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In the News - Friday, May 4, 2012

This week's front page



NPS asks court

to allow packing permits

  The National Park Service has requested that the U.S. District Court allow Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to issue pack stock operations permits in its wilderness areas effective immediately. The request is part of an ongoing effort by the NPS to resolve the 2009 lawsuit alleging that the parks’ 2007 General Management Plan is in violation of the NPS Organic Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Wilderness Act that regulates commercial pack stock use.
   The NPS request comes on the heels of a congressional bill that seeks to furnish a two-year stay that would allow commercial packers to operate business as usual while the court case is being resolved. The bill, H.R. 4849, thanks to a bipartisan agreement, sped through the House last week and is currently being considered by the Senate.
   The federal court ruling handed down by Judge Richard Seeborg on January 24, 2012, directed that the NPS does not have the authority to issue commercial use authorizations (permits) for pack stock operations in the parks’ wilderness pending completion of a separate ruling on remedy of the violation.
   A court hearing to determine a remedy and to consider the recent NPS request is scheduled for May 23 in San Francisco. Specifically, the High Sierra Hikers Association’s suit seeks to reduce by 20 percent from the 2007 levels the number of pack trips allowed into the parks’ wilderness areas and prohibit grazing of stock in wilderness meadows above 9,700 feet.
   Additionally, a spokesperson for the hikers’ group said the court should order the NPS to ban the hauling by stock of “unnecessary items” into wilderness areas. Such items, a statement read, includes “tables, chairs, ice chests, and amplified sound players.”
   While there is no guarantee that the court will allow continued commercial pack stock use in the local parks, the NPS has notified commercial outfitters that applications for annual permits for 2012 are being accepted in advance of the court’s ruling. It is hoped this will help the packers and the NPS expedite the permits pending the outcome of the court’s ruling.
  “We truly understand and regret the uncertainty of this situation on everyone and every business involved,” said Karen Taylor-Goodrich, superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “This is a legal matter under required judicial process, not an independent decision by the National Park Service. We are respecting the court’s earlier ruling and are doing everything within our power to seek relief as soon as possible.”

Edison river access on

Town Meeting agenda

  The Three Rivers Town Hall meeting returns Monday, May 7, and promises some lively discussion on an array of topics. In keeping with his promise to make county staff accessible, Supervisor Allen Ishida has asked key county employees to update their activities as tax collector (Rita Woodard), tourism manager (Eric Coyne), and Resource Management Agency planner (Henry Dong).
   Dong will focus on commercial whitewater rafting and furnish a report on how the county’s Kaweah River rafting ordinance has worked since it was implemented in 1995. Conditions have been ideal for whitewater rafting in the past two weeks though the current season, because of lack of snowmelt and runoff, will be an abbreviated one.
   But the hot button topic on the evening’s agenda is expected to be a presentation by Jim Kennard, SCE manager of the Kaweah-Tule hydroelectric generating facilities. Kennard will address the company’s access policy for the upcoming season at the popular swimming hole on Kaweah River Drive adjacent to Powerhouse No. 2.
   In the past, the company has found its policy to allow public access at odds with neighbors who have to deal with parking problems, litter, excessive partying, fire danger, and trespassers. In an attempt to control the excessive uses at the swimming hole at Powerhouse No. 2 (also known as Edison Beach), company officials closed the area last summer during the peak holiday weekends.
   Kennard said that policy has curbed some of the abuses and appeased neighbors to a degree but problems have persisted. The company (SCE), he said, wants to continue to furnish recreation but also wants to be a good neighbor.
   Supervisor Allen Ishida has suggested that the county would support closing the area permanently. Locals who have been using the area for many years say that’s simply not fair to the majority who behave themselves, routinely pick up trash, and educate the visitors who ignore the rules.
   Unfortunately, no matter what the outcome of SCE’s decision there will be repercussions. If the Edison swimming hole is closed those users are likely to go elsewhere and other locales like Airport Bridge, Slicky, and the BLM sites on the North Fork (now closed to parking) will have more users and compound existing problems at those places.
   The fact remains that many of these users are not locals but are Tulare County residents who come to Three Rivers looking for places to access the river. Supervisor Ishida acknowledges county responsibility to furnish recreation for Tulare County residents but he says there is no money to acquire or maintain any local parks.
   There will also be updates on other topics including negotiations with Caltrans by the Three Rivers Village Foundation to develop a crosswalk and left-turn pocket at the Three Rivers Post Office. Mignon Gregg is spearheading that effort and is seeking signed petitions at the town meeting to help expedite the state highway work to make the Village Market area safer for motorists, pedestrians, and bike riders.
   Supervisor Ishida has pledged some Measure R county sales tax funds to help with the improvements.
  “The project will include a walkway from Comfort Inn to the Village Market center, enhanced signage, and speed indicators in both directions that should help to slow down traffic,” Gregg reported. “Caltrans wants the signed petitions to demonstrate community support for the project and our deadline is June 1.”
   The monthly Town Hall meetings are held the first Monday of each month (except July and August) at the Three Rivers Memorial Building from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The meetings are conducted and sponsored by the Three Rivers Village Foundation.
   For information, call Marge Ewen at 561-1234.

Lightning knocks out cell service

  Anyone who witnessed the incredible lightning storm during the evening of April 25 needn’t wonder why the AT&T cell service was knocked out. Apparently, a lightning strike made a direct hit on the cell provider’s installation on Case Mountain.
   What local cell phone users were wondering though was when the AT&T service would be restored. According to a company spokesperson, that question was problematic because, not only were electrical circuits literally “fried” by a jolt of electricity estimated at 800,000 volts, heavy downpours also washed out chunks of the road to the Case Mountain relay station situated at 6,800 feet.
  “We [the company] ordered the replacement parts right away but then ran into the weekend, which delayed the installation a couple more days,” said Moises Garza, an AT&T engineer who lives in Three Rivers. “The service was restored on Tuesday (May 1) even though some best estimates were that it might take a few days longer.”

Snow totals reveal low water content

  Data released on Tuesday, May 1, came as no surprise to weather watchers who wondered what’s going on with this season’s less- than-normal snowpack. In Three Rivers, the nearby mountains are telling the same story as to the current conditions up and down the Sierra Nevada range.
   What little snowpack that’s left is melting rapidly, and in places like the Mineral King valley at 8,000 feet the snow is virtually gone. That’s good news for all those folks wanting to get into Mineral King for the traditional opening on May 25, the start of the three- day Memorial Day weekend.
   The National Park Service, which must consider the weather and how much snow and debris remain on the Mineral King Road, announced this week that the gates will be unlocked at noon on Thursday, May 24.
   The Atwell Mill Campground will also open Thursday, May 24. The Mineral King Ranger Station will open for the season on Friday, May 25, The Cold Spring Campground in the Mineral King valley will open Friday, June 1.
   Statewide snow water content is 40 percent of normal, according to the May 1 snow survey results. Portions of the Kaweah drainage contain about nine inches of water content, the majority of which will continue to run off as temperatures warm.
   Currently trails are reportedly snow-free up to about 8,500 feet elevation. Plan on hitting snowline at about the 9,000-foot level, especially on the north slopes, but even that won’t last long as temperatures are forecast to warm next week.
   Reservoir storage throughout California currently averages about 85 percent of capacity so that will help mitigate the impacts of the dry year. Another dry year in 2013 could spell disaster.
   In Three Rivers, the 17 inches of rainfall is approximately 72 percent of the norm. Most well-water users should not experience any supply problems with the exception of some river wells that have intakes at or near the surface.
   The current storage at Lake Kaweah as of Thursday, May 3, was 138,725 acre feet or 75 percent of capacity. Although there are some planned releases in the immediate future, more facilities will be inundated as the lake’s level rises gradually, coinciding with Lake Kaweah’s gala 50-year anniversary celebration planned for May 18 and 19.

Coca-Cola delivery truck

wrecks on Generals Highway

  Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks emergency personnel responded to a report of a Coca-Cola delivery truck that rolled off the Generals Highway and crashed into a rock. The Thursday, April 26, accident occurred just north of Cabin Creek, approximately a half-mile south of Lost Grove.
   The driver, who was not badly injured, told an investigating park ranger that he hit the road’s edge then careened off the roadway and collided with a tree. The contents of the trailer portion of the rig did not break or spill though the truck cab had major damage.
   In order to clear the accident scene, the Generals Highway between the parks was closed at 1 p.m.; the highway reopened at 5:30 p.m. On this day at least, things did not go better with Coke.

All in the family

(photo caption)

  U.S. Coast Guard Ensign Matthew E. Pinhey (left) of Three Rivers received his Officer’s Commission on Saturday, April 28, at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo. Matt is the grandson of Ned and Dee Pinhey, longtime Three Rivers residents. He is the son of Sea Captain Steven and Susan Pinhey, who live aboard their ketch, Loose Change, in the Caribbean.

  Both of Matt’s grandfathers, retired Chief Master Sergeant Joseph Vaillant (center) of Haines City, Fla., and U.S. Navy veteran Ned Pinhey (right) took part in the ceremony, fastening officer’s boards and changing hats following Matt’s oath of office. The new ensign received his first salute from his father, a retired sergeant.

  Matt attended Three Rivers School and was home-schooled aboard Loose Change. In 2005, he came ashore to live with his grandparents, Ned and Dee, to continue his education. He graduated from College of the Sequoias before transferring to Cal Maritime in Vallejo.

  Matt graduated magna cum laude and was Cadet Captain for the U.S. Coast Guard unit at Cal Maritime. He was presented with the U.S. Coast Guard Leadership and Outstanding U.S. Coast Guard Cadet awards. Ensign Pinhey is also licensed as a Third Mate, any ocean, any tonnage.

  During Matt’s training in the U.S. Coast Guard Pre-Commissioning Program, he made four equator crossings at sea and served from Alaska to Chile, New Zealand, Australia, and Pago Pago. Matt will be stationed in New London, Conn., for further training, then will report for duty to the ice breaker, Polar Star, on which he will most likely see duty at both poles. The Star’s home port is Seattle.

It takes a village...

(photo caption)

  First 5 Tulare County distributed its 2012 “Hands-On Heroes” awards to individuals and organizations for their dedication to children from birth to age five at a banquet on Thursday, April 26, at the Holiday Inn in Visalia. Heidi Schumacher (center) of Three Rivers was nominated for her volunteer work at Our Place Playground, a hangout for preschoolers and the local hub for educational programs that Heidi is instrumental in planning. Also intimately involved with playground activities is the Three Rivers Community Services District, which administers the playground’s operation and maintenance, and the Three Rivers Woman’s Club, which provides annual funding. From left to right: Robert Groeber, CSD board member; Cindy Howell, CSD general manager; Angela Clary, preschooler parent; Heidi Schumacher, honoree; Ann Huber, preschooler parent, and Ginni Lippire, Three Rivers Woman’s Club president, and husband, Pete Lippire.

Woodlake Western Week takes to the streets

  Each year during the seven or so days preceding the Woodlake Rodeo, the residents of Woodlake celebrate their ranching heritage with a Western Week full of activities sponsored by local service groups and businesses.
   All events are open to the public. Here is this year’s schedule:

   6 P.M., WHS Foundation Fundraiser (Woodlake Memorial Building, 355 N. Acacia)— Dinner, auction, and more. Proceeds benefit Woodlake High School students, facilities, and programs. Tickets: $50. Information/tickets: 564-2334.

   8 A.M.-2 P.M., Young Eagles Program (Woodlake Airport)— Free flights for youth 8 to 17 years old by the Woodlake Flying Tigers. Registration required: 798-0717.
   10 A.M.-2 P.M., Family HealthCare Network Pre-Grand Opening and Health Fair (240 Lemona St., Woodlake)— Music, raffle, refreshments, health screenings, and more. Information: 909-4202.
   10 A.M., Firemen’s Muster (City Park)— Competition with Woodlake Volunteer Firefighters. Information: 564-2181.
   NOON-10 P.M., Cinco de Mayo Celebration (City Park)— Live performances, folkloric dancers, food booths, music, vendors, and more. Street Dance begins at 6 P.M.

   NOON-10 P.M., Cinco de Mayo: The Encore (City Park)— Live performances, food booths, vendors, crafts. Street Dance begins at 7 P.M.

   4-6 P.M., Bicycle Safety Rally (City Park)— Sponsored by Friday Night Live.

   9 A.M.-2 P.M., Go Directly to Jail Day (in front of Valley Business Bank, 232 N. Valencia)— Order warrants on your best friend or your worst enemy at least one day in advance. Bail is $25 (proceeds benefit Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce). Information: 564-3559.
   4-8 P.M., Woodlake Schools Staff Volleyball Games (WHS Event Center)— FJ White vs. Castle Rock; Woodlake Middle School vs. Woodlake High School. After the second game (approximately 6 P.M.), barbecued hamburgers, beans, chips, cookies, drink available for $7 (proceeds benefit Woodlake Club Volleyball). The evening concludes with the championship playoff game. Games organized by Woodlake High School Volleyball. Information: 731-3889.

   5-7 P.M., Beef Dinner (Community Center, 179 N. Magnolia, across from City Park)— Proceeds help send kids to Calvin Crest, a summer Christian camp. Sponsored by Presbyterian Church of Woodlake. Information: 564- 3377.
   5:30-8:30 P.M., Soap Box Derby (corner of Valencia and Lakeview, next to post office)— Sponsored by Kiwanis of Woodlake. Information: 564-2485.

   5:30-8 P.M., YMCA Family Carnival (City Park)— Games, food, and more. Sponsored by Woodlake YMCA. Information: 564-7114.

   5-8 P.M., Sidewalk Sale (along the two blocks between Naranjo and Lakeview). Businesses will be showing off what they have to offer along with special sales, samples, prizes, and more. Sponsored by Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce.

   ALL DAY, Woodlake Mail Carriers Food Drive— Woodlake postal patrons may leave food by their mailboxes for collection. Information: 564-2564.
   6:30-9 A.M., Roundup for Hunger 5K Run and 2-Mile Walk (Bravo Lake)— All registrants receive free pancake breakfast; first 100 registrants receive T-shirt. Entry fee: $25. Proceeds benefit Woodlake Food Pantry. Information: 564-2485.
   7-10 A.M., All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast (245 N. Valencia Blvd.; in the parking lot across from the bank)— $6, adults; $3, children under 13. Sponsored by the Kiwanis of Woodlake.
   10 A.M., Woodlake Lions Rodeo Parade (Valencia Boulevard between Naranjo and Whitney)— Floats, performers, and special appearances by the 2012 Grand Marshal (Frances Ortiz, Woodlake City Councilwoman) and Rodeo Queen (to be announced). Sponsored by the Woodlake Lions Club.
   11 A.M.-4:30 P.M., Woodlake Rodeo (Woodlake Lions Rodeo Ranch, Elderwood)— Gates open early for the annual Deep-pit Barbecue. 11:30 A.M.: California Junior Cowboys Association exhibition. 1:30 P.M.: Rodeo begins. Sponsored by the Woodlake Lions Club.
   6:30 P.M.-MIDNIGHT, Woodlake Lions Rodeo Dance (Woodlake Lions Rodeo Ranch, Elderwood)— Must be 21 years or older. Admission: $10.

   11 A.M.-4:30 P.M., Woodlake Rodeo (Woodlake Lions Rodeo Ranch, Elderwood)— Gates open early for the annual Deep-pit Barbecue. 11:30 A.M.: California Junior Cowboys Association exhibition. 1:30 P.M.: Rodeo begins. Sponsored by the Woodlake Lions Club.

Meet the 2012 Rodeo Queen contestants

(photo caption)

  A Three Rivers high school student, Meg Johnson, is in the running for 2012 Woodlake Rodeo Queen. There have only been two Rodeo queens from Three Rivers in the contest's 64-year history: Barbara Brewer (Ainley) was crowned the first-ever queen and Julie Johnson (Hawes) was the presiding royalty in 1982. This year’s contestants and last year’s Rodeo Queen are: Jordyn White, Hollie Albright, Meg Johnson, 2011 Rodeo Queen Justine Day, Matlyn Mata and Sonnie Shew.


Spring cleaning -

'What's good for homes is good for our bodies'

by Charlene Vartanian

  Spring cleaning. It’s that time of year when beautiful weather and fresh breezes beckon us outside. We naturally throw open our windows, welcoming the flow of fresh air. 
Washing blankets, rearranging furniture, clearing clutter, inviting fresh life to activate and stimulate after the indoor-living of winter.
  What’s good for our homes is also good for our bodies. Breathing fresh air, eating spring greens, and drinking plenty of clean drinking water all help to detox and cleanse at this time of year. 
   Encouraging the release of toxins and cleansing our internal body systems clears the channels of our bodies activating and energizing the flow of life within us. Our blood flows freely, our organs flush, our lungs refresh, our skin exfoliates, our mind clears. 
   There are many benefits to a spring cleaning. What can you do to help your mind, body and spirit refresh today? 
   A simple intention to engage with the energy of spring may encourage an idea to reveal itself to you. Activating our own body’s wisdom is a great way to embrace and enjoy this beautiful season.
   Charlene Vartanian, R.N., owns and operates CranioSacral Therapy in Three Rivers.


Lori Reisinger

1954 ~ 2012

  Lori Ann Reisinger of Three Rivers died Thursday night, April 26, 2012, in a Fresno hospital after a courageous six-year battle with cancer. She was 57.
   Lori was born November 28, 1954, in Glendale.
   Lori was preceded in death by her mother, Betty Burton, and “Grandma Memo” (Mary Boydston).
   She is survived by her husband, Dennis; two children, son Mark and daughter Amanda; four grandchildren, Shanti, Jacey, Caden, and Druva; four brothers, Darryll McCarther,   Bobby Burton, Jerry Burton, and Erv Burton; her father, Dan McCarther; and her many other family members and friends.
   A service will be held at a later date to be announced. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.evansmillerguinnchapel.com (click on “Obituaries,” scroll the alphabetical listing by last name, then log in to leave the family a message).

Dean Kesselring

1921 ~ 2012

  Everett Dean Kesselring of Three Rivers died Sunday, April 29, 2012, of heart complications at his Three Rivers home. He was 90.
   A service is scheduled for Saturday, May 5, 11 a.m., at First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.
   Dean was born November 6, 1921, in Parnell, Iowa, to Henry Marcus Kesselring and Alta Janet Kesselring. He was raised in Sharon Center, Iowa, and graduated from Iowa City High School.
   Dean served in the Army Air Corps during World War II from 1942 to 1945 as a flight engineer and a B17 turret gunner. As a result of his heroic service, Dean was awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight and five oak leaf clusters, which signify that Dean earned the Air Medal commendation an additional five times.
   On September 28, 1945, Dean married Joyce Ruth Siegling. He worked for the Simi Valley Parks and Recreation Department for 20 years. The Kesselrings moved to Three Rivers in 1989.
   Dean was a former Scout leader, a member of the Masons, and an avid gardener. He generously shared his compost with many Three Rivers gardeners.
   Dean was preceded in death by his son, Bruce, in 1968, and wife of 50 years, Ruth, in 1996.
   He is survived by his children, Chris and Al Park of Valdasta, Ga., Leo and Joy Niblett of Three Rivers, John and Sheryl Kesselring of Simi Valley, and Eric and Roma Kesselring of Ventura; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
   In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Comfort for Kids in Three Rivers.

Notice of services

  A memorial service will be held for Jim Howell, 91, today (Friday, May 4) at 11 a.m. at Quail Park Retirement Village, 4520 W. Cypress Ave., Visalia. Jim, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Sunday, April 29, 2012.
   A memorial service for Jack Robinson will be held Tuesday, May 8, 10 a.m., at Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia.

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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