In the News - Friday, May 21,
DELIVERY: The students, staff, and teachers at Three
embarked on a multi-faceted campaign this week to
Post Office. It has been slated for closure at the
end of this
by the U.S. Postal Service.
on brink of extinction
The Kaweah Post Office is not just your ordinary
is a piece of history, an artifact.
should take the time to learn from it, and not destroy
These are the words of Abbie Friel, a seventh grader
at Three Rivers Union School, one of the entire student
body of 150 who completed letters to their congressman
this week with the hopes that the Kaweah Post Office
might be saved from closure by the U.S. Postal Service.
The fate of Kaweah Post Office is, at best, uncertain.
“The Postal Service does not intend to
renew,” said James Wigdel of the Postal Customer
Council on Wednesday, May 19, after indicating that
Kaweah was a contract post office.
“We are working on alternatives to continue
delivery to the 46 boxes at the Kaweah Post Office,”
he added, “but we cannot release details, as
it is not yet finalized.”
When asked if the Kaweah zip code would
be preserved, he replied: “[It’s] too
early to tell,” and that it would be “premature
to speculate.” The window of the tiny, historic
postal station is scheduled to close for the last
time on Friday, May 28.
Or will it? The town of Niles, Calif.,
fought to save their post office and won. When the
citizens of the Fremont-area town heard of plans to
close their 1873 post office, petitions were gathered
within weeks, numbering 1,600 signatures.
At a town meeting held January 5, 2010,
at Niles Elementary School, postal officials Cedric
Brown and Gus Ruiz responded to questions from the
public. A senior citizen inquired, “Did you
look at how many older people are here? We walk to
the post office,” the man reminded officials.
Niles Post Office still makes money,
so “what is the rationale of taking this away
from us?” the man asked.
The response was: “We looked at
a lot of things. The majority of post offices around
the country don’t make money. They rely on other
high-traffic post offices to make the majority of
Reggie Ristow, Kaweah postmistress from
1979 to 1988, says of Kaweah: “It’s more
than that, it’s history. I love that little
place. I don’t like to see things that meant
something to somebody go. It’s the heart and
soul, and I’d like to see it preserved.”
Meanwhile, the box holders of Kaweah
Post Office ponder what the future might hold but
have received no official notification.
“We’re working on what happens
after May 31. As soon as we know, we’ll send
a press release,” replied James Wigdel.
When advised of the deep emotional attachment
of local residents to the Kaweah Post Office, Wigdel
said, “We totally get that…” Still,
financial concerns appear to be driving the decision
of the United States Postal Service in regards to
Congressman Devin Nunes is currently
in Washington, D.C. John Gong, constituent representative
for Rep. Nunes said he “…cannot speak
to the media” on this matter “until it
is cleared through the press secretary.” The
congressman is expected to release a statement soon.
In October 2009, another California district
— Dimond — saved their post office. In
a statement made at a celebration before jubilant
citizens, Gus Ruiz commented that the district was
impressed by the involvement of the Dimond community,
a neighborhood near Lake Merritt in Oakland, in saving
their post office.
The “Save Our Dimond Post Office”
campaign gathered 7,015 signatures.
During their struggle, Dimond was advised
by the USPS that “it is local management that
is making recommendations to close post offices. There
are no definitive studies or criteria… Closures
are not a cost-saving measure, but rather an opportunity
to look at and change Postal Service infrastructure…
There is a set discontinuance procedure; district
managers are trained to follow this procedure.”
The district managers pass their recommendations
to U.S. Postal Service headquarters. The decision
lies with the Postal Regulatory Commission, which
can be contacted via www.prc.gov.
Among other things, the website tells
of a Postal Service proposal to end carrier street
address delivery and box collection on Saturdays.
It begins: “Dear member of the public, your
input is invited.”
A local newspaper article from 1953 reads,
“The Kaweah residents are putting up a stiff
resistance to the possible closing of their office,
writing to the postmaster general, the senators, and
congressmen and even to President Eisenhower…”
In the 1950s and on a number of occasions
since, the old Kaweah Post Office was saved.
“It is also a historic place,”
writes a TRUS fifth grader, adding, “I may be
only 11, but I am turning 12... and I know a few things.”
Are we smarter than a fifth-grader and
ready to collectively tackle the task of saving the
Kaweah Post Office? Or is it time to let the Postal
Service “look at and change” their infrastructure?
SPRING SPORTS 2010
Woodlake High School
athletes make a splash
When the new Woodlake swimming pool was
completed in 2002, it marked another benchmark in
a storied career for Woodlake’s venerable swim
coach Craig Baker. Baker announced recently that after
21 years he is stepping aside.
Baker said he is confident that the timing
is right and there’s another coach with a passion
for swimming waiting in the wings.
“I just didn’t want to retire until
I knew the program would be in good hands and it appears
that it will be with Tammy Range,” said Coach
But following Coach Baker will be no
easy task. He built an incredibly popular and successful
program from summer toddler Tiger Sharks to high school
champions. In fact, this year’s high school
team marks the culmination of the summer swim program
he started 14 years ago.
“Some of these kids like [senior] Madison
Beck were four-year-olds splashing around in the pool
while we were working with older siblings,”
All that dedication and hard work, and
a beautiful new pool, have really paid dividends.
In fact, Coach Baker said, this year there were 55
students out for swim team, the most ever enrolled
in the WHS swimming program.
SWIMMING— The Tigers just completed
undefeated East Sequoia League seasons in both boys
and girls swimming. The boys have won championships
for five consecutive seasons; the girls the last four
The girls’ MVP and team captain
was Danielle Knapp; the boys’ MVP was Christopher
Spahn and team captain was Daniel Mesa.
Dani Knapp, Emily McFadden, Madison Beck,
Lennea Fraser, and Kelsey Ruehling qualified for area
championships on May 15; the boys who qualified were
Daniel Mesa, Christopher Spahn, Berto Lewis, and John
JV GIRLS SOFTBALL—
According to Coach Sophie Nunez, the team was not
especially experienced but what they lacked in skills
they made up for in heart.
Sophie, a 1988 WHS alum, said she hasn’t
seen Tiger Pride in a JV team like what this team
displayed since the glory days of the mid-1980s. These
JV Lady Tigers went 12-6 overall and 10-2 en route
to an ESL championship. The team’s new field,
completed recently with Measure C bond funds, provided
the team with a field of their own and was an obvious
source of pride for these Lady Tigers.
“We were undefeated at home this season
and, in one of our biggest wins, Erika Edwards smacked
a home run that cleared the fence,” Sophie said.
“I can’t ever remember that happening
in a JV game.”
Coach Nunez said like any successful softball team,
the JVs were led by pitchers Karina Rodriguez and
Jessica Carrillo and catcher Vita Rodriguez.
were my outstanding players but the success we enjoyed
was a team effort,” Sophie said.
VARSITY GIRLS SOFTBALL—
The varsity Lady Tigers (seeded No. 8) completed their
season Wednesday, May 19, being ousted from the opening
round of the sectional playoffs by visiting Bakersfield
Christian (No. 9 seed), 3-2. The nail-biter was a
difficult loss for the Tigers who faced a tough Bakersfield
pitcher who fanned 12 but survived a double by Bridget
O’Shaughnessy and a triple by Kaweah Vines of
These Lady Tigers finished 14-10 overall
and 7-5 in East Sequoia League play.
* * *
BOYS TENNIS— Under the
patient tutelage of Coach Mike Judson, this young
but enthusiastic team consisted of a dozen players
and continued to show excellent improvement throughout
the season. Anchored by No. 1 singles player Nathan
Wood (sophomore), these Tigers finished in the middle
of the pack in ESL play.
The doubles team of Ramon Hernandez and Joseph Garcia
finished third in the ESL tournament.
TRACK— The 2010 season
marked huge strides for Tiger runners who competed
in several new events for the first season since the
recent revival of a track program. Some of the credit
for the resurgence must go to Coach Tony Ramirez.
Coach Ramirez is anticipating the day
when his Tiger harriers can circle Robinson Field
on a new state-of-the-art, all-weather track. That
project, earmarked for Measure C funds, awaits some
matching grants that will see the new track installed
by 2011 or soon thereafter.
No sport at Woodlake is more dependent
on getting some upgraded facilities to attract new
participants. This season, without the benefit of
being able to stage home meets, the boys earned third
place at the East Sierra League championship meet.
“This was a huge improvement over last
year’s sixth-place finish,” said Coach
Ramirez. “We missed second place by just two
The team also earned their first team
trophy at the McFarland Invitational with a second-place
finish — and they did it without any athletes
to compete in five of the meet’s contested events.
Four-year varsity letterman and senior
Ben Rothbaum of Three Rivers medaled in every meet
and was league champion in both the 100 and 200-meter
dashes. He placed fourth in the 100 meters at the
Sierra-Sequoia Championships with a time of 11.39;
in the 200 he placed fifth.
Connor Beck, a sophomore from Three Rivers,
won the high jump at the league meet in the frosh/soph
division. Juan Tovar tossed the shotput 42 feet, 1
inch, for a personal best.
Senior Philip Dixon of Three Rivers posted
personal bests in the mile (4:58) and in the 800 meter
Among the girls, Meg Johnson of Three
Rivers finished second at the league championships
in the high jump. Phoebe Castro, also of Three Rivers,
turned in some outstanding times in the 100 and 200
“I’m very proud of these kids on
this squad,” Coach Ramirez said. “They
come in with zero knowledge of these events and take
a rewarding journey with me as they learn each event
and set personal bests.”
* * *
JV BASEBALL— These Tigers
finished 8-7-1 overall and 4-5 in ESL play. According
to Coach Monte McKean, Daniel Keeley (pitcher, catcher)
of Three Rivers was the team’s most consistent
player. Jim LeFave, also of Three Rivers, was the
team’s outstanding hitter while Phillip Woods
(Three Rivers) and Francisco Barrientos (Woodlake)
helped bolster the pitching staff.
Robert R. Johnson
1941 ~ 2010
Robert R. Johnson passed away at his
home in Three Rivers on Thursday, May 13, 2010. He
Bob was born August 22, 1941, in Priscilla,
Miss., to Perry and Ethel Johnson. He grew up in Texas,
but moved to California, eventually settling in Exeter
and, later, Three Rivers.
In 1997, Bob retired from Sequoia Pacific
Systems Corporation in Exeter. He was an active member
of the Fraternal Order of Eagles-Exeter for many years,
where he was a life member and former lodge president.
Bob was an avid NASCAR fan and enjoyed
fishing, but his true passion was his family.
Bob’s in-laws are the late Harold
Yardley and Roberta Yardley (1927-2000). Bob resided
with his wife Terry in the former Yardley home.
Roberta was a postmistress at the Kaweah
Post Office for 10 years. Bob assisted her in the
operation of the historic post office.
Bob could often be seen during his daily shopping
trip to Village Market and Three Rivers Drug. He enjoyed
chatting with the employees and customers.
Bob was preceded in death by his son,
He is survived by his wife Terry Johnson
of Three Rivers; daughter Lynn Johnson of Pomona;
stepdaughter Kim Hagler-Auernheimer of Nashville,
Tenn.; son Robert D. “R.D.” Johnson of
Mason, Texas; stepsons Bill Hagler of Danville, Va.,
and Tom Hagler of Three Rivers; 18 grandchildren;
11 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews;
and a large blended family, all of whom were very
dear to him.
At Bob’s request, there will be
no services. Condolences may be sent to the family
at: P.O. Box 1, Kaweah, CA 93237.