the News - Friday, May 8, 2009
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
EASY TO see why Mormon settlers referred to the yucca
as “The Lord’s Candle.” The tall,
showy blooms are currently resplendent in various
shapes and forms just above the park headquarters
at Ash Mountain. Soon they will truly light up the
hillsides on both sides of the Kaweah canyon as they
reach peak bloom, attaining heights of 10 to 20 feet.
Lake Kaweah is crime scene
When it comes to petty crime, Lake Kaweah
park rangers have just about seen it all. The remote
location, especially at night, has numerous areas
that invite criminal activity.
On the morning of Wednesday, April 29,
shortly after sunrise, a lake employee discovered
the burned-out hulk of an automobile at Kaweah Recreation
Area No. 2. Apparently, the barely recognizable Chevy
Cobalt was stolen in Visalia and ditched near the
After a joyride, it’s not uncommon
for the thief or thieves to torch the vehicle in an
attempt to destroy any evidence that might be obtained
from the scene.
A CHP officer was summoned and filed
the standard accident report. Anyone who might have
seen something suspicious that morning is asked to
call the Visalia CHP at 733-6767.
In a separate incident, a thief broke
into the construction trailer in the parking area
of the new boat ramp east of the entrance to Slick
Rock. A number of tools, including a new leaf blower
and construction materials worth several thousand
dollars, were stolen in the heist.
The break-in occurred sometime late Saturday night
or early Sunday morning, May 2 to 3. According to
a report filed by Valerie McKay, park ranger, the
hasp with the lock still locked was ripped off and
tossed away nearby.
On Wednesday, May 6, a Lake Kaweah visitor
was parked alongside the road near Horse Creek. He
told a sheriff’s deputy that while he was away
from the vehicle someone broke in and removed a laptop
computer and XM satellite radio receiver. The police
report estimated the loss to be $1,100.
Park rangers are reminding all visitors
to always use caution and be extra vigilant in the
busy summer season. If you have information in these
break-ins or to report suspicious activity at Lake
Kaweah, call 597-2301.
Weekend forecast is sunny and
On Saturday, May 9, temperatures, for
the first time in the past two weeks, will climb into
the lower 90s in the Central Valley and Sierra foothills
areas of Tulare County. More seasonal mid-80 degree
readings should return by the start of the work week
and the warm, breezy weather will continue throughout
the next seven days.
The refreshing gully washer of Friday,
May 1, dropped .65 of an inch of precipitation in
Three Rivers, bringing the current season total to
15.60 inches of rainfall. That total approximates
last year’s total of 18.42 inches; the final
rainfall event of the 2007-2008 season (prior to July
1) occurred on May 25.
Cal Fire officials are already planning
for lots of activity in the 2009 season. Fires whipped
by fierce dry winds are currently burning in Santa
Barbara consuming tinder dry brush and an unknown
number of homes because smoke was so thick that as
of Thursday, May 7, it wasn’t possible in some
locales to get an accurate count.
“The way we received the precipitation this
year the vegetation is still tall and dense and now
it’s rapidly drying out,” said a local
firefighter. “These conditions are creating
an extremely hazardous situation all over California.”
No precipitation is in the 10-day forecast.
Mountain snow is melting fast and the river is rising,
cold, and dangerously swift.
Town Meeting addresses local,
Regular attendees of the monthly Town
Hall sponsored by the Three Rivers Village Foundation
have known for some time they can count on learning
about a variety of topics. Last Monday night’s
forum at the Three Rivers Memorial Building was no
The agenda featured an array of topics
from fire safety to septic system maintenance tips.
Lt. Dave Galloway of the Tulare County Sheriff’s
Department was first among a procession of speakers.
Lt. Galloway reminded the audience that
this is river rafting season and there is the usual
group of rafting companies that are licensed to operate
on the Kaweah River. With more river use comes an
annual rise in crime so more deputies will be assigned
to patrol throughout the busy summer season.
Arlin Talley, who spoke on behalf of
the local chamber of commerce, said the group has
a new slate of officers. He also said that Lake Kaweah
is planning a grand opening for the Slick Rock boat
ramp in the next couple of weeks.
Deb Schweizer, fire education specialist,
spoke for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
In addition to her announcement that the park planned
17 prescribed burns this season, she introduced Kevin
Hendricks, the new chief ranger, who assumed the duties
of J.D. Swed. Ranger Swed retired at the end of last
Supervisor Allen Ishida said that an
Oak Preservation Plan is currently being drafted by
county planners. A discussion item on the project
is scheduled to be part of the next Planning Commission
meeting on Wednesday, May 13.
Supervisor Ishida also reported that
the expansion of the county’s new ag museum
is moving forward. The focus of the new exhibit and
research center is the history of agricultural laborers
in Tulare County.
Next up was a panel of fire experts including
Kaweah Battalion chief Robin Peretto of Cal Fire and
Tulare County Fire Chief Steve Sunderland. Chief Peretto
said Cal Fire has developed a sample vegetation patch
near Highway 190 that helps determine when seasonal
vegetation becomes volatile fuel.
Though the announcement was low-key,
he said, no more hazard-reduction burning will be
permitted in the current season effective May 1. The
official onset of fire season is just around the corner
and the foothills face some serious risk in the already
Tulare County Fire Department officials said that
local fire insurance requirements may exceed state
regulations, apparently part of the added cost of
living in a wildland fire interface zone. There is
also a fundraiser being planned to raise money to
restore a fire engine/ water tender.
Among the more useful information presented
was a list of septic system maintenance tips. The
tips were presented by Carole Clum during her Earth
Day 2009 summary and included what to and what not
to do to keep septic systems doing what they were
designed to do.
A complete list of the tips is available at the Community
Services District office or online at: www.3riverscsd.com/print/know_septic.pdf.
The next Town Hall is tentatively scheduled
for Monday, June 8.
Auction to benefit Presbyterian
Community Presbyterian Church in Three
Rivers is holding a fundraising auction on Sunday,
May 17, beginning at noon. Along with great bargains
on pre-owned treasures, there will also be a complimentary
salad luncheon that is open to everyone.
“We would like to invite the community to come
as our guests,” said Marilyn Sparks, an organizer
of the event. “We are seeking donations of pre-owned
furniture, quality children’s toys, all saleable
items except for clothing.”
Items may be delivered to the church
or, if necessary, call Marilyn at 561-0406 to arrange
to have them picked up. This is an opportunity to
clear out some no-longer-needed stuff while contributing
to a good cause.
A wide variety of items already donated
for the auction include a piano, two adult bicycles,
weed-eater, massage chair, desk and chair, food processor,
juicer (used only twice), and more.
Following the auction will be a bake
sale, beginning with proceeds going toward a trip
for Pastor Arlin Talley and his wife Carolyn to travel
to Oberammergau in the Bavarian Alps next year to
attend the world-famous passion play that is only
held every 10 years, a tradition dating back to the
Community Presbyterian Church traces
its origins to Christina Alles, known to all as “Grandma
Alles.” Born in Germany in 1842, she came to
Kaweah Country with her husband Conrad in 1887. Grandma
Alles began teaching Sunday School at her home in
the 1890s. It was from that seed that the present
The school prospered under the leadership
of Mrs. W.G. (Bunny) Attwell in the 1930s. In 1939,
the church was organized by the Presbytery of San
Joaquin with 45 communicant members. Plans to build
a permanent church building began.
Dan and Margaret Alles and their son-in-law
and daughter, Dolph and Beulah Beam, donated the building
site on a beautiful knoll, and W.T. Wees donated the
wood hewn on his land at Silver City and paid for
all the hardware. On November 2, 1941, the new building
was dedicated with the Reverend John Buchholz as pastor.
Community Presbyterian Church is located
at 43410 Sierra Drive, on the hill next to We Three
Bakery. That’s the place to be on Sunday, May
17, at noon for bargains, food, and fellowship.
Lions crown Rodeo Queen 2009,
Jennifer Murphy had her coronation as
2009 Woodlake Rodeo Queen on Saturday, May 2. Just
four days later, after working her two jobs (one as
a horseback riding instructor), she competed in the
annual Western Week soap box derby against Mindy Garrison,
the 2008 Queen. Queen Mindy, drawing on last year’s
experience, won by a nose.
“She beat me by less than two feet,” said
Jennifer. “I’m asking for a rematch! She
had the car all scoped out… and picked the best
There was a giggle beneath the defiance.
The reigning queen has known Mindy for years on the
gymkhana circuit (timed equestrian games for aspiring
rodeo competitors) and the good-natured rivalry goes
with the territory. It is territory that Jennifer
Murphy knows well.
Born in 1984 in Oakdale, a place Jennifer
proclaims as the “cowboy capital of the world.”
Jennifer grew up around horses. She has been competing
in equestrian events since age five.
Since then, she has lived the cowboy-girl
lifestyle. An exceptional student she graduated Exeter
Union High with a 3.8 grade point average before accepting
a scholarship from CSU Stanislaus in Turlock. Then
it was off to Washington for more college classes.
“Horse people there are more into show, not
rodeo,” Jennifer said of Washington, and though
she met good people and made lots of friends, she
described those folks “as not quite rodeo people.”
This newly crowned rodeo queen was glad,
she said, to be back among friends and family upon
returning to Tulare County. She is currently a sophomore
at College of the Sequoias.
While amassing an impressive list of
scholastic achievements, she has also led the field
in several equestrian events. Her achievements range
from California High School Rodeo Association State
(CHSRA) finals qualifier 1999-2002, CHSRA District
6 Rodeo Queen 2000-2001, Short Go Qualifier, Pole
Bending Champion… and the list goes on.
Jennifer’s community involvement
credentials include Special Needs Rodeo Volunteer,
Royal Express Youth Drill Team Captain, and her favorite,
the Springville Mounted Drill Team, which she has
coached for three years.
“It’s the most fun you can have on horseback.”
said the Queen, referring to the Drill Team. “Barrel
racing (another passion) is a complete rush, but drill
is the real team sport in rodeo.”
So what does being rodeo queen mean to
“Being a role model, rodeo queens have all the
attributes that a young lady should have,” Jennifer
Poise and grace are among her best assets.
“I’m a little old fashioned,” she
added. “My lifelong goal has always been to
be a mom.”
Old fashioned with a plan.
“Raising good kids is the most important job
any person could have,” said Jennifer.
This 2009 rodeo queen sees a future in
which she manages marriage, motherhood, continues
her equestrian business and, of course, continuing
to be a good role model and mentor.
Grand Marshal 2009—
Grand Marshal Ernesteen Ferry is no stranger to poise
and grace. Born in Texas in 1921, “Steen,”
as she is known to friends and family, followed her
sister to Bakersfield during World War II. It was
there, while Steen was working at a Lockheed aircraft
plant that she met William “Bill” Ferry.
The sisters, who had family in Strathmore,
had been properly introduced to Mr. Ferry, who often
visited his folks in Woodlake. During shared, gasoline-rationed
travels, a romance blossomed between Bill and Steen.
They were married on VJ Day — August 15, 1945.
In 1947, the Ferrys moved to the Elderwood
area of Woodlake and set about raising a family and
growing citrus. Bill Ferry played a large part in
starting the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
(PRCA) event in Woodlake and took an active annual
Bill and Steen raised three children,
two of which are still active rodeo boosters. She
also is a proud grandmother of six and great-grandmother
When Bill passed on in December 2007,
Steen set herself to live each day as healthy and
happy as they had while they were together. Ernesteen
Ferry is a deserving honoree, according to members
of her beloved community, and epitomizes the true
spirit of Woodlake as the Grand Marshal of the Woodlake
Steen will reign over the Woodlake Rodeo
Parade, which will be held Saturday, May 9, at 10
Bisphenol-A, or BPA for short, is used
to make hard, clear, lightweight polycarbonate plastic
— as in those virtually indestructible water
bottles favored by hikers (not the disposable ones)
and many baby bottles and sippy cups. It’s also
found in the lining of most food and beverage cans.
Trace amounts can migrate into foods
and beverages, especially when the plastic gets hot.
BPA has been used commercially since the 1950s and
exposure to it is widespread in developed countries.
A large study last year by CDC researchers
found that 93 percent of people tested had the chemical
in their urine — with higher amounts seen in
women and children. Though much of this BPA comes
from food and drink containers, other potential sources
include dust, water, and soil.
Numerous lab and animal studies have
shown that BPA exposure in early life, even at low
doses, causes cell and tissue changes that may have
long-term consequences, such as early puberty, behavior
problems, breast and prostate cancer, altered immune
function, and metabolic problems. New lab research
also suggests that BPA can interfere with chemotherapy
But studies in people are limited, and
what happens in animals and test tubes may not happen
in humans. The potential risk for adults is particularly
Still, in a large new study in the Journal
of the American Medical Association — the largest
human study to date — high levels of BPA in
urine were associated with heart disease, Type 2 diabetes,
and abnormal liver enzymes — though this does
not prove that BPA is the cause.
Though the final word on BPA is still
being debated, limiting exposure makes sense, especially
for young children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
—Instead of polycarbonate plastic water bottles,
baby bottles, or sippy cups, use glass, stainless
steel, or aluminum bottles. The recycle number “7”
in a triangle on the bottom often indicates that the
plastic contains BPA, but not always. To know for
sure, check with the manufacturer.
—Or look for other plastics. Nalgene, Camelback,
and some other sports-bottle makers are switching
to plastics, such as co-polyester, that do not contain
BPA. It’s hoped that these substitutes are safer,
though little is actually known about them. Increasingly,
baby bottles and sippy cups are being made with other,
presumably safer, plastics.
—If you do use polycarbonate bottles, don’t
put hot liquids in them. Heating the plastic greatly
increases the release of BPA into fluids subsequently
stored in it. For instance, after being filled with
boiling water, polycarbonate bottles released as much
as 55 times more BPA, according to a 2008 study from
the University of Cincinnati. Wash such bottles by
hand with mild detergents and warm (not hot) water,
and never put them in the dishwasher. Keep them out
of heat or sunlight (don’t store them in a car),
and discard (recycle) them if they discolor or develop
spider cracks. Do not put them in the microwave.
—When possible, opt for food in jars or cartons
instead of cans — or, better yet, fresh or frozen
food. Acidic foods, such as tomatoes, cause more leaching
of BPA from cans than other foods. Keep in mind, though,
that the nutritional benefits of many canned foods
(like fish, vegetables, and fruits) are definite,
while the BPA risk is uncertain. If you are feeding
a baby, powdered infant formula is a safer choice
than canned liquid formula unless you know the cans
are BPA-free (talk to your doctor before changing
—Note that disposable plastic water bottles,
as well as juice and soda bottles, are typically made
from polyethylene (PETE, identified by the number
“1” on the bottom), which has no BPA.
They are considered safe for single use. The plastic
may break down with repeated use, increasing the risk
that other plastic chemicals will be released, but
better reason not to refill them over and over is
that they can become contaminated with bacteria that
are hard to clean off.
1944 ~ 2009
Roger Francis Remillard, a former resident
of Three Rivers, died Thursday, April 30, 2009, in
Visalia after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was 64.
Visitation will be Monday, May 11, from
4 to 7 p.m. at Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel,
127 E. Caldwell Ave., Visalia. Rosary will immediately
follow at 7 p.m., also at the Salser & Dillard
Mass of Christian burial is scheduled for Tuesday,
May 12, 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
Burial will follow the mass at Visalia District Cemetery.
A celebration of Roger’s life is
currently being planned in Three Rivers. For information,
call Sean Stehelin, 561-3624.
Roger was born Oct. 27, 1944, in North Adams, Mass.,
to Edgar and Beatrice Remillard. The family moved
to Visalia in 1958.
Roger attended Mt. Whitney High School,
where he played football. Following high school, he
enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served during the Vietnam
War and was a member of the Color Guard.
After serving his country, he returned
to Visalia and attended College of the Sequoias. He
was a member of the American Legion-Post 18 in Visalia
and served as commander in 1979.
In 1991, he moved to Three Rivers for
the country living. Roger had a passion for owning
and working on hot rods.
He enjoyed watching football, snow skiing,
playing golf with friends in Three Rivers, and music.
Roger is survived by the love of his
life and best friend, Ruby Ritchie of Visalia; two
brothers, Ernest Remillard and Robert Remillard, both
of Visalia; sister Anne Ryan of Australia; and many
other loving family members and loyal friends.
Remembrances in Roger’s name may
be made to the American Cancer Society, 300 N. Willis
St., Visalia, CA 93291.
1949 ~ 2009
Jerry Nunnelee, a lifetime resident of
Three Rivers, died Sunday, May 3, 2009, at his home
after a long-term illness. He was 59.
Jerry was born in Three Rivers on Aug. 6, 1949, to
Grady and Mary Nunnelee. He attended Three Rivers
School, Woodlake High School, and College of the Sequoias.
Jerry served in the U.S. Navy during
the Vietnam War. He was a mechanic.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents
and brother Jamie Nunnelee.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years,
Paula Nunnelee; his children, Theresa Hudsen of Fallbrook,
Cindy Howell of Three Rivers, Wendy Woods of Three
Rivers, Kathy Brown of Three Rivers, Roberta McGuire
of Visalia, and Jason Nunnelee of Three Rivers; grandchildren
Kayla Brown, Taylor Howell, Philip Woods, Thomas Woods,
Michael Howell, Leah Spurgeon, Max McGuire, and Teagan
McGuire; his brothers Troy Nunnelee and Larry Nunnelee;
and sisters Cathy Hamilton and Carol McKellar.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests
that donations be made to the Three Rivers Union School
Foundation, P.O. Box 99, Three Rivers, CA 93271.
Private services will be held.
1921 ~ 2009
Donald Edmond Allen died Wednesday, April
22, 2009, at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston,
Texas, just five days after learning that he had acute
leukemia. He was 87.
The viewing is today (Friday, May 8,
6 to 8 p.m.) at Palm Memorial Sierra Chapel in Oakhurst.
A graveside service will be held Saturday, May 9,
at 10 a.m. at Oakhill Cemetery in Oakhurst, and the
funeral service will immediately follow at 11 a.m.
at Mountain Christian Center in Oakhurst.
Don was born Dec. 20, 1921, in Anniston,
Ala., to Emory Sphere and Myrtle Johnson Allen. In
1938, Don married Lois Ezell and the couple had five
Don served in World War II, including
the Battle of the Bulge, and received a Bronze Star.
He was a staff sergeant for Company C-41st Army Infantry.
During the war, he was injured and spent five years
in a VA hospital.
As a vice president of construction companies,
Don lived in numerous locations, including Texas;
Florida; and California. Three Rivers and Oakhurst
were the last two towns in which he lived while in
California. For the last 10 years, he had been living
in Lufkin, Texas.
Don acted as the contractor in the building of the
Church at Kaweah. He did not charge for his professional
Forty years ago, he built the pulpit
at the church, which is still in use today. In the
early 1970s, Don also served as an associate pastor
at the church and, for many years, on the board of
the Kaweah Christian Ranch, a boys’ rehabilitation
Throughout his career, Don built or remodeled
17 churches, never accepting any compensation. The
final church he built was the Mountain Christian in
Oakhurst, where he and his second wife, Patricia,
were married and where his funeral service will be
Don was preceded in death by his parents;
siblings; two sons, Larry Allen and Ron Allen; and,
in 1990, his wife of 52 years, Lois.
He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Patricia Allen;
his sons and daughters-in-law Neal and Kay Allen of
Turlock and Steve and Connie Allen of San Ramon; his
daughter and son-in-law Neita and David Sturgill of
San Clemente; two stepsons and their wives, James
and Meredith Parker of Flower Mound, Texas, and John
and Maggie Parker of Coppell, Texas; 29 grandchildren;
31 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren
with more on the way.