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In the News - Friday, May 14, 2010

 

—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

Kaweah Post Office

threatened with closure

 

By Brian Rothhammer

 

  Sandy Norris informed postal officials Friday, May 7, of her decision not to renew a second three-year contract as postmistress of the historic Kaweah Post Office. It was not an easy decision as she has treasured her time serving Kaweah and visitors from around the world. See rest of story...

 

Park Service requests

input on Mineral King

 

  Park officials refer to it as public scoping, and the public is invited to participate. Provide input, that is, for the new Mineral King Management Plan and its Environmental Assessment.

  It might sound complicated but it's really not. At least the scoping process doesn't sound at all complex to hear Nancy Hendricks, environmental protection specialist, explain its role in the planning process.

  Hendricks presented an overview of the project on Tuesday, May 11, in the McDowall Auditorium at Three Rivers School . The Three Rivers meeting was one of four meetings being held from Bakersfield to the High Sierra to give in terested parties an opportunity to let park officials know what the public is thinking about Mineral King.

  Why make the effort now to up date the current plan that was completed in 1980? Hend ricks said that a number of things have changed in Mineral King so the new plan needs to address current and future needs related to visitor use, cultural resources protection, and protection of the land itself.

  Primary among the goals of the NPS at any of its hundreds of units is resource protection. But included in what's new at Mineral King is establishing direction and guidance for the protection of the Mineral King Road Cultural Landscape District.

  Hendricks said that planning “sideboards” like the Organic Act of 1916 that defined the mission of the NPS and the 1978 legislation (Public Law 95-625, Sec. 314) that made Mineral King a part of Sequoia National Park dictate certain issues that must be addressed in the management plan. The Consolidated Appropriations Act (2005 Amendment to 1978 public law) defined more clearly some of the management directives for the cabins as they relate to the historic district.

  In effect, this legislation deleted any end date for cabin special-use permits and allowed the transfer of cabin permits to current permittees'… “heirs, successors, and assigns.” What that means, according to the Planning Participant Workbook, is the 2005 amendment changed the status of the cabins requiring the NPS to manage this “qualified use” for the future.

  The Mineral King cabins will be just one of the critical elements of the new plan. Hendricks said park planners have already identified seven topics where there will be potential issues and concerns: natural resources, cultural resources, visitor use, land use, special park uses, existing facilities, and access.

  Some of the questions that came up during the Three Rivers meeting dealt with restoring stock use, making the road safer, and establishing a horse camp. Hendricks said park planners welcome any and all suggestions.

  At the conclusion of the scoping period (June 30) park planners will analyze comments and develop alternatives. A draft of these alternatives should be available by the end of the summer.

  To submit comments, visit the Planning, Environment and Public Comment System (PEPC) at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/seki or submit written comments to: Superintendent, Attn: Mineral King Management Plan, 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, CA 93721 .

  Questions and requests for more information may be addressed by contacting the office of the acting public information officer at 565-3131.

 

Road construction starts

on Generals Highway

 

  If you're heading up the Generals Highway be sure to time your 30-minute drive to the construction zone so that your arrival is at the top of the hour. That's because the on-again, off-again Generals Highway restoration project has started up its most recent phase, which is scheduled to continue through May 2012.

  Motorists can expect one-hour delays with lane openings at the top of every hour from 7 a.m to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. Uphill traffic will be allowed to pass through first.

  During non-work hours, weekends, and holidays, traffic will be signal-controlled with a single lane.

  The current segment of the historic highway that is being reconditioned is a steep 1.5-mile stretch just above Amphitheater Point to Deer Ridge.

  For more information, park visitors are advised to stop in at the Foothills Visitor Center in Ash Mountain where staff will assist travelers in planning their trip up the highway to minimize any delays caused by the construction.

 

Park roads update

  In other park road news, the Mineral King Road is scheduled to open Friday, May 28, at least to Silver City . Work began this week on clearing the road of snow and debris in hopes of a Memorial Day weekend opening.

  This is currently no easy task. Snow covers the roadway to below Atwell Mill, more than five miles from road's end in the Mineral King valley. There are reportedly drifts of snow up to six feet in height in many areas with some of the sunniest stretches of road still having patches remaining.

  The Crystal Cave road opened last weekend and is snow-free. Sequoia Natural History Association is currently embarking on its 2010 season of cave tours.

  The Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Road opens each year when the snow melts. As of Thursday, May 13, the road has not yet opened.

 

WELCOME TO MY FOOD COLUMN

 

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 f avorite 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.”

PART NINE

This week: Tina

  Sibling number six: That would be me, smack in the middle!

  Sort of felt like the fixings inside a sandwich growing up. But, most of the time the bread on the outside was soft.

I think in any large family a kid can feel a bit lost and even on their own. However, it gave way for much imagination.

  Fortunately, we grew up in a large home with an expansive backyard and parents who were pretty much open to our individual beliefs. My mother was an advocate of the arts, always encouraging us to create something.

  And my dad never seemed to take things too seriously, which I have come to learn is a good thing.

  Looking back, I can't find too much to complain about as far as families go. Even though we had our dysfunctions, I still feel blessed to be able to share my life with so many siblings whom I consider really good people.

  One thing for certain is that we all love food. There are so many favorite recipes in our family, it's hard to pick just one.

  In trying to decide which recipe of my mother's was my favorite I visualized the ones that I remember and loved the most: Cream Puffs, Tarte aux Pommes (apple tarts), Bushe De Noel, and Chocolate Truffles. Then I thought if I were on a deserted island and could only have one of these, what would it be?

  I chose Chocolate Truffles because all someone needs is one to set their sails straight up to Heaven. And since my mother once told me that most good cooks are inspired by their mothers, it seems even more fitting because these Chocolate Truffles are from my grandmother's recipe.

  Mom said Grand-mère (“grandmother ” in French) made salads that looked like Monet paintings; she was an artist in the kitchen.

Mom made truffles often but shared them sparingly. She would store them in a beautiful tin in the basement. And she was the only one who knew where they were.

  Even in Heaven, I believe my mother still holds the title “Queen of Chocolate Truffles.” That would make my grandmother the “Grand Queen of Truffles.”

  Bon Appetit!

  When she is not writing about food, Tina St. John custom designs jewelry and is a partner in The Art Co-Op.

St. John Siblings

Recipe Series

 

Bill: Sibling no. 1

Pernil

February 26

 

Mary: Sibling no. 2

Triple-layer

Carob Brownies

Sunflower Seed Dressing

February 12

 

Elizabeth : Sibling no. 3

Waterzooi of Chicken

March 12

 

Kay: Sibling no. 4

Chocolate Mousse

January 29

 

Robert: Sibling no. 5

Tenderloin of Beef

with Sauce Poivrade

April 9

 

Tina: Sibling no. 6

Chocolate Truffles

May 14

 

Marc: Sibling no. 7

Boeuf Bourguignon

April 9

 

Annie: Sibling no. 8

Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 22

 

Paul: Sibling no. 9

French Dressing

April 23

Chocolate Truffles

 

½ pound (2 sticks) butter,

unsalted and softened

¾ pound of imported

European chocolate, melted*

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg yolks

6 tablespoons powdered

sugar

Powdered chocolate

Mix well together butter, chocolate, vanilla, egg yolks, and powdered sugar. Spread in a flat container such as a pie plate. Let cool in refrigerator. Cut into pieces and form balls. Roll in powdered chocolate. Store in tight container. Use parchment paper to separate layers of truffles. Refrigerate or freeze.

 

* My mother used Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, available at specialty stores.

 

 

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

 

Why artists choose Three Rivers

 

By Jana Botkin

 

  When my art studio was in Exeter and I lived in Lemon Cove, people assumed I lived in Three Rivers just because I was an artist. Now that I actually do live here and have become a painter, I recognize a multitude of reasons why any artist would want to reside in Three Rivers.

  The effortless beauty that surrounds us can become common and invisible. There are incomparable views from my yard, studio, mailbox, and even from in my neighbor's pool.

  Think about what we all see when we go to the post office, the Memorial Building , the golf course, or maybe even from the dentist's chair.

  Then there is the beauty that might require a little more effort to take in: the North Fork , the South Fork, Kaweah River Drive , and the Salt Creek area of BLM land come to mind. If you are able to walk, there is so much more that becomes visible.

  In fact, I wrote a series on my weblog (www.cabinart.net/wordpress) called “Peculiar Sights in Three Rivers,” documenting odd items that appear to the pedestrian in our town.

  Another great enticement to living in Three Rivers is the shorter drive to Sequoia and to Mineral King. In less than an hour you can be among the Big Trees and in just over an hour, you can be in a valley that I have been told resembles the Swiss Alps.

  Everywhere I look there are subjects to paint. The wildflowers could keep my brush flying for several seasons.

  The gates alone could occupy my pencils for a year. I could produce an entire series of drawings and paintings simply of loading chutes.

  Curves in the road, bends in the river, the autumn leaves, light on the rocks, Moro Rock from every possible angle, Alta Peak from every attainable viewpoint, sycamores all around town, the grand oak trees of every variety, the assortment of fence styles — every one of these subjects could be depicted in pencil or paint.

  It is true that there is beauty in almost any location if one learns to recognize it. I certainly had plenty of subjects available in my former locations. Now, the accessibility of paintable scenes is almost overwhelming!

  Jana Botkin of Three Rivers is a professional artist who owns Cabinart and is a partner in The Art Co-Op. She creates oil paintings, pencil drawings, and murals of local landmarks and viewscapes.

 
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
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