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In the News - Friday, April 23, 2010


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

—JAZZAFFAIR 2010 photos (PDF)


Lake Kaweah was in a reflective mood after another Gulf of Alaska-spawned storm system

made its way through Kaweah Country on Wednesday, April 21.

3R champion will ride

in Lions Team Roping
   Ever since she can remember Shyan Souza has been dreaming about the Three Rivers Lions Team Roping. In fact, she first ran the barrels as a four-year-old and now looks forward to the local competition as the best event on the circuit and her highlight of an annual schedule that becomes more hectic each year. More...

Snowstorm hampers

trans-Sierra travelers 

  A huge snowpack has more implications than the impending water runoff season. Backcountry travel will be impacted throughout the remaining storms, and backpackers will find the high mountain passes clogged with snow for much of the summer. More...


Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda:

Four years and still dancing

   Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda children’s Mexican folk dance group of Woodlake, celebrated its fourth anniversary in March. More...

Quarter Horses

by Brian Rothhammer

  Got a horse in your pocket? You just might. Horses have appeared on coinage from many lands since ancient times.
   Philip II, King of Macedonia, had a particular fondness for horses. His name in Greek is a combination of the words “horse” and “friend.” In 356 B.C., the year his son Alexander (the Great) was born, he won the horseback riding event at the 106th Olympic Games.
   Philip went on to win the quadriga (four-horse chariot) at the 107th games and the biga (two-colt chariot) at the 108th. Coins were issued to celebrate his equestrian prowess.
   The very first Roman silver coins (280 B.C.) bore the image of a horse and through the centuries horses have appeared on coins of Europe and Asia. The British gold Sovereign has portrayed St. George astride a horse since 1871, all the while slaying a dragon.
   Not that you’re likely to find a 2,300-year-old Roman didrachm in your pocket change, but there could be a horse on your two bits.
   In 1999, Caesar Rodney rode from the history books to the reverse (back) of the first of the United States Mint 50 State Quarters. The image is of Rodney riding through the night to arrive at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall on July 2, 1776. In boots and spurs, he cast his vote for Delaware to sign the Declaration of Independence.
   Three other coins of the series had horse designs. The Kentucky quarter of 2001 shows “a thoroughbred racehorse” (U.S. Mint description), the 2006 Nevada quarter has a “trio of wild stallions,” and the most rodeo themed of the State Quarters is the 2007 Wyoming with its “bucking horse and rider” in silhouette.
   The State Quarters have now run their course and the first of the new “America, The Beautiful Quarters” was released on Monday, April 19.
   The new series of quarters will feature one design from each of the 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia as had the State Quarters. This time around, the designs will be “emblematic of a National Park or other national site in each State..”

  “These new quarters will honor some of the most revered, treasured and beautiful national sites; majestic and historic places located throughout the United States and its territories that truly make us ‘America the Beautiful,’” said Ed Moy, director of the U.S. Mint.
   The newly released quarter honors Arkansas’s Hot Springs National Park, and although no horses appear on the initial five designs, California’s Yosemite National Park Quarter will be released on July 26, 2010. The series will run through 2021.
   An interesting provision of the act authorizing the ATB quarters directs the Mint to also issue five-ounce pure silver versions of the quarters for sale. No release dates have yet been announced for these massive coins that will be three inches across, more than twice the size of a standard U.S. silver dollar.
   The act also gives the Mint until 2019 to decide whether to do a second round of ATB quarters, so there’s plenty of time to lobby for a Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks quarter. The Mint has created a website with images and information about the series at www.americathebeautifulquarters.gov.

Election 2010:  Five apply

for COS board appointment

  Five people have filed applications for the vacant Ward 2 seat on the College of the Sequoias board of trustees. The seat was left empty after the resignation of longtime board member Sue Shannon at the end of March.
   Ward 2 encompasses Three Rivers, as well as a portion of Visalia, Exeter, and an eastern portion of Tulare.
The applicants are:
   Sesar Carreno of Tulare, a teacher in Earlimart and Tulare who is a former member of the California State Univeristy, Northridge, alimni board and former president of the Association of Latino Alumni-CSUN;
   Leonel Leal of Tulare, who is an engineer with Kraft Foods Global and former volunteer with the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula (Menlo Park);
   Kenneth Nunes of Tulare, who is a partner with M. Greene and Co., a former member of the COS Foundation board, and who served on the COS Measure J Committee;
   Marlene Sario of Exeter, who is a member of the Exeter High School board, former member of the COS Measure I Committee, and the chief financial officer of Rising Sun Co., a general engineering construction company; and
   Barbara Waldron of Exeter, chairwoman of the Tulare County Democratic Party, director on the Tulare County Workforce Investment board; and owner/operator of Waldron Legal Secretarial Services.
   The list of the five qualified applicants was presented to the COS board of trustees during their meeting last week. The board will interview the applicants next week and the successful applicant will be appointed no later than May 10.
   The seat is up for re-election in November.


'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 past several installments of her “Welcome to my food column,” she has been highlighting 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: Paul

   Paul, the youngest of our brood, is sibling number nine.
   I left home when Paul was only three. Throughout the years I missed most of his childhood, then he left for college. As a result, Paul and I have never really known much about each other.
   What I do know: He is hilariously funny. He is dashingly handsome.
He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, with his husband Meinhard. He is a new father to baby Liam. And he works for EMC Computer Systems as a regional manager in eastern and central Europe.
   Lucky for me I’ll get to spend some time with him this summer at our family reunion.
   And something we have in common is we obviously both loved my mom’s French dressing. Finally, someone in the family said their favorite recipe was her French dressing! Here you go…
   Bon Appetit!
   In two weeks: The final installment of “My single-most favorite recipe.”

Woodlake Mock Trial team

states their cast at State

by Keith Merritt

  Normally, if you heard someone say their kid gets into a lot of arguments and had to spend the day in court, you might think “Uh-oh.”   But for Woodlake High’s Mock Trial team, arguing is what they do best and being in court is a chance to shine.
   A mock trial competition involves a hypothetical court case argued by student participants, in a real courtroom, with a real judge. The winners are decided by a jury of actual lawyers.
   In February, the Woodlake High School Mock Trial team defeated opponents in a six-round competition to become Tulare County champions. As a result, the team advanced to the State Mock Trial competition, which took place March 19 through 21 in San Jose.
   Kevin Skeen of Three Rivers, a math teacher at Woodlake High, coached the team toward an impressive performance at this highly competitive event. The first match on Friday evening was a “trial by fire,” he said, as the opponent the team faced eventually became the 2010 state champions.
   The next two matches were also tightly contested events with no obvious winner. Clovis North and Placer County fought fiercely against the Woodlake team, and the room was filled with the excitement of witnessing sharp, well-prepared young minds clashing in the legal arena.
   And just like those tense courtroom dramas we know so well from TV, the participants had to wait till the end of the show to discover the verdict. In this case, the verdict would be the judges’ scores that would be announced at the closing ceremonies on Sunday. The team’s last match on Saturday evening was against Merced County, and it was clear in this case that Woodlake had dominated the debate.
   But it wasn’t all arguments and rhetorical conflict at this event. Like the actors on a drama, getting together at the snack table between takes, the young people from the various schools had ample opportunity to meet and greet each other in a less confrontational mode.
   On Friday night there was a dinner social for all 700 participants, where they had a chance to exchange city “pins,” and on Saturday night, there was a dance in the main ballroom of the Fairmont.
   On Sunday afternoon, during the closing ceremonies, the teams finally learned the outcome of their simulated legal battles. Woodlake was edged out by San Mateo County, came in second in two very close decisions regarding Fresno and Placer Counties, and scored a win over Merced.
   Being a member of the Mock Trial team demanded a considerable amount of time and effort by its participants, but the intensity of the experience was well worth it and will long be remembered. Advisor Kevin Skeen expressed gratitude to the local organizations that contributed to making the trip a possibility and the volunteer lawyer coaches, Erin and Nathan Leedy of Three Rivers who, he said, were a huge reason for the team’s success.

3R students continue

State Science Fair tradition

It’s impressive when students get motivated and do an outstanding science project. At Three Rivers, it’s becoming an annual tradition.
   Each year, students in the seventh and eighth grades are required to complete a science project as a part of their spring semester. They are then judged independently by a team of scientists from Sequoia National Park.
   Apparently, the park scientists know an award-winning project when they see one. That’s because for the past 10 years at least one Three Rivers project that was entered at the county level was judged among the best of the show to advance to the California State Science Fair held annually at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
   Three enthusiastic seventh graders — Gunnar Little, Caleb Sager. Spencer Jones — were chosen to go to the state competition to be held this year on May 17 and 18. They are thrilled to be participants but know they are up against some tough competition.
   The annual state science fair includes students in grades six through 12 and is expected to attract 900 projects from 400 schools. The local boys feel honored to represent their small school and Three Rivers.

  “We like science and sports so we wanted to do a project that involved something most people know something about or how to play,” said Spencer Jones.
   The boys are teammates on the TRUS baseball team so a baseball was considered to test their hypothesis. They wanted to test how the temperature of the ball, being struck by equal force, would be affected in terms of the distance traveled.
   To do that they built an apparatus of PVC pipe fitted with a wooden hammer and mounted on a bicycle stand. What they found out was that a golf ball was more suited to testing than a baseball so they switched their approach to the golf game.
   The testing involved comparing the distances of frozen, heated to a boil, and air temperature Titleist No. 2 golf balls. The striking force was determined by gravity so it remained constant.
   The average distance, they found out, was 270 inches and the room temperature samples and the colder balls actually traveled the farthest.

  “It was surprising because we expected the heated balls to have more elasticity and to travel farther,” said Gunnar. “But we also observed that the course was not level and that influenced how far each ball actually traveled.”
   The young scientists are really looking forward to going to Los Angeles next month and if they could bring home some of the $60,000 in awards that would be really cool too!
   WOODLAKE HIGH SCHOOL— When both your parents — Jon and Melanie Keeley, he in fire ecology and she in native plants — work in science-related careers, it figures that as a student you might become interested in scientific research. But what’s reexceptional about Katie Keeley, a Three Rivers junior at Woodlake High School, is her desire to push herself academically to places no other local students have ever yet been.
   Consider her quest to return each year to the California State Science Fair. This year marks her fifth consecutive trip to the annual competition held at the Science Center in Los Angeles.

  “Ever since my first trip there as a seventh grader from Three Rivers School [2006], I noticed there was an award given to those students who entered projects for five years,” Katie said. “Right then, I knew I wanted to win that award.”
   Katie admits that she is doing this for the pure joy of learning, especially when it comes to science. She is the only student from her high school to submit a science fair project even though there is no class requirement or credit to do so.
   Unlike some of the larger urban high schools around California that support a science fair team as an elective or after-school activity, Katie’s advisor is her dad, Jon Keeley, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey based at Ash Mountain in Sequoia National Park.
   The challenge of researching her project: The Impact of Humans and Climate on Wildfires in California, is made even more difficult because it is an extracurricular activity. That means she must make her own time to do the research in addition to maintaining a ranking near the top of her class and being the editor-in-chief of the school paper The Tiger Times.
   Her interest in the media actually fueled some of her work on this project.

  “I found that in the scientific literature and in the other media, there is a misunderstanding when it comes to wildfires,” Katie said. “In the West and in California you can’t generalize because there are micro-climates.”
   And now there is climate change, she said, that affects some regions but not others. There is really no end to what one can research about this relevant topic that affects everyone who lives in wildlands like Three Rivers, Katie said.

  “It was most interesting to observe the spike in wildfires when the cold phase ended in the 1970s and there was a period of drought and then rising temperatures in the 1980s,” Katie said. “Climate and humans clearly had an impact on the numbers and where wildfires occurred.”
   Encouraged by her dad to apply, Katie will also present her project this summer at The Ecological Society of America’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh, Penn. After graduating from Woodlake High in 2011, she hopes to attend U.C. Berkeley and study environmental science.


Tuny Prins
1923 ~ 2006

   Theunis “Tuny” Prins, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Thursday, April 1, 2010. He was 86.
   Tuny was born in Lyon County, Iowa, and was raised and educated in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was 17 years old when he joined the U.S. Air Force and was a B-24 pilot stationed in Europe during World War II.
   After his discharge, he returned to Grand Rapids and attended Calvin College, then went onto graduate from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisc. He practiced law for several years.
   In 1953, the Prins family relocated to California, eventually settling in Three Rivers. Over the years, Tuny was involved in several businesses in Dinuba and Visalia.
   Tuny was a member and former elder of Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers.
   In addition to his wife of 62 years, Fran, Tuny is survived by four sons, Gary of Corona del Mar, Ron and wife Jane of Escondido, Greg and wife Crystal of Redding, and Jeff and wife Micki of Visalia; daughter Laurie and husband Michael of Visalia; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
   A celebration honoring Tuny will be held Sunday, April 25, 1 p.m., at Salser and Dillard Funeral Chapel, 127 E. Caldwell Ave., Visalia.

THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
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