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In the News - Friday, May 23, 2008

 

—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

 

Visitors can have a

blast at Crystal Cave

   One of Sequoia National Park’s premiere attractions was reopened at noon on Wednesday, May 21, just in time for the busy Memorial Day weekend. Crystal Cave had been closed since May 15 when employees working in the cave found what appeared to be live explosives.
   All visitors and cave employees were evacuated and the area remained closed until National Park Service explosives experts could evaluate the site that contained blasting caps and wires connected to several drilled holes but never detonated.
   The find, which apparently is a vestige of work done at the cave in the 1930s, is remarkable in that in all those all those years, and with the thousands who passed nearby, nobody noticed the explosives or anything out of the ordinary.
   On Tuesday, May 20, the NPS chief blaster set off a total seven small charges to get the old explosives to detonate. None had the desired effect so the aging explosives were determined to be inert and removed manually from the old drill holes.
   Crystal Cave is one of the most heavily visited areas in Sequoia National Park. Admission to the cave furnishes the largest single source of revenue to its operator, the Sequoia Natural History Association.

‘No Trespassing’ signs

up at SCE river sites

   Last summer, the North Fork sites, featuring some excellent swimming holes under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), were indefinitely closed. Now an increasing throng of day-use visitors are being denied access to another popular swimming hole on Kaweah River Drive near Edison Powerhouse No. 2.
   This past week, the swimming hole known as the “Edison Pool” or “Big Rock” has a newly-installed series of “No Trespassing” signs all along the parking lot and river access area that for many years has furnished a relatively safe place below the Dinely Bridge to enter the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River.
   According to Tom Sparks, a spokesperson for the Three Rivers Village Foundation, a group of area residents has recently been meeting with SCE officials in an effort to close the area. They advocated the closure because the swimming hole was attracting large groups of users, some who have trespassed on private property and posed traffic hazards for residents who live nearby.
   Steve Crigler, a local resident who has frequented the swimming hole regularly for the past several years, said he was disturbed by the fact that apparently the actions of a few can affect so many and create a situation where the swimming hole is closed.

  “There is a group of locals, and I count myself among that number, who police the area and pick up trash as our way to say thanks for the access and use of this beautiful stretch of river,” Crigler said. “It bothers me that local users don’t even get a chance to have some input in the policy.”
   Reportedly, the problems at the swimming hole have been recurring and come and go with the season. In 1996, a group of Exeter High School students, parked in dry grass nearby, sparked the Kaweah Fire that charred 5,000 acres and cost millions of dollars to suppress. Other incidents have been reported over the years related to illegal parking, excessive partying, trespassing, and littering at site.
   Whatever the outcome of the latest closure, one thing is for certain: Deputy Jim Fansett and any other officers who are assigned to the area are going to have a full-time job herding river swimmers from one location to another for the next couple of months as the public access to the river diminishes with each passing summer.

Unwelcome guests

on the prowl in 3R

   Last summer, the North Fork sites, featuring some excellent swimming holes under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), were indefinitely closed. Now an increasing throng of day-use visitors are being denied access to another popular swimming hole on Kaweah River Drive near Edison Powerhouse No. 2.
   This past week, the swimming hole known as the “Edison Pool” or “Big Rock” has a newly-installed series of “No Trespassing” signs all along the parking lot and river access area that for many years has furnished a relatively safe place below the Dinely Bridge to enter the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River.
   According to Tom Sparks, a spokesperson for the Three Rivers Village Foundation, a group of area residents has recently been meeting with SCE officials in an effort to close the area. They advocated the closure because the swimming hole was attracting large groups of users, some who have trespassed on private property and posed traffic hazards for residents who live nearby.
   Steve Crigler, a local resident who has frequented the swimming hole regularly for the past several years, said he was disturbed by the fact that apparently the actions of a few can affect so many and create a situation where the swimming hole is closed.

  “There is a group of locals, and I count myself among that number, who police the area and pick up trash as our way to say thanks for the access and use of this beautiful stretch of river,” Crigler said. “It bothers me that local users don’t even get a chance to have some input in the policy.”
   Reportedly, the problems at the swimming hole have been recurring and come and go with the season. In 1996, a group of Exeter High School students, parked in dry grass nearby, sparked the Kaweah Fire that charred 5,000 acres and cost millions of dollars to suppress. Other incidents have been reported over the years related to illegal parking, excessive partying, trespassing, and littering at site.
   Whatever the outcome of the latest closure, one thing is for certain: Deputy Jim Fansett and any other officers who are assigned to the area are going to have a full-time job herding river swimmers from one location to another for the next couple of months as the public access to the river diminishes with each passing summer.

Fly by

   In the past week, an air tanker from Porterville has made several retardant drops in the foothills east of Exeter to knock down stubborn grass fires. Some of that smoke drifted into the Kaweah canyon on Tuesday afternoon due to winds in the Central Valley. Foothills vegetation is tinder-dry and, with the onset of more warm weather, will create some volatile conditions.

WELLNESS, NATURALLY

Sequoia Mountain Healers

ACUPRESSURE: Relaxation is the prognosis

by Richard Blakemore


   Are you feeling stressed? Would you like to feel like you have more energy to do your daily activities?
   Would you like to feel more relaxed when handling life’s challenges? Do you have a pain that keeps bothering you?
   If the answer is yes to any of the above, perhaps ACUPRESSURE or gentle massage could be part of your health and wellness routine.
ACUPRESSURE — gentle finger pressure — follows patterns of “acu-points” in one’s body that open the natural energy flow. This helps the body to heal itself.
   As a certified practitioner and instructor of ACUPRESSURE, Richard Blakemore of Three Rivers has been of service to people of all ages. These clients have found relief from stress, tensions, and specific ailments, such as muscle and joint pain, headaches, itching, sunburn, abdominal distress, and many more physical and emotional challenges.
   Most clients experience increased levels of energy and relaxation. Name the problem, and there is probably a non-invasive treatment available. The client need only remove their shoes for the treatment to begin.
   With massage, the joints, muscles, and relaxation are the main focus. The force or depth of the massage is the client’s choice.
Massage may be for the whole body, or a specific area of concern. The client is always in charge.
   For more information or to make an appointment, call (559) 561-4435.
  Richard Blakemore, M.A., a Sequoia Mountain Healers member, has over 25 years experience. He has assisted many people to find comfort, have release from pain, and to feel more relaxed and energized.

CHAMBER CORNER


Local travel is goal of ‘Expo’


by Johanna Kamansky, SFCC president


   With the cost of gas rising sharply, coupled with a downturn in the economy, more and more people are searching for fun and exciting summer travel opportunities closer to home. On May 9, the Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce participated in an outstanding local tourism effort designed to encourage residents of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley to tour locally.
   Sponsored by the Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau and others, this event featured over 65 vendors who gathered at the Visalia Convention Center to promote vacation opportunities, itineraries, and exciting new adventures.
   The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce staffed a fabulous booth with assistance from a variety of its members. Ed Lafferty generously loaned the chamber his exhibit display board and his time staffing the booth. Diana Glass and Diana Jules loaned the chamber the beautiful DVD of Three Rivers and the parks they had created for the Chamber's home show in March. Chamber members Tom Marshall and Mark Anselmi generously provided eye-catching photographs to display.
   The Chamber’s booth was prominently located near the show's entrance along with other local booths, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Lake Kaweah, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Sequoia Natural History Association, Delaware North Companies, and Sequoia Sightseeing Tours.
   During the evening, the Chamber contacted hundreds of people, many of whom had been to the area within the last month and spending their tourism dollars. We expect more of this as the summer months pass and residents travel locally to enjoy all the wonderful qualities of Three Rivers and the surrounding gateway communities.
   For more information about tourism efforts and Chamber activities, call (559) 561-3300.

Teaching kids,

training dogs, helping people

by Dave Sandberg


   WE TEACH KIDS— It is generally accepted that the greatest predictor of future success is income and the level of education of the family. The encouragement and opportunities that families like these can provide make a huge difference.
   At the Assistance Service Dog Educational Center in Woodlake, we become the “family” that gives the same encouragement and provides many enriching experiences. In cooperation with Woodlake High School, we work to develop high levels of self-esteem by teaching our students skills they use every day.
   Cooperation and teamwork are stressed. Goal-setting and breaking down these goals into small achievable increments are part of the curriculum.
   Positive attitudes are encouraged. We provide a safe and supportive environment where teens can discuss their concerns, their goals, and their lives.
   We do all that we can to help the students understand that by avoiding drugs, delaying having a family, and staying in school they can have a better future.
   WE TEACH KIDS TO TRAIN DOGS— The skills that are required to successfully train assistance dogs are the same skills it takes to be successful in life. We have two classes consisting of two trainers, eight teens, and eight dogs so each team receives a lot of individual attention.
Our dogs require firm, loving attention. Clear, simple commands are necessary to communicate with the dogs.
It doesn’t take long for our teens to make good use of the choices learned during their anger-management lessons. Frustration and anger hampers the learning process. Praise works.
As the dogs respond and learn, the teens take pride in their accomplishments. They gain respect, confidence, and value as members of the group.
WE TEACH KIDS TO TRAIN DOGS TO HELP PEOPLE— Once the teens are taught and the dogs trained, the wonderful assistance service dogs are ready to be placed. These dogs do things such as pick up dropped objects, pull wheelchairs, provide stability and balance, open and close doors, turn switches off and on, and alert the client to things that require the client’s attention, and predict seizures.
   Overall, these dogs learn a combination of 90-plus commands. By using these commands, the human companion can communicate his wishes to the dog. Many dogs are capable of learning the commands, but it takes a great deal more to be an assistance service dog.
   A service dog must be calm. It cannot be aggressive, but it cannot be shy. It must be able to respond to new situations in a way that benefits its human. Devotion and service define these remarkable dogs.
   The ASDEC program is the vision of Donna and Gerald Whittaker, who are improving the lives of Woodlake High School students while providing service dogs for people with special needs.
   The fourth class will graduate Tuesday, May 27, 6 p.m., at the Woodlake Memorial Building (across from Woodlake High School). Please be a part of this exciting and uplifting event.
   For more information, call Donna or Gerald Whittaker at 564-7297.
  Dave Sandberg of Three Rivers volunteers with his wife, Barbara, at the Assistance Service Dog Educational Center in Woodlake.

Playschool goes on the road

by Melissa Alberti-Araujo


   The “Our Place” playschool kids have been very busy lately. There have been two educational and fun field trips around the local area.
   In April, about a dozen small children and their grownup companions descended on the Sierra Garden Center. Owner Dave Ramirez planned the special day.
   First, he gave all of the kids a tour of the nursery, allowing them to see, smell, and touch the lush inventory. He also gave an entertaining and age-appropriate talk on the plants and flowers.
   The tour ended with each child choosing a beautiful flower. Then, using their hands to scoop potting soil into small pots, they transplanted their flower and took it home.
   The kids also had an incredible time at the Potwisha grinding holes in Sequoia National Park. Eme Price showed the children how to grind natural pigments and then use them to dye cotton fibers.    After coloring the strings, they were braided into friendship bracelets.
   Later, the group took a walk along the Kaweah River. A picnic lunch consisted of semi-indigenous foods, and the children were taught about the Native Americans who previously lived here.
   At 10 a.m. today (Friday, May 23), the Pirate Ladies are back! It is water day at the “Our Place” park, guaranteeing fun for everyone.  Bring a swimsuit, sunscreen, and a towel and join the fun. As always, every child accompanied by an adult is welcome, and all activities are free.
   The children are very fortunate to be raised in this community that puts a high value on the learning activities available for our smallest citizens. In particular, the group is very appreciative of the Three Rivers Woman’s Club for their monthly donation that helps fund the activities and Amy Dolcourt-McElroy for her boundless energy in planning and scheduling all of the fun and educational opportunities, as well as her resourcefulness in stretching our budget just as far as it can go.
   Melissa Alberti-Araujo is a Three Rivers mom.

 

 
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
editor@kaweahcommonwealth.com
© Copyright 2003-2008 The Kaweah Commonwealth