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In the News - Friday, April 29, 2011


ATV rollover at Roping Arena results in fatality

  A 2008 Honda all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rollover at Lions Arena on Friday, April 22, injured the driver and resulted in the death of a passenger.
   The passenger, Adrianne Nicole Peterson, 19, of Visalia, suffered severe head trauma and was unconscious at the scene. She was later pronounced dead after being airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
   The preliminary CHP report stated that the driver, Tanner Brumley, 22, also of Visalia and the victim’s fiancé, lost control of the four-wheeler when he swerved to avoid some children who were playing nearby. Peterson was seated in front of Brumley on the gas tank.
   Both the driver and the passenger were ejected. According to the CHP report, the ATV landed partially on top of Peterson.
   Brumley also suffered injuries in the crash and was transported to Kaweah Delta Hospital. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash but there were conflicting reports as to how fast the ATV was going.
   Neither of the riders was wearing a helmet. The California vehicle code that requires wearing a helmet is not applicable when the vehicle is being operated on private property.
   According to CHP spokesperson Officer Chris Wright, mitigating circumstances like the private property issue will make this investigation a complicated one.
  “There was obviously negligence in this case but it will be difficult to file any charges because the accident occurred on private property,” Officer Wright said.

Child drowns in Tenmile Creek near Kings Canyon

  It was an all-too familiar scenario of visitors who were unaware of the extreme danger of this area’s waterways.
   For just a brief moment, a boy’s father left his 11-year-old son on a creekside embankment to help other family members negotiate a steep incline. When the father turned back around, the boy had vanished, apparently into the swift-moving waters of Tenmile Creek. There were slide marks leading to the water below.
   The creek flows out from Hume Lake and is located on Giant Sequoia National Monument land along Highway 180. It runs adjacent to a portion of the Yucca Point Trail that leads down to the confluence of the South and Middle forks of the Kings River.
   The family, who were on vacation from East Brunswick, N.J., reported the boy missing around 6 p.m. on Friday, April 22. After the initial call for help, there were as many as 50 Sheriff’s Department search-and-rescue (SAR) team members, aided from above by Eagle   One, a search helicopter, assigned to the search during the incident.
   By Sunday evening, searchers had located the boy’s shoes some 400 feet below where the victim had entered the water. SAR team members described the snow-melt swollen creek as Class 6 – the most extreme whitewater on a ratings scale of one to six.
   On Monday, April 25, the SAR team located and recovered the body of the victim near the locale where the shoes had been recovered. The Fresno County Coroner’s Office reported that the victim, Daniel Alexander Shaposhnikov, 11, had died due to blunt force head trauma.
   Daniel was a member of a state championship soccer team and according to his coach, Joe Camarota, his family were avid hikers.
  “It [hiking] was the family’s passion,” Camarota said. “They were a great family and always did things together.”

River warning 
   The residents of Three Rivers can’t stress enough how dangerous the local rivers are for unsuspecting visitors, especially during this time of year.
   There are signs posted at local businesses and along every trailhead warning of river dangers.
   During spring, the waterways are made up of melting snow, which creates a deadly combination of cold and fast-moving water. If a person falls in, they will most likely be immediately swept away, but will only survive a few minutes anyway due to the icy temperature.
   The rocks at river’s edge are water-polished and slippery and embankments are steep. Stay alive by enjoying the view from afar.

Runaway horse hit by truck

  A horse that ran off from the Lions Team Roping event was struck by a pickup in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, April 28. The accident occurred on Sierra Drive, just a few yards down-canyon from the office of THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH.
   The driver of the eastbound 1997 Ford F-150 was identified as Eric Staiines, 45, of Exeter. According to information gathered at the scene by CHP Officer Diebolt, the horse ran down an adjacent driveway and into the path of the oncoming vehicle.
   The driver was uninjured but the pickup was severely damaged. The horse suffered major injuries and was euthanized.

A good day to go to the dogs

by Brian Rothhammer

  Looking for a great way to spend a sunny Saturday? Look no farther than Woodlake for the first Assistance Service Dog Educational Center (ASDEC) Working Dog Expo at Twilight Park.
   This Saturday, you can find food, fun, and entertainment as the ASDEC of Woodlake provides a rare opportunity for the public to see some of their most amazing dogs as they are put through their paces. For $10 ($5 for ages 5-10; under age five is free), guests will receive a deep-pit barbecue lunch along with live music, rock climbing wall, fun booths, dog demonstrations, and more.
  “It’s a fundraiser to keep our program going,” said Donna Whittaker of ASDEC.
   The Woodlake training facility, located at the historic St. Johns School, partners with Woodlake High School to team students with untrained puppies. After two years of hard work and dedication, the lives and futures of students and dogs alike are changed forever.
   Donna related that nine of last year’s 10 graduate dogs were assigned to U.S. military veterans as assistants and companions to help with the processes of healing wounds of war that are not always readily visible. These dogs, and the deep bonds that they form with the veterans, have had extraordinary results. In addition to assistance with physical tasks, the level of mutual trust and understanding shared is like no other, she explained.
   The Expo’s main events will be demonstrations by actual working dogs — police dogs, agility dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and the ASDEC service and therapy dogs — as they and their dedicated trainers perform exercises that will both delight and inform. These canine defenders, first responders, and companions are seldom seen by the public as they work day after day to improve people’s lives.
   ASDEC will graduate eight service dogs this year, and seven of them will be there Saturday to meet and greet. The other dog has a scheduling conflict, being involved in the final phase of training, which involves two weeks of in-depth sessions with student trainer, dog, and veteran.
   There will also be a silent auction and raffle with tickets priced at 20 for $5. Prizes include a boy’s and a girl’s bike, and a 32-inch flat screen television.
   To get to Twilight Park, either go east on Ropes Avenue from Valencia or south on Blair Road two blocks from Naranjo.
   Tickets are available at Chump’s Video in Three Rivers, Woodlake High School, and Feed Depot (2703 E. Noble, Visalia) or call 564-7297.
   Bring the family and have a doggone good time, but please leave pets at home.

Roping Recap

And the winners are…

  Over the past several years, the Three Rivers Team Roping, hosted by the Three Rivers Lions Club, has been expanded from a three-day to a four-day event. These days, the first day of the Roping — Thursday — consists of the Open Roping and One-Over-40 events.
   According to Van Bailey of Three Rivers, former Roping chairman, an open roping draws professional team ropers who are in this area for the Clovis and Springville PRCA rodeos. So some of the ropers in Three Rivers can be National Finals Rodeo qualifiers who will be appearing on the televised event on ESPN in December. The Open Roping will also draw local ropers who take advantage of this opportunity to compete against the pros; it’s a litmus test for cowboys.
   Van reported that the award-winning team of Brent and Kyle Lockett from Ivanhoe competed in the event. Kyle has been dubbed by the press as the “King of Timed Events” for his winning ways.
  “Brent was sporting the buckle he won for the fastest time at the George Strait Roping Classic,” said Van.
   Also in Three Rivers for the Open was Bear Pascoe of Porterville, who, Van stated, “played tight-end and fullback for the New York Giants last year.”
   But none of these talented ropers won Thursday’s event. First place went to the team of John Chavez and Bert McGill, proving that anything can happen during this competition.
   Van mentioned he would like to see more families at these Thursday events since it was during Spring Break and admission is free to all events.
  “I’m betting some of these professionals would have taken the time to show some schoolkids how to throw a loop and sign some autographs,” he said.
                         * * *
   Tyra James and Ryan Eaton Jr. dominated the 5.5 3-Steer Roping on Saturday and Sunday, ultimately winning the 5.5 6-steer as well. Tyra took home the 3-and-Over ACTRA saddle for her efforts.
   Luis Huerta and Ron Garcia won the 8.5 3-Steer event Saturday and the 8.5 6-Steer on Sunday. They won the handcrafted Yellowhair buckles that the Three Rivers Lions have proudly presented to winners for over 30 years. Luis also won the 2.5-and-Under ACTRA saddle.
   Participation in the Roping events was up 15 percent overall from last year. Only the Mixed Roping had a decline in entries.
   The Craig Thorn III Memorial Calf Branding was won by Blaine Ketscher, Brent Lockett, Leroy Chico, and Brett Dodds.
   FOR THE KIDS-— Since this year’s Roping occurred during the Easter weekend, children were treated to an Easter egg hunt Sunday morning.
   Seventy-five children took to the arena for the annual Pig Scramble with pigs provided by Woodlake High School FFA. Brandon Huntington and Druva Reisinger won the 6-and-Under Pig Scramble. Tyler Kaiser and Rance Alivisio won in the 7-to-9 age group while Cole Frazier and Lacy Lowry were first to hang onto the pigs in the 10-to-12 category.

News of the Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute

Danielle Belen, virtuoso violinist,

to perform final concert in 2010-2011 series

By Bill Haxton

  DANIELLE BELEN is no stranger to Three Rivers. Since last June’s inaugural Center Stage Strings music camp, she’s visited so frequently and has had such a large impact on our community that it’s easy to believe she belongs here.
   Even so, very few of us have had the opportunity to hear her perform as a soloist. We’ve heard her briefly in small exhibitions or as part of a chamber ensemble, but not as a concert soloist, which is the only way to fully realize just what a magnificent virtuoso she is.
   When you read her artistic resumé, the story begins to emerge — first prize winner of the 2008 Sphinx Competition, soloist with many of America’s major orchestras including Pittsburgh, Atlanta, the Boston Pops, and the legendary Cleveland Orchestra, and performances with such legendary figures as Arnold Steinhardt of the Guaneri Quartet and Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio. But that isn’t the whole story.
   The path to this kind of accomplishment is not easy and not always direct. What the artistic resumé doesn’t reveal is the five-year-old girl first working a tiny bow across a one-eighth-size violin; so small it could be concealed in a handbag. It doesn’t address the tens of thousands of hours spent practicing, the painful cramps and sore fingertips, the permanent bruises that appear on the neck and the clavicle where the violin is pressed against the body.
   Nor does the artistic resumé chronicle the emotional roller coaster of competitions and auditions that don’t always turn out as hoped.
   For Danielle, there were a couple of major turning points in her life. When she was 14, she was selected as concertmaster of the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra. She loved orchestra playing, and because of that experience soon realized she’d be perfectly happy if the rest of her life revolved around violin.
   The next turning point occurred when she was 19 at the Encore School for Strings music camp. There, she had the first of many lessons from Professor Robert Lipsett, one of the foremost teachers of violin on earth; a living legend. Under his teaching, Danielle matured as a performer and developed the big, intimate, deeply emotive and prize-winning sound for which she is known today.
   That sound is helped along by her violin, a rare 1709 Alessandro Gagliano loaned to her from the Mandell Collection of Southern California. Gaglianos are not as well known as Stradivaris or Guarneris but they were made with extraordinary attention to the thickness of the wood and produce a huge, beautiful sound.
   Alessandro Gagliano came by his craft strangely. As a young man he apparently fought a duel, killed his opponent and was forced to escape Naples with the polizia hot on his heels.
He fled into the dense forest near Marighanetto Borgo, shook off the authorities and found a way to live among the trees not for a few days but for several months, gathering saws and hatchets and other survival tools. While there, he began testing the sonic qualities of the wood he cut for fires and shelter, scraping and tapping and listening for tone and resonance.
   Finally, word came to him that the police had dropped his case. Still, returning to Naples was risky, so he wandered north to Cremona and found his way into the workshop of Nicolo Amati, rightfully called the father of the modern violin. There Alessandro Gagliano joined Stradivari and Guarneri in Amati’s studio, all of them learning the violin-maker’s art from its foremost master.
   Gagliano returned to Naples in 1695. By then, no one remembered the duel. Gagliano set up his own violin workshop and 14 years later crafted the violin that is now played by Danielle Belen.


Ballet folklorico teaches dance and culture

By Yvonne Arroyo Sweeney

  Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda of Woodlake recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. And the 2010 season was the busiest ever.
   For the first time, the group participated in Visalia’s Candy Cane Lane parade, adding color and music to the float of the Latino Rotary of Tulare County. As director and instructor, I anticipate another busy season, as we have requests for shows from May through December.
   As the teacher at Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda in Woodlake, I provide instruction in Mexican folk dance to the youth of our communities and, in doing so, showcase the beauty of the Mexican culture.
   I strive to use only appropriate and authentic technical and theatrical movement and dress.
I take a team approach with the instruction, by trying to choose dances in which all the students can participate, rather than focusing on individual dancers. In keeping with the team approach, I encourage those with more dance experience to help their fellow dancers.
   My goals are to instill a sense of pride in the culture, emphasize teamwork and camaraderie, and de-emphasize competition.
   I also hope to accomplish these goals with minimal out-of-pocket expenses to the students. On this I will not compromise; it must be affordable.
   If students choose to pursue advanced levels of folklorico in the future, it is my hope they will have mastered the fundamentals of dance, allowing for an easier transition to new and more difficult material.
   I can’t help but wonder if the economy will have an affect on us. Free events like the festivals at which we perform may be sacrificed because of costs. Inexpensive family entertainment is hard to find, especially now.
   Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda is comprised of children ages four to 14 from throughout Tulare County. Rehearsals are held at the Woodlake YMCA on Monday evenings.
For more information, call me at 901-6240 or my partner, Venicia Cardenas, 736-1893.
   Yvonne Arroyo Sweeney is the founder of Ballet Folklorico Sierra Linda.


Karen Rice
1955 ~ 2011

  Karen Elinore Rice died Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at her Three Rivers home. She was 56.
   A memorial service will be held Sunday, May 1, 2 p.m., at the Rice home, 45493 South Fork Drive, Three Rivers.
   Karen’s life would seem too short to many, but those who were touched by her understand that her struggle with severe pain is now at rest. Her final days were spent at her South Fork home, surrounded by family and close friends.
   Karen was born March 24, 1955, in Riverside to Richard Tafel and Edith Rogers. She attended Ramona High School in Riverside and College of the Sequoias in Visalia.
   Karen moved to Visalia in 1980 and was working as a respiratory therapist at Kaweah Delta Hospital when she met AJ Rice, M.D., of Three Rivers during one of his hospital shifts.   Karen began working in AJ’s Three Rivers practice and soon was attending classes at U.C. Davis, where she obtained her physician’s assistant license.
   On June 12, 1982, Karen married that Three Rivers doctor. For their honeymoon, the couple took a backpacking trip from Atwell Mill in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park through Hockett Meadows, returning via Garfield Grove to the Cinnamon Canyon section of the South Fork where they made their home and continued to reside nearly 30 years later.
   Karen and AJ have been the foremost proponents of homeopathy in the Central Valley and incorporated it into their medical practice. In addition, Karen was extremely popular with her patients and instrumental in bringing hospice care to Three Rivers.
  “People would just get better being around her,” said her husband in an interview last year.
   In 2002, Karen retired from her career after 20 years in order to spend more time with her son, Shay.
   During Shay’s years at Three Rivers School, Karen was a regular classroom volunteer. In addition, she served as PTA president during the 1998-99 school year.
   Karen is survived by her husband of 28 years, AJ; her son, Shay Allan Rice of San Diego; stepdaughter Leigh Rice; mother Edith Rogers; brother Rick Tafel; and sister Deb Tafel.
   In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to KARM, a nonprofit, non-commercial radio station that was Karen’s favorite (www.karm.com; click on “GIVE” in the upper right-hand corner).

Daniel Reese
1920 ~ 2011

   Daniel Reese, a former resident of Three Rivers, passed away peacefully in Oakdale, surrounded by family and friends, on Saturday, April 16, 2011. He was 90.
   Dan was born June 12, 1920, in Visalia to Daniel and Nellie (Bennett) Reese. He was a highly respected cattle-buyer for over 60 years. He worked for O’Neill Beef, then many years for Harris Ranch. He retired in 1994.
   Dan was a longtime resident of Three Rivers before relocating to Oakdale. He was a member of the Three Rivers Lions Club and the Three Rivers Golf Club (and one of his favorite memories was when he made a hole-in-one on the course).
   Dan loved life, his family, rodeos, riding in the hills, and playing golf. At the age of 80, Dan’s physical activities were curtailed after being thrown from a horse, but his zest for life never waned.
   Dan was preceded in death by his first wife Imogene and, in 1990, his second wife Joyce (Dan and Joyce made lasting friendships while living in Three Rivers).
   Dan is survived by his wife of 17 years, Barbara; his three children, Spike Reese and wife Karen, Blair Reese and wife Terri, and Kathryn Bernard; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; one great-great-granddaughter; and his cousin Linda Wise of Visalia.
   On April 21, services were held at the Oakdale Memorial Chapel and Oakdale Memorial Park Cemetery. A celebration of life was held immediately following at the Oakdale Saddle Club.

Blanket Policy (photo caption)

  The Comfort for Kids volunteers proudly displays the 2,000th quilt completed during the 2011 season (January through April). Actually, 2,050 quilts, a single season record, were created and delivered to the young patients at Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera County. Since the program was started in 1997 by Jack and Joyce Nielsen of Three Rivers, nearly 20,000 quilts have been created by this all-volunteer group. To donate, or to get involved during the next season, call the Nielsens at 561-3577.

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
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
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