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In the News - Friday, May 30, 2008


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)



County supervisor and State Assembly

races top local ballot

   In the Tuesday, June 3, primary election, some important races are being contested for Supervisor (District 1) and for the State Assembly seat vacated by termed-out Bill Maze. In the race for the State Assembly-34th District, the field of five candidates is as diverse as the district that includes Inyo County and portions of Tulare, Kern, and San Bernardino counties.
   At least four of the candidates in the two races are counting on name recognition. Supervisor Allen Ishida is hoping voters like the job he has done the last four years and will recognize his name as the incumbent in the voting booth.
   Ishida, a Lindsay resident, is facing challenger Guy Christian, a Visalian who is making his debut in politics. There’s no complicated formula in this race; the winner gets a four-year term on the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.
   In the race for the 34th District State Assembly seat, the top vote-getter will face the Democratic candidate in the Presidential Election on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
   Desmond Farrelly, who is well known as a conservative Democrat, automatically qualifies for the November ballot as the sole Democratic contender.
   Becky Maze, wife of Bill Maze, the current officeholder, is hoping that voters will recognize her familiar name as the right Tulare County candidate to continue the work of her husband.
   Connie Conway, the current chair of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, is a well-known name in Tulare County political annals. In addition to her own career in public service, she is the daughter of the late John Conway, a former Tulare County supervisor.
   She has parlayed her name recognition and her experience into a very formidable campaign war chest.

  “Our last financial report covers through May 17 and it shows my campaign received $250,125 in contributions,” Connie wrote in her campaign profile. “I have not borrowed any money and I don’t plan to. We had $53,809 on hand as of that date.”
   Campaign profiles for each of the candidates in the two local races are in this issue. No response was received from Bill Smith, who is running in the Republican race for State Assembly.

Meet the candidates:

Click here to read the profiles of the

California State Assembly-34th District candidates (pdf file)

Tulare County Supervisor,

District One (nonpartisan)

CANDIDATE: Guy Christian

   AGE: 61
   RESIDENT OF: East Visalia for the last 10 years. Prior to that we lived northeast of Ivanhoe for 22 years.
   OCCUPATION: District attorney investigator
   FAMILY: My wife, Patricia, and I were married in 1966; we have four children and 12 grandchildren. We are raising three of our grandchildren due to the passing of our daughter, Debbie, in 2004. Two of our children, Tim and Tammy, reside in Visalia along with their families and our youngest son, Robby, is serving as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy.
   EXPERIENCE IN GOVERNMENT: I have worked in state and county government as well as the private sector. During my service as a paramedic captain with California Division of Forestry/Orange County Fire Department, I served on the County Emergency Medical System Committee. For the last five years, I have served as chairman of the Tulare County In-home Support Services Advisory Committee.
   OTHER COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Assistant scoutmaster and varsity scout coach in the Boy Scouts of America. Youth advisor in my church. Associate member of the Tulare County Deputy Sheriffs Association. Member of the California Welfare Fraud Investigators Association and the Latino Peace Officers Association.
   INTERESTS/HOBBIES: Family activities are always at the top of my list. One of my hobbies is a koi pond. I also enjoy riding my motorcycle and playing golf.
   WHAT MAKES YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE? My employment as a fire captain, paramedic captain, and a supervising investigator has required me to make difficult decisions. Often, these decisions are made in split seconds while at other times they are made after in-depth research and study.
   Real leadership faces difficult tasks by moving forward, finding answers, and by doing the impossible with “outside of the box” thinking and actions. I believe my experience has prepared me to face the issues and act in a manner that best serves our communities.
   WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON IMPLEMENTATION OF A THREE RIVERS COMMUNITY PLAN? A community plan provides a direction from where we are now to where we will be in the future. This is the model of how a community shapes and guides its future growth and development.
   WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO ENHANCE TOURISM IN TULARE COUNTY AND, SPECIFICALLY, IN THREE RIVERS? We have three great national treasures at our doorsteps, Kings Canyon, Mineral King, and Sequoia National Park. Three Rivers is a unique community with one main artery for moving traffic in and out. Increased tourism will affect everyone from the business on Highway 198 to the family living on Old Three Rivers Drive or Alta Acres Drive. With that said, each city and community must have a voice in how and what level of tourism is promoted.
   WITH DECLINING BUDGETS, WHAT PROGRAMS WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO PRESERVE? I don’t believe “government efficiency” necessarily means doing more with a smaller budget. Before raising taxes, fees, or charges and before reducing services, we need to review where our money is spent and on what.
Having a law enforcement background, I know firsthand the seriousness of the gang problem. Safety is at the top of my list of priorities.
   Education and business are other priorities. Education is one of the best tools in which to fight poverty and works hand-in-hand with business. In order to attract new business we must have available in our community a workforce that can meet the needs of today’s business. Working closely with our local business community and area educators to support programs to meet these future needs is paramount to our future.

INCUMBENT: Allen Ishida

   AGE: 60
   RESIDENT OF: Rural Lindsay.
   OCCUPATION: County Supervisor, District 1
   FAMILY: Wife Wanda and three grown children, Brad, Ken, and Barbara.
   EXPERIENCE IN GOVERNMENT: California State Department of Agriculture (shipping point inspection service). U.S. Department of Agriculture (Farm Services Agency). Tulare County Board of supervisors (past chairman). Tulare County Association of Governments (chairman). Sierra Nevada Conservancy Board. Tulare County Water Commission. County Supervisors Association of California (and CSAC Agricultural and Natural Resources Policy Committee). Kings/Tulare Area Agency on Aging.
   OTHER COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Member of Eagles Lodge, Ducks Unlimited, Steering Committee to Stop SCE Route 1, Lindsay Chamber of Commerce, Exeter Chamber of Commerce, Visalia Chamber of Commerce, Kings/Tulare Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Peace Officers Association. Life member of Lindsay Cultural Arts and Sequoia Council of Boy Scouts-District 1 Advisory Committee.
   INTERESTS/HOBBIES: Hunting, fishing, camping, SCUBA diving, travel, and dancing with Wanda.
   WHAT MAKES YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE? Because of my past work experience and performance as your county supervisor. My first-term accomplishments are as follows: led the county delegation to Washington, D.C., to successfully lobby for freeze relief, successfully testified before Congress to double the law enforcement in the national forests for eradicating marijuana in the State of California, successfully testified before Congress for water mitigation resulting from the San Joaquin River Settlement, initiated the Tulare County Gang Task Force, reactivated the Tulare County Water Commission, actively supported the passage of Measure R, helped create the Tulare County Fire Department, and successfully increased the county’s intern and mentoring program. I have made appointments of Three Rivers residents to important county commissions and committees.
   WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON IMPLEMENTATION OF A THREE RIVERS COMMUNITY PLAN? The Three Rivers Community Plan is currently under review by Tulare County planning staff and community members from Three Rivers. There will be many opportunities for residents to comment on the proposed plan. My position on the plan is that it is Three Rivers’s plan, and I will be glad to offer any assistance and input when asked.
   WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO ENHANCE TOURISM IN TULARE COUNTY AND, SPECIFICALLY, IN THREE RIVERS? During my term as the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, I recommended a budget of approximately $100,000 for tourism and expanded the role of our information officer to devote half of his time to promote county tourism. The board approved this recommendation, and we will soon have a countywide tourism map on the web. Three Rivers and Sequoia National Park have been recently filmed to be included on this map.
   WITH DECLINING BUDGETS, WHAT PROGRAMS WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO PRESERVE? Tulare County is presently financially sound. I will protect the progress we have made in improving public safety. The board will continue to look at ways to improve the efficiency of delivering public services. I will avoid using general fund dollars to support underfunded state programs.

For the record

  Re: “Visitors can have a blast at Crystal Cave,” May 23, 2008— The article stated that Crystal Cave furnishes the largest single source of revenue for the Sequoia Natural History Association. In 2007, it was 65 percent from sales at stores and website; 24 percent from cave tours; and 11 percent other.

Holiday weekend weather

dampens outdoor plans

   The wacky weather that came calling last weekend just in time for the three-day Memorial Day holiday caused a change in plans for lots of visitors, but in the big picture was a welcome relief from a record dry spring season. With nary more than a drop or two throughout March and April, suddenly the skies opened up and dumped some impressive amounts of precipitation on Three Rivers and the nearby mountains.
   Areas in and around Three Rivers reported from .95 of an inch to more than 1.25 inches of rainfall for the 48-hour period that ended Monday, May 26. In elevations above 7,500 feet, at least six inches of snow turned spring in the mountains to winter.
   The Mineral King valley experienced six inches of snow, which discouraged about half its normal quota of opening weekend visitors. The cabin community and Cold Spring Campground housed only a few brave souls who brought winter gear to enjoy the unofficial kickoff weekend of the summer season.
   Only a few short days before the blast of wintry weather, Three Rivers was sweltering in triple-digit temperatures and the river was playing its nightly rolling thunder revue. Most local lodging establishments reported a day or two of “no vacancy” but many who visited Three Rivers cut short their weekend holiday.
   The latest round of precipitation brought Three Rivers to an season total of 18.42 inches at the 1,000-foot elevation. In the last half-century of keeping the local rainfall stats, the yearly average is just slightly more than 20 inches, so 2007-2008 is only a thunderstorm under the norm.
   The late-May washout was rare but certainly not unheard of in local late-season annals. On June 7, 2000, it rained a half-inch in town and snowed in the mountains. On June 15, 1995, it rained .64 in Three Rivers and snowed seven inches in Mineral King.
   In 1988, it was almost a replay of the past weekend. It rained appreciably on May 29 in Three Rivers and snowed seven inches in Mineral King.

Memorial Building is

this week’s target of vandals

   If you ask youth what they would like to see in their community most would answer a place to meet friends and socialize. Public places for young people to go at night simply do not exist in Three Rivers. So where do youth end up going for socializing after dark?
   Last Friday, several of the younger set apparently spent the evening loitering at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. They left their trash in the form of empty beer cartons and other personal items but also couldn’t resist the temptation to take something, too.
   Two padded pole covers were stolen, which are custom sleeves that fit on steel poles to keep parking lot users from backing into the rock work at the base of the roadside sign at the front of the property while minimizing potential damage to the vehicle.
The thefts of two of the three pole covers were discovered Saturday morning as employees were opening the building for a weekend event.

  “It’s annoying to lose something like this that probably won’t ever be used elsewhere,” said Nancy Brunson, the Memorial Building manager.
   Nancy said the pole covers are a custom-ordered item that were recently purchased. They are bright yellow and about three feet long.
   If anyone happens to see these items or would like to return the covers, there will be no questions asked: 561-2222.

Burns planned at Ash Mountain

   Three Rivers residents may notice some sporadic smoke in the Ash Mountain area of Sequoia National Park as early as Saturday, May 31. That day’s weather forecast looks like the best window of opportunity for National Park Service fire crews to eliminate some hazard fuels in the headquarters area.
   This part of the park’s hazard- reduction program targets several areas ranging in elevation from 1,700 to 3,000 feet in elevation. The four-week project as proposed includes some mechanical cutting as well as lighting some prescribed fires.
   If fire crews are given the green light Saturday, they will ignite segments below the maintenance yard and near the Research Center, Foothills Visitor Center, and the Buckeye housing area within the first week of the program.
   The overall project consists of nine relatively small segments between the Ash Mountain entrance station and Hospital Rock.
   In all these low elevation segments the ground fuel is grass and scattered brush that burns quickly and produces smoke for very short segments. Ignition days will be coordinated with the San Joaquin Unified Air Pollution Control District.
   For questions or more information about the local Park Service burn program, call 565-3703.


Carl Wheeler
1942 ~ 2008

   Carl Douglas Wheeler of Three Rivers died Saturday, May 24, 2008, in Three Rivers due to complications of a stroke. He was 65.
A viewing is scheduled for today (Friday, May 30), 2 to 7 p.m., at Evans-Miller-Guinn Exeter Chapel. A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church in Three Rivers on Saturday, May 31, at 2 p.m.
   Carl was born Nov. 10, 1942, in Thorney, Ark. When he was nine, his family relocated to Fullerton.
   Carl graduated from Fullerton Union High School and immediately went to work in the auto-body repair industry, which was the career he pursued for the rest of his life.
   Within a few years, he met his wife-to-be, Kay Osborn, who was literally the girl next door. The couple had two daughters, Jenny and Amy.
   The Wheeler family first discovered Three Rivers during a camping trip in 1970. After seven years of camping trips to the area, the family moved here in 1977.
   Carl opened his body and fender shop and, as his wife explained, he never had to advertise. The community kept him very busy!
In her own words, here are Kay’s remembrances of her husband:

  “Our little community here in Three Rivers has experienced a great loss as one of our most dearest and beloved neighbors, Carl Wheeler, went to be with Jesus.

  “Carl was one of the most caring, loving, and selfless people you would ever meet. When it came to helping others, Carl was there, whether it was getting your car out of a ditch, changing a friend’s car’s oil, rebuilding the little shack on a hill along North Fork Drive, or teaching a child how to play the guitar.

  “Carl was patient, kind, and gentle. The word ‘no’ was not in his vocabulary when it came to serving others. He was truly a wonderful man, husband, father, grandpa, and friend.
“All who knew or met Carl loved him. There’s a big ache in our hearts. He will truly be missed here on earth.”
Carl was preceded in death by his daughter, Jenny.
In addition to Kay, his wife of 43 years, Carl is survived by his daughter, Amy, and grandson Matthew.
In lieu of flowers, donations of financial support for the Wheeler family may be made to a Carl Wheeler memorial fund at the Three Rivers branch of the Bank of the Sierra.


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
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