this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
youth center breaks ground
With a blessing from Bishop
John T. Steinbock, St. Anthony Retreat
hosted a gala groundbreaking Monday evening
(May 12) to mark the start of an ambitious
construction project that in the very
near future is expected to make Three
Rivers the new home of the Santa Teresita
Youth Conference Center. Though to some
observers it might take a minor miracle
to make it all happen on schedule and
within the $5.5 million budget, according
to Father John Griesbach. St. Anthony
director, it’s all part of God’s
That plan was revealed many
years ago to Ollie Craig, the owner of
the adjacent property as part of the neighboring
Craig Ranch who passed away in 2005. After
Ollie’s husband Leon passed away
in 1984, she gifted 17 acres to
St. Anthony Retreat with the stipulation
that the property one day be used as youth
center for the use of all youth of the
When the Roman Catholic Diocese
of Fresno officially leased the retreat
property in October 2003, a succession
of events were set in motion that would
eventually make Ollie Craig’s dream
a reality. The Bishop appointed
Father John Griesbach, a diocese priest
and Tulare native, to oversee St. Anthony
Retreat and plan for the eventual youth
In the summer of 2006, the
Fresno Diocese completed the purchase
of the $2.5 million St. Anthony Retreat
from the Franciscans, allowing Father
John to shift more focus on the youth
center and draw up the actual plans. Two
gifts of $500,000 provided the seed money
while St. Anthony added another eight-acre
parcel of former Craig Ranch property
that was a critical link to the new youth
center that was taking shape.
So now in addition to the
17 acres that will be developed in three
phases, the adjacent eight acres will
add a green belt of trails linking with
BLM land and furnishing access to fishing,
hiking, and riding trails leading to Case
Mountain’s ancient grove of giant
“From the very start of the Diocese’s
involvement with the Three Rivers property,
we wanted to fulfill Ollie’s dream
to build a center to engage the community
and to help youth grow stronger in mind,
body, and spirit.”
As a part of the $5.5 million
construction plan, the new Santa Teresita
Youth Conference Center will consist of
six structures, including student residential
dorms, assembly building, crafts building,
swimming pool, chapel, and amphitheater.
Time is of the essence because
the budget is based on 2008 dollars. The
contractor is Jeff Blagg of Tulare who
successfully completed another church
project in Kerman.
“We are so fortunate to have this
team onboard to complete the project,”
said Father John. “The contractors
have all pledged they will do whatever
it takes to get the job done.”
Father John also said that
the builders have previous experience
with both green-building techniques and
supervising volunteers on Habit for Humanity
projects. That’s critical, Father
John said, both to the philosophy of the
project and methods of how in reality
a $10 million dollar project might be
completed for $5.5 million.
The project will utilize
all kinds of donated materials as well
as an army of volunteers every step of
the way. Of the $5.5 million needed, nearly
half has already been pledged or is in
the bank, Father John said.
“As more locals and our Valley community
participate directly in the project’s
ecumenical nature, they will realize that
they own a part of Santa Teresita,”
he continued. “Three Rivers is the
ideal place to do these great works, and
all who come will benefit from the unique
resources we share.”
The Diocese of Fresno is
comprised of 600,000 Catholics who live
in eight Central California counties.
Crimes on the rise
3R residents advised to be alert
When the local Volunteers
in Patrol (VIPs) were first organized
in 2002, locals volunteered to patrol
night shifts to quell a spate of smash-and-dash
burglaries in the Three Rivers commercial
district. Now, after some bizarre
incidents in separate residential areas,
a group of locals are saying its time
again to step up the VIP patrols.
On Friday, May 9, a couple
of would-be burglars pounded and kicked
on a South Fork resident’s front
door. What’s ironic is that the
woman’s daughter, who left the residence
just before the suspects arrived, may
have seen the would-be burglars.
The daughter, who after an
evening visiting with her mom, returned
to her room at the Comfort Inn. That’s
when she saw two youths walking along
the side of South Fork Drive.
“I’m convinced the two strangers
saw my daughter’s car pull out;
my house was dark so they just figured
they’d see if anyone was home,”
said the frightened woman. “The
approach to the front door is lighted
by a trail of Malibu lights but I was
sitting here home alone in the dark like
I often do.”
That’s when the two
suspects began pounding and kicking on
the front door. The woman inside, who
had a loaded handgun, frantically asked
what the intruders wanted and informed
whoever was out there that she was calling
the Sheriff’s Department.
Evidently, the frantic woman’s
startled presence was enough to deter
the suspects. After driving from somewhere
down the hill, three Tulare County Sheriff’s
Department units arrived around midnight
and took a statement.
“There wasn’t really much
they could do because there was no apparent
crime,” the woman said. “The
next day I noticed that one of the Malibu
lights was missing and there were two
distinct sets of footprints all around
The woman later called Jim
Fansett, Three Rivers resident deputy,
who was unaware of the Friday night incident.
He said he planned to contact a person
of interest and that the case was still
On Wednesday afternoon (May
14), there was an attempted car burglary
in the residential neighborhood above
Three Rivers School. In that incident,
the would-be burglar triggered a car alarm
and fled the scene.
The woman who owns the car
came out of her house and saw a young
man jumping into the passenger side of
a small white sedan with body damage that
sped away. She thinks that maybe the burglar
was trying to steal her stereo and a collection
of CDs that were on the front seat.
When the young woman’s
mother returned home from work, she noticed
that both doors to the house had damage
as if the locks had recently been pried
with some sort of tool.
One investigating officer
said that with the summer season there
are always more strangers and more break-ins
“It’s not uncommon to get
a spike in the local crime rate this time
of year, so everyone needs to be vigilant
and keep their doors and windows locked,”
the officer said. “To some of these
suspects, if it’s not nailed down,
and sometimes even if it is, it’s
easy pickings, especially if it might
fetch a few bucks from somebody.”
Candies goes coastal
New store opens
Memorial Day weekend
Reimer’s Candies, the
historic Three Rivers landmark candy and
ice cream store, announced earlier this
week that they are heading to the Central
Coast and will be opening a second location.
In just three years after purchasing Reimer’s
Candies, Gifts and Ice Cream, Lynn and
Mary Anne Bretz will now realize the next
part of their business plan by expanding
to a new oceanfront store at 324A Front
Street in Avila Beach.
“We are so delighted for the opportunity
to open our new store in Avila Beach,”
said Mary Anne. “This will give
us the opportunity to provide our products
and service to customers who come from
around the world to visit the coast.”
The owners expect many of
these coastal customers will be old friends
from the Three Rivers store and new patrons
who come for Reimer’s famous “Old
World Style” ice cream. But just
wait till they try the tempting line of
small-batch gourmet chocolates, fudges,
and brittles. The new store will also
feature espresso drinks and a line of
Lynn said he expects Reimer’s
most popular ice cream flavor, “Three
Rivers Wild Blackberry” to be a
big hit at Avila Beach. The Bretzes are
also developing a new coastal flavor for
Avila utilizing local ingredients.
Reimer’s will continue
to manufacture most of the chocolates
and ice cream at Three Rivers. The products
will be shipped to the new Avila Beach
“We are adding at least two full-time
positions in Three Rivers to make more
candy and ice cream,” Lynn said.
“Now we will be better able to utilize
the production capacity of the Three Rivers
location to supply the new store.”
Reimer’s is part of
a half-century of gourmet candy-making
in Three Rivers. The local tradition began
when Ted and Millie Huffaker brought their
Visalia candy shop to Three Rivers in
The new store operated as
Huffaker’s Country Candies until
they sold the business to Uwe and Nancy
Reimer in 1978. The Reimers eventually
changed the name to Reimer’s Candies
Gifts and Ice Cream adding the ice cream
store to the property in 1985. In 2005,
Reimer’s was sold to Lynn and Mary
Anne Bretz of Visalia.
Lynn said they bought the
business with the hope that it could be
“In the last three years, we have
developed a great staff in Three Rivers
and now we are in a perfect position to
grow the business,” Lynn Bretz said.
The Bretzes, who like to
think of their Three Rivers business as
an “over the top candy shop,”
are planning for some sweet success.
That Reimer’s name recognition among
some loyal Central Valley customers, they
believe, will be a great launching point
for the new coastal location.
The home you
save may be your own
by Gov. Arnold
Our fantastic summer weather
is one of the big reasons California is
such a great place to live, to work, and
to vacation. However, these dry months
also make our state especially vulnerable
That is why I proclaimed
May 4th to the 10th as Wildfire Awareness
Now, everyone remembers the
devastation from last year’s firestorms
in Southern California. Ten people were
killed, 518,000 acres burned, and more
than 3,000 homes and structures were destroyed.
It also resulted in the largest
deployment of firefighting resources in
our state’s history.
This year, fire season has
already begun, and we need every firefighting
tool on ready alert so that we can spring
to action when disaster strikes. Last
week, I signed an executive order directing
Cal Fire to immediately mobilize additional
personnel and equipment.
This means more fire crews,
more engines, more helicopters, and more
planes, including the Supertanker aircraft,
which can drop 12,000 gallons of water
or fire retardant on a single flight.
But the public needs to do
its part too. That’s because 90
percent of California’s wildfires
are caused by people.
I have instructed Cal Fire
to step up education and enforcement of
our fire laws. We will be more aggressive
in cracking down on dangerous and illegal
And we are going to start
citing property owners who don’t
follow the 100-foot defensible space rule.
I urge all Californians to
be smart, be vigilant, and obey our fire
laws. Working together, we can protect
our communities and protect California’s
beautiful natural resources for generations
ED. NOTE— Governor
Schwarzenegger’s issuance of an
executive order to mobilize resources
and hire fire personnel comes a month
earlier than last year. With the heatwave
that’s forecast for this weekend,
now would be the time to ensure that vegetation
is removed 100 feet away from all homes
and outbuildings. That’s the amount
of space that firefighters need to possibly
save a home during a fire emergency.
The public is also invited
Redbud Garden Club training
The Redbud Garden Club is
having great success with its four public
native plant gardens around Three Rivers
developed in partnership with community
organizations. With plans to plant even
more, the club is launching an exciting
new program — the Garden Watchers
— to ensure that the gardens will
remain healthy and beautiful.
The Garden Watchers program
will train volunteers, including non-Garden
Club members, to monitor the gardens at
the post office, the library (including
plantings going in around the playground),
the Three Rivers Memorial Building, and
the Cal Fire Station.
An initial training session
will be held Saturday, May 17, 9 a.m.
to noon, at the CalFire Station (adjacent
to Valley Oak Credit Union).
The training is open to the
public. An informative, colorful guide
has been prepared that shows the plants
at each established garden and how to
watch for problems regarding watering,
pests and disease, weeds, and more in
native plant gardens. The training and
the guide will provide an opportunity
for the community to learn how to successfully
maintain native plant gardens at their
own homes even if they are not able to
join the Garden Watchers program.
There is no charge for the
workshop or the written guide.
Club member and national park horticulturist
Melanie Baer-Keeley will provide a brief
slide show to help in identifying native
plants and to help participants learn
their maintenance needs. After a refreshment
break, there will be a guided tour of
the garden to become even more familiarized
with how to keep a native plant garden
Why native plant gardens?
The Redbud Garden Club is working to maintain
the rural character and sense of place
in this beautiful foothill community.
As a gateway to Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks, the club feels a responsibility
to provide a visual and physical connection
to this national treasure.
Native plants are pre-selected
for success. They are not so thirsty or
demanding of fertilizer, pesticides, soil
amendments, and continuing intensive care.
Native plants are adapted to the soil
and climate of our region which, as most
know, is incredibly harsh.
Native plant gardens provide
beauty and interest to visitors and residents,
increase property values, and teach an
appreciation of nature’s gifts in
Free hotspot at
The Sequoia Foothills Chamber
of Commerce and the Three Rivers Historical
Society are pleased to announce Three
Rivers’s newest wireless hotspot
at the Chamber office and museum at 42268
This free hotspot does not
require a password or even access to the
building. Residents of and visitors to
Three Rivers can bring their laptops and
sit on the porch or in the parking lot
to access the Internet (as long as their
computer has a wireless connection).
During the hot summer months,
the Chamber office and Historical Museum
will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily for
those seeking an air-conditioned web-surfing
In addition, many of the
Chamber's member businesses throughout
Three Rivers offer wireless access for
their customers. For more information,
call (559) 561-3300.
Robert Harvey Raybourn, who was raised
in Three Rivers, died Monday, March 17,
2008, in Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo
of congestive heart failure. He was 85.
A memorial service is scheduled
for what would have been his 86th birthday,
Saturday, June 14, 11 a.m., at the Community
Presbyterian Church, 43410 Sierra Dr.,
Bob was born June 14, 1922,
to Don and Effie Myrle Raybourn in Alhambra.
In 1932, the family moved to Three Rivers
where Bob entered the fifth grade at Three
The family lived in tents
while Bob’s father, Don, worked
locally for the Civilian Conservation
Corps. Bob enjoyed his upbringing in Three
Rivers, telling tales of setting off in
the morning with his cousin, Dick, a can
of beans, two forks, and fishing poles
in search of trout.
Bob and his family were members
of the Community Presbyterian Church in
Three Rivers. He was a Boy Scout and his
dad was a scoutmaster. In addition, his
cousins — Etheleen, Dick, Harsh,
and George Brown — lived close by
Bob graduated from Three
Rivers School and, in 1940, from Woodlake
High School. He attended Cal Poly San
Luis Obispo until the completion of his
sophomore year, when he entered the U.S.
Navy for four years during World War II.
He returned to Cal Poly in
September 1946, where that fall he met
his wife-to-be, the former Mary Sleeter.
They were married the following year,
on November 26, 1947.
Bob graduated in 1948 with
his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture-Animal
Science and a minor in Music.
Bob was an ag teacher in
Lancaster for a few years until he took
a job in 1950 as a lineman with the Southern
California Edison Company. In 1960, the
couple moved to Tustin, where they raised
their four children.
In 1986, Bob retired from
SCE as an underground installations inspector.
After his retirement, Bob and Mary moved
to Lake Forest.
They enjoyed traveling with
RV clubs and had visited all 50 states.
They were active in their church where
Bob was an elder and sang in the choir.
Bob was a member of the Elks Club, a former
scoutmaster, and was a Naval Reservist,
retiring as lieutenant commander.
In addition to his wife of
60 years, Mary, Bob is survived by his
four children, David, Scott, Beth (Laurinitis),
and Jon and their spouses; 11 grandchildren;
and four great-grandchildren; stepbrother
Vernon Dixon of Three Rivers; stepbrother
Bob Dixon; and stepsister Lois (Dixon)
In lieu of flowers, the family
requests that donations in Bob’s
memory be made to the Deacon’s Fund,
Community Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box
685, Three Rivers, CA 93271.
Alan Douglas Ewen of Three
Rivers died Thursday, April 19, 2008,
of Alzheimer’s disease, complicated
by pneumonia. He was 85.
A memorial celebrating his
life will be held Saturday, June 7, at
11 a.m., at the Community Presbyterian
Church in Three Rivers.
Alan was born May 7, 1922,
in Summerland, British Columbia. He was
raised in Southern California, where he
graduated from high school as valedictorian
and president of his senior class.
Alan earned a Bachelor of
Arts degree cum laude in three years from
the University of Southern California,
graduating in 1943. He enlisted in the
U.S. Army and served in the Medical Corps.
As a medic, he led his platoon
ashore in the early hours of D-Day on
June 6, 1944, landing at the Easy Red
sector on Omaha Beach, France. Alan earned
five battle stars and was awarded a field
commission for volunteering to lead the
first medical platoon across the Bridge
at Remagen into Germany; General Dwight
David Eisenhower pinned the silver lieutenant
bars on Alan’s uniform.
At the close of World War
II in Europe, Alan returned home to Southern
California and was employed as the Assistant
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
at his alma mater, USC. While there, he
also earned his Master of Science degree
in Education. Additional degrees earned
during Alan’s business career included
Advanced Management from Harvard University’s
Graduate School of Business Administration
and a Doctor of Humane Letters from National
In 1947, he married the former
Margie Anne Hengst, the daughter of William
and Golda Hengst of Exeter.
Alan’s successful business
career included serving as managing director
for the VIII Winter Olympic Games, which
were held in Squaw Valley in 1960. As
senior vice president at McCulloch Properties
(owned by Robert McCulloch of McCulloch
Chainsaws), Alan oversaw the construction
of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., the rebuilding
of the London Bridge in the new town,
and construction of Pueblo West, Colo.,
and Fountain Hills, Ariz.
Other executive positions
held by Alan were senior vice president
of Pacific Molasses and director of the
Sacramento Area and Trade Organization,
where he lured about 150 companies to
the capital region including major high-tech
firms such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel,
and NEC. He also served as president of
the Sacramento Union newspaper.
When Alan retired in 1999,
the couple moved to Three Rivers to be
closer to Margie’s family and their
cabin in Mineral King, which provided
many hours of enjoyment. Alan was instrumental
in resolving water agreements between
the West Mineral King cabins and the Park
Service. Through his efforts, a mountain
in the Mineral King area was named Hengst
Peak after Margie’s uncle, Alfred
Hengst, a cattleman in the Three Rivers
Erudite and eclectic describe
Alan and his interests and activities.
A friend in Sacramento said that after
a conversation with Alan, he would get
the dictionary out.
Alan was always ready to
help someone in their educational or career
pursuits. He enjoyed sports, especially
On the USC campus, Alan was
a member of the Theta Chi Fraternity and
a life member of Skull and Dagger. He
served on the boards of many arts, business,
and civic groups. Alan was an ordained
elder of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church
and a member of the Community Presbyterian
Church in Three Rivers.
Alan is survived by his wife
of 61 years, Margie. His remains are interred
at Arlington National Cemetery.
Donations in memory of Alan
may be sent to the Alzheimer's Foundation
of Central California, 4411 N. Cedar Ave.,
Suite 102, Fresno, CA 93276.
Theodore Everett Roberts
of Three Rivers, died Thursday, May 8,
2008. He was 83.
Ted was born July 29, 1924,
in Galesburg, Ill., where he was raised
Ted served in the U.S. Coast
Guard for three-and-a-half years. He was
aboard the USS Roger B. Taney, which is
the last surviving warship afloat today
from the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl
Harbor. These days, the historic cutter
is docked in Maryland and houses the Baltimore
Ted’s career as a business
manager spanned 32 years with the J.C.
Penney Co. He was also in real estate
sales with Century 21 Jordan-Link &
Ted and his wife, Pat, moved
to Three Rivers 21 years ago. His family
would gather frequently in Three Rivers,
and those times were very special to him.
Ted was dearly loved and will be greatly
missed by his family and friends.
In addition to his wife and
friend, Patricia Ann, Ted is survived
by three sons, Carl Roberts and his wife,
Betty Jo, of Orange, Steven Roberts and
wife Elaine of Laguna Beach, Leonard Roberts
and wife Sandra of Moreno Valley; two
daughters, Gail Johnson of Sonoma and
Roberta Hase and husband Greg of Simpsonville,
S.C.; two sisters, Betty Rose of Galesburg,
Ill., and Margaret Mosley of Rock Island,
Ill.; 21 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by Carl Flowers and
Steven Flowers of Colton, David Flowers
of Nevada, Paul Flowers and wife Tawnda
of Hesperia, and Sandra Flowers of Santa
Private interment will follow
cremation with arrangements by Miller