the News - Friday, April 24, 2009
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
IN THE APRIL 24 PRINT EDITION
2009 photo gallery
SPRING EVENTS FOCUS ON KIDS
free flights for youth
Crumly of the Woodlake Flying Tigers
his Beechcraft Debonair.
Forget virtual reality. This is the real deal.
Young Eagles is a program of the Experimental
Aircraft Association that provides free rides to anyone
between the ages of eight and 17 years old. The Woodlake
Flying Tigers chapter of EAA will offer 15-minute
flights Saturday, May 2, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at
the Woodlake Airport There is no catch; just bring
a parent or guardian to sign a permission slip and
your desire to experience a whole new world.
These aren’t carnival rides, pony
rides, or rides in your uncle’s hoopty. Imagine
the best roller coaster ever, then imagine no tracks
and the sky as your limit. Imagine flight.
In the spirit of aviation, pilots will
be on hand to walk each kid through all aspects of
the aircraft and the skills needed to fly one. Participants
can learn what its like to soar into the wild blue
Afterward, each novice flyer will be
presented with a book called Learn to Fly and a certificate
as a Young Eagle.
Pilots like Byron Taylor and Chris Crumly,
both of whom live near Woodlake and have over 20 years
of flying experience each, will take each Young Eagle
up in their personal aircraft and demonstrate firsthand
how a plane flies.
The event is held by the Woodlake Flying
Tigers as a part of Woodlake’s Western Week
and is fully sponsored by the EAA, an organization
of more than 1,000 chapters around the world. In fact,
more than one million Young Eagles have already flown.
The reason for the free flights is simple.
These people love to fly. They want to introduce young
prospective pilots to the realities of flight. It
is a passion, they hope, that could lead to a career.
No need to tell the kids, but Young Eagles
also learn a busload about science and physics as
well. If I was you and I missed this, I’d be
mad at me.
Sunday is Family Day
Three Rivers Roping
Every day at the Roping has thrills for all, but the
local Lions Club will really focus on the kids on
Sunday, April 26. There is the traditional Pig Scramble,
in which several different age groups of children
are let loose in the arena for the chance to catch
one of the little squealers. There is also the Pee
Wee Roping and Barrel Race, as well as a bounce house
and other activities for children. Admission to the
Roping is just $1 per car.
River View burglarized
During a busy weekend like Jazzaffair
there’s lots of cash changing hands at local
businesses. Apparently, the prospect of stealing the
weekend’s receipts from the River View Restaurant
and Lounge was just too tempting for one burglar to
When Rex Hildebrand, who owns and operates
the Sierra Drive bar and restaurant with his wife
Dorletta, arrived for work on Monday, April 20, he
noticed one of the security doors was pried open.
It didn’t take long to realize that a burglar
had entered the premises through a door to the old
office and then apparently cut the power at precisely
“It was unusual to have that much cash in the
place but last weekend we were very busy,” said
Dorletta. “No alcohol, big-screen TV, or any
electronics were taken. The burglar took the cash
Dorletta reported a total of $5,910 missing and said
even the rolled coin was gone. Rex immediately reported
the theft to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.
Jim Fansett, Three Rivers resident deputy,
arrived on the scene and dusted for fingerprints while
gathering some more evidence, including a surveillance
tape that recorded the scene until the power went
“Evidently, the burglar cut the power so the
parking area was dark,” Dorletta said.
The business owners had nothing but praise
for the professionalism of Deputy Fansett who is conducting
“Another deputy told us in a bad economy like
this, business owners can expect burglaries to get
even worse,” Dorletta said. “In Tulare
County alone, they are making 50 arrests a day and
still not even close to getting all the bad guys.”
Dorletta said she doesn’t expect
to get the money back but hopes they catch the burglar
and prosecute to the full extent of the law.
Roping weather will be
After three consecutive days when daytime
highs averaged nearly 20 degrees above normal, the
weekend will see a return to the more seasonal 70s.
There is only a slight chance of precipitation throughout
the seven-day period.
Record high temperatures were tied or
broken all over the western U.S. Denver experienced
a foot of snow and temperatures in the mid-80s in
the same week.
“When temperatures begin to climb into the 90s,
we can usually expect a chemical process to occur
where particulates cook in the atmosphere to create
higher ozone levels and poor air quality,” said
Annie Esperanza, air quality specialist with Sequoia
and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Esperanza said Kaweah Country dodged
a bullet this week because nights are still cool and
temperatures began to moderate before there was a
significant build-up of pollutants.
“Even though temperatures felt like summer,
it’s still a little too early for summer and
its typically unhealthy air quality,” Esperanza
said. “We can all breathe easier for a little
To learn more about Kaweah Country air
quality and challenges we all face to improve it,
attend Annie Esperanza’s presentation at Earth
Day 2009 on Saturday, May 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at
the Three Rivers Memorial Building.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Rape is a violent crime, a hostile attack,
an attempt to hurt and humiliate. It is not the result
of “uncontrolled passions.”
Rape can happen to anyone. Students,
working women, wives, mothers, children, grandmothers,
and even males are the victims of rape.
Rape can occur anywhere and at anytime,
in public or in your own home, day or night. Rapists
are not necessarily strangers. In fact, in over one-third
of reported cases, the rapist is an acquaintance,
neighbor, friend, or relative of the victim.
Rape is one of the most underreported
crimes. The majority of rapists continue until caught.
So report any kind of sexual assault.
There are many types of sexual assault and many victims,
including young children. Rape prevention tips for
women is this article’s focus.
Here is some of what a (male) rapist
looks for when selecting their (adult female) victim:
—Hairstyle. A rapist will most likely go after
a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid, or other hairstyle
that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to
go after a woman with long hair. Women with short
hair are not common targets.
—Clothing. They will look for women whose clothing
can be removed quickly. Many carry scissors to cut
—Distractions. A woman on her cell phone, searching
through their purse, or doing other activities while
walking are attractive targets because they are not
aware of their surroundings, are off-guard, and can
be easily overpowered.
—Time of day. Men are more likely to attack
and rape a woman in the early morning, between 5 and
—Location. The number-one place women are abducted
from or attacked at is a grocery store parking lot.
Number two is an office parking lot or garage. Number
three is a public restroom.
Men will mostly plan on abducting a woman
quickly to move her to a second location where they
don’t have to worry about being caught.
Statistically, very few rapists carry weapons
because rape carries a three-to-five year sentence,
but rape with a weapon is 15 to 20 years.
It is important that women prevent themselves
from being taken to the “second location.”
It has been documented that if a woman puts up a fight,
the rapist could get discouraged, realizing that she
may not be worth the trouble because it will be loud
Studies also have shown that men will
not choose a woman who is carrying an umbrella or
other similar objects in their hands that can be used
as a weapon. On the other hand, don’t count
on keys as a deterrent because you have to be really
close to the attacker to use them as a weapon.
Here are some defense mechanisms:
—If someone is following behind you on a street,
in a parking garage, or with you in an elevator or
stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question,
like what time it is. Now you’ve seen their
face and you lose appeal as a target because you can
identify them in a lineup.
—If someone is coming toward you, and that little
voice in your head warns you that danger is imminent,
hold out your hands in front of you and yell, “Stop!”
or “Stay back!” or, if you happen to be
forewarned enough to have pepper spray in your hand,
“I have pepper spray!” Remember, they
are looking for an easy target.
—If someone grabs you, you may not be able to
beat them with strength, but you can outsmart them.
Pinch an attacker either under the arm between the
elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh…
hard. Or grab his first two fingers and
bend them back as far as possible while also applying
downward pressure. Then, when the opportunity presents
itself, go for the groin. Yes, these tactics will
anger a would-be rapist, but again, they are looking
for someone who is easy to overpower.
10 years ago in
— APRIL 23, 1999 —
Wuksachi set for Memorial Day
opening— Three lodge buildings, a dining
room, gift shop, conference rooms, and reception area
were nearing completion and staff was being trained
for the new Wuksachi Village in Sequoia National Park.
It was announced that the new visitor complex was
scheduled to open to the public on Memorial Day weekend.
Town meeting rescheduled to May—
The monthly town meeting, conducted by Supervisor
Bill Sanders, would be postponed for a week. In reaction
to the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton,
Colo., a representative of the Tulare County Sheriff’s
Department would present a program on violence prevention.
GMP meeting explores visions
for 21st century— During a public meeting
on April 20 in Three Rivers, Sequoia-Kings Canyon
National Parks planning team leaders requested that
local participants define a vision for the future
of the neighboring parks. Coincidentally, Susan Spain,
GMP team leader who works out of the National Park
Service’s Denver office, lives in Littleton,
Colo., and expressed shock at hearing the news about
the tragic school shooting that occurred earlier in
49th annual Lions Team Roping:
It’s a family affair— ACTRA,
the American Cowboy Team Roping Association, was recognized
for its support of the Three Rivers Team Roping. ACTRA
was described as “family-oriented.” The
article explained: “Today, with the emergence
of team roping as an officially sanctioned sport,
the ropers are placed in one of eight categories similar
to a handicap in golf. The rules level the playing
field and have attracted record numbers of beginners,
especially female ropers. What this has done is open
up the sport so that the beginners are not intimidated
by the pros anymore.”
1912 ~ 2009
Thelma Elaine (Alles) Crain, a former
resident of Three Rivers, died Friday, April 17, 2009,
in Danville. She was 96.
A memorial service will be held Sunday,
May 9. High Sierra Jazz Band and other musicians will
perform (more details to follow).
Thelma was born May 21, 1912, in Exeter,
the eldest daughter of John and Rebecca Alles. Conrad
and Christina Alles, Thelma’s grandparents,
arrived in Three Rivers in 1885.
Thelma’s youngest years were spent
at Edison Village, also known as “Camp Edison,”
as her father was operator at the electric plant.
From 1910 to 1940, Edison Village, or “Camp
Edison,” was a thriving community for company
families and, later, seasonal employees of Sequoia
National Park. The camp was located near the present-day
park entrance at Ash Mountain, where the Park Service’s
Buckeye housing tract is now situated.
Thelma attended school in Three Rivers
through the eighth grade. When she was 12, her family
relocated to Long Beach, where she graduated from
Wilson High School in 1929 and attended Long Beach
Thelma met her husband-to-be Chester
Crain at the Eastside Christian Church in Long Beach.
They married in 1935 and the following year, the couple
moved to Compton, which is where they raised their
Thelma was a beautician for 20 years,
and upon Chet and Thelma’s retirements in 1969,
the couple relocated to Thelma’s hometown, Three
Rivers, where they built their home along the South
Fork of the Kaweah River and became active members
of the community. They were involved in the Three
Rivers Chamber of Commerce and the Community Presbyterian
Church, where Thelma was a charter member, along with
her mother and two sisters.
Thelma was a longtime distributor for
the Shaklee Corporation, selling biodegradable homecare,
healthy personal care, and nutritional products. In
1972, Thelma and Chet became members of the Three
Rivers Volunteer Ambulance Service. Thelma became
certified as an EMT I and provided dedicated service
for the next six years.
Upon first hearing the Jazzberry Jam
Band play in 1973, Chet and Thelma became devoted
fans of the traditional jazz movement in Three Rivers.
They were among the founding members of the Sierra
Traditional Jazz Club, formed in 1974, and as Jazzberry
Jam evolved into High Sierra Jazz Band, Chet eventually
became the group’s manager.
The couple traveled with the band as
their gigs took them throughout California and soon
expanded to festivals throughout the nation, jazz
cruises, and international performances. Thelma, who
played the piano since she was four years old, also
composed a theme song specifically for Jazzaffair.
In the 1980s, Thelma dabbled in the art
of stained glass. Her work graces the Community Presbyterian
Church, where the front windows of the sanctuary are
decorated with exquisite stained-glass images of local
wildflowers. A framed stained-glass picture created
by Thelma is near the pulpit and depicts Jesus in
prayer at Gethsemane.
In 1995, at the urging of her family,
Thelma self-published a book entitled Sunbeams
& Buzzards: Letters from Three Rivers. It
seems that Thelma’s creative and humorous writing
style was well-loved amongst her family and friends,
so many of the letters were gathered and published,
along with historical reminiscences from both phases
of her Three Rivers residency.
Thelma was a member of the Southern Sierra
Archaeology Society and, formerly, of the Archaeological
Survey Association, where in 1965, she participated
in a dig at the “Calico Early Man Site”
near Barstow. During this project, she had the esteemed
privilege of working under the direction of Dr. Louis
Leakey, renowned archaeologist and paleontologist.
More recently, Thelma was a charter member
and former director of the Three Rivers Historical
In 1984, Thelma was preceded in death by her husband
of 49 years, Chet. She was also preceded in death
by her two younger sisters, Dorothy and Lois.
She is survived by her son John “Rusty”
Crain and wife Pat of Three Rivers; daughter Connie
Tong and husband George of Walnut Creek; four grandchildren,
Holly Peltzer, who is the fifth generation of the
Alles family to reside in Three Rivers, LeeAnne Crain
of Oklahoma, Dan Tong, and Laurie Fenner; four great-grandchildren,
Chris Tong and Jennifer, Jim, and Andy Fenner; niece
Carol McGrew of Three Rivers; and nephews Paul Boley
and Hal Boley, both of Three Rivers.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in
Thelma’s name may be made to the Three Rivers
Historical Society (P.O. Box 162, Three Rivers, CA
93271), Sierra Traditional Jazz Club (P.O. Box 712,
Three Rivers, CA 93271), or to a charity of the donor’s