’s lovely Prelude and Fugue No. 9 from The Well-Tempered Clavier opens the concert. The Prelude suggests the passage of time with a rolling series of melodic phrases that flow one into the next, and is followed by a complex and beautifully textured Fugue — four slow, almost sacred, voices that enter in ascending order and keep on rising.
   Beethoven’s Sonata No. 2, Opus 2, is one of those seminal compositions that straddles the old world and the new. Beethoven wrote it with one foot on the strictly formalistic turf of classical composition, but the range of expression and sheer variety of the piece put the other foot firmly on the ground of Romanticism. Listen closely and you’ll hear several cadences and melodies that reappear in many of Beethoven’s later compositions.
   It’s not an overstatement to say that Chopin’s immortal Sonata No. 2, Opus 35, captures the arc of an entire life in music. The first movement has all the elements — love, tenderness, suffering, hope, disappointment. The next movement introduces an ongoing struggle between forces of darkness and forces of light expressed in alternating melodies that whirl in battle.
   When the movement ends it’s not clear which set of forces has won.
The Funeral March in the third movement is one of the most recognizable of all musical themes, classical or otherwise. Here, the metaphor is unmistakable, mourning for the hero of the first two movements. The very short finale is ethereal, spectral, swirling, like a leaf picked up by a sudden wind and blown rapidly across a field until it comes to a sudden stop against a wall.
   This is the final concert in the second annual series organized by the Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute.
   We are deeply grateful for this concert’s sponsors: Reimer’s Candies and Gifts, Comfort Inn and Suites, and Jaclyn and Stan Johnson. Please join us.


Patience and tolerance:
The art of weedeating

By Charlene Vartanian

  ‘Tis the season of the weed. Early spring allows us to rejoice at the green abundance of life that comes forth from the earth. As it progresses, too much becomes too much — green eventually turns to brown with all the hazards thereof.
   We all have weeds in our life. Externally, fueled by sun and rain; internally by the vicissitudes of life. Both require the same response: patience and tolerance. A weedeater is helpful, too!
Tolerance allows us to see the weeds without malice. Patience, to take the steps necessary to work with them. Recognizing “the season of the weed” allows one to immerse oneself without getting lost.
   There are hazards to weedeating and it is helpful to know and learn the terrain. Whether out in the field or in your mind, life allows us to experience the risks so that we can learn to avoid them. And then comes the practice.
Tools of the trade: weedeater, goggles and mask — or purple handkerchief as the case may be. Choosing the time of day, avoiding the heat of the sun, enjoying the activity. Satisfaction with the results.
   Tools of the heart: patience, tolerance and insight. Perseverance, gentleness and love. Yes, of even the weeds. Those tough times in life that herald our joy.
   Just as goggles and handkerchief protect our eyes and face, a fierce heart protects us and the ones we love. A soft heart allows us to maintain our focus, not on the weed but the task at hand. Expanding the heart to move through the weeds while developing faith and trust in the process of life.
   Here’s to the weeds in your life!
   Charlene Vartanian, R.N., is the owner of CranioSacral Therapy in Three Rivers.

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
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