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In the News - Friday, June 6, 2008


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)


Only in the June 6 print edition:

Woodlake High School Class of 2008:

Senior photos • Scholarships • Awards


Ishida retains

county supervisor seat

   Supervisor Allen Ishida, the District 1 incumbent, won by a large margin in the Tuesday, June 3, primary over Guy Christian, the challenger who was making his first attempt to run for office. As of Thursday, June 5, several thousand ballots countywide still remained uncounted, but it’s not likely to affect the outcome in the District 1 race.
   Supervisor Ishida received 73.97 percent of the vote to Christian’s 25.50 percent. Christian said it was difficult for him to devote the necessary time it would take to unseat the incumbent because he’s been so busy with his county job as a fraud investigator.
   Supervisor Ishida and his wife, Wanda, hosted a victory celebration in Lindsay on election night. Ishida said the results in the non-partisan race were a clear mandate that District 1 voters want to continue the effective leadership that he brings to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors.
   The newly re-elected District 1 supervisor will make his next local appearance at Monday’s Town Hall meeting. He said that his second four-year term will just be more business as usual and an opportunity to continue several works in progress.
   One of those works is negotiating a new county-wide ambulance contract, a topic that he will address at Monday’s meeting in Three Rivers.
   The Republican race for State Assembly in the 34th District was a more traditional primary battle between four candidates; two women from the District’s Westside versus two men from the Eastside. Connie Conway, the current chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, waged a very effective campaign and easily outdistanced her three opponents.
   Conway received 50.71 percent of the vote; Bob Smith tallied 26.14 percent finishing a distant second. Becky Maze, the wife of Bill Maze, the current officeholder, finished third with 20.12 percent. Jon Zellerhoffer, from Tecopa, received 422 votes or 2.84 percent.
   Conway waged a very effective media blitz that included a mix of TV and print ads touting some very impressive endorsements.
   Among those endorsees was Congressman Devin Nunes who ran unopposed in the 21st district. He like Conway is expected to win election on the November ballot against their respective democratic challengers.
   As currently drawn, the 34th State Assembly District and the 21st Congressional District are both solid Republican bastions. Registered Republicans in the assembly district outnumber Democrats 45 percent to 34 percent; 16 percent are unaffiliated.
   According to Paul Sampietro, county registrar of voters, everything went very smoothly in this primary election although there was a fire at one polling place in Visalia and a couple of precincts initially received the wrong ballots. These glitches, he said, were easily corrected.

  “There were a couple of close races like the one for the seat on the Porterville City Council and the elementary bond for Stone Corral,” Sampietro said. “We’ll have to count all the ballots before we can be sure of the results in those two races.”
   As of Thursday morning, June 5, about 7,000 ballots still remained to be counted. The final countywide voter turnout is expected to be about 25 percent.

Town meeting highlights

ambulance, public safety

   The monthly Town Hall meeting hosted by the Three Rivers Village Foundation returns on Monday, June 9, with a busy agenda and featuring some urgent issues. The meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Three Rivers Memorial Building.
   Newly re-elected Supervisor Allen Ishida will present an update on the negotiations to implement a new countywide ambulance services contract. A recent incident last Sunday evening underscores part of the problem relative to response times.
According to the incident log at Three Rivers Fire Station, Tulare County Engine 14 responded to a medical aid at 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 1, in the Slick Rock vicinity. According to the Tulare County Sheriff’s central dispatch, there is no record of any call for that time or date.
   At approximately 9 p.m., an ambulance and a Tulare County Sheriff’s unit were both observed at Slick Rock, apparently providing assistance to a houseboat that was being hoisted from the submerged roadway.

  “Calls in the Slick Rock area are supposed to be relayed first to the Three Rivers ambulance,” said Sandy Owen, ambulance board president. “On Sunday evening, we were not notified of a medical aid or any incident at Slick Rock.”
   Also on the agenda is another opportunity for Steve Larson, a recreation planner with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to discuss the future of the North Fork sites. The BLM held a public meeting in Three Rivers last month but due to lack of publicity it was poorly attended.
   The popular BLM river access sites were closed last year and the users are now going to other local swimming holes. There is no doubt that these former BLM users, mostly youth from Valley communities, as well as some known gang members, are frequenting several other river sites in and around Three Rivers.
   As temperatures begin to heat up, the pressure on river destinations will escalate. This past week, it was reported that a local teen was pulled over by an out-of-town sheriff’s deputy after she drove away from Slicky.
   On Monday, a mêlée broke out between Valley youths and Three Rivers locals at Slicky. The fight started after locals rebuked the visitors for throwing beer cans in the river.
   These recent incidents are only the tip of the iceberg of larger public-safety issues that traditionally escalate during the busy visitor season. Jim Fansett, resident deputy, and department officials from Visalia headquarters have been invited to address the local public safety concerns.
   Alexandra Picavet, public information officer, will update summer season activities in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The Sequoia Shuttle, which began service on May 21, is off to an inauspicious start.
   During the freaky Memorial Day weekend weather, a number of the shuttles returned to Visalia due to unsafe road conditions. Then the next week, a shuttle driver picked up some foreign tourists who were ticketed as passengers on another tour service. Visalia officials hope to iron out all the bugs soon before the real onslaught of tourists begins.


Kenneth Milton Savage Jr.

   Kenneth Milton Savage Jr. of Kaweah died at his home on Wednesday, May 28, 2008, after an extended illness, just a quarter-mile from where he was born. He was 82.
   A graveside service will be held at the Three Rivers Cemetery on Monday, June 16, at 11 a.m.
   Milton was born on the Savage Ranch in Kaweah on Jan. 22, 1926, to Kenneth and Myrtle (Barton) Savage. He was raised in Kaweah and Three Rivers and graduated from Three Rivers School and Woodlake High School.
   Milton’s paternal grandfather, Fred S. Savage, was a young man when he traveled on his own from Liverpool, England, on a harrowing journey around Cape Horn to join the Kaweah Colony. He nearly starved while making his way to the U.S. and upon reaching San Diego, he walked the rest of the way to Kaweah. But even though he had paid his $10 membership fee by mail a year or so earlier, upon his arrival in Kaweah in 1893, he discovered that the colony had disbanded.
   With great vision and perseverance, Fred established the Savage Apple Ranch in Kaweah. The ranch became known far and wide for its apples and fresh cider for two generations, as Fred’s sons, Kenneth (Milton’s father) and Alan, eventually took over the ranch’s operation.
   By the age of 14, Milton knew how to apply a diamond hitch and pack mules. He was a backcountry mule packer and horse wrangler for the Buckmans’ pack station at Mineral King where he met his future wife, Carol Hinds, who was employed in the resort’s dining room. Milton later worked during summers for Lee Maloy at the Wolverton Pack Station in Sequoia National Park, both before and after marrying Carol.
   While he was still a senior in high school, Milton joined the U.S. Navy. He served for two years during World War II in the Pacific onboard the USS Tallulah, a T2 tanker.
Following his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Milton returned home and, that November, married Carol at her parents’ Exeter home.
   The couple made their home in San Luis Obispo while Milton attended Cal Poly, where he was president of his senior class. After receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there, he embarked on a career as a teacher and school administrator that spanned 36 years and included several institutions, from 1952 until his retirement in 1988.
   He began his career as a high school ag teacher at LeGrand in Merced County and Strathmore. He was an ag teacher at West Hills College in Coalinga before becoming the department head, then dean of men. He was also the first superintendent of Yosemite High School in Oakhurst and an administrator at Modesto Junior College.
Milton had a deep commitment to Mineral King, having spent many childhood summers there with his grandmother, Mary Barton, in her one-room cabin that was built in 1906. Today, the Savage family occupies a cabin that they built in 1959 on the site of the old Barton cabin.
   In 1965, Milton became the founding president of the Mineral King District Association, which was organized in opposition to a proposed development by the Disney Corporation that was threatening Mineral King. This organization was instrumental in the legislation that led to the inclusion of Mineral King into Sequoia National Park in 1978 and, more than 40 years after MKDA was founded, the legislation in 2005 that allowed the current permittees of the historic cabin communities and their heirs to continue as leaseholders. In effect, Milton was instrumental in ensuring preservation of the district that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
   In 1997, Milton returned to Kaweah. He and Carol moved into their new home located on part of the original Savage Ranch property.
   Milton was a member of the Backcountry Horsemen of California, editor of the group’s newsletter, and chairman of its education committee. He was a member of the Tulare County Farm Bureau and also served as a Mineral King Preservation Society docent during the summers at the Alles Cabin at Atwell’s Mill, where he shared stories of his lifelong friendship with and knowledge of the Alles-Ogilvie families.
   He was also a member of the Mineral King Preservation Society and past president of the Three Rivers Historical Society. And wherever life took him, Milton remained true to his roots, spending time at his Mineral King cabin every summer, returning home to live out his days at Kaweah, and keeping a string of pack mules and traveling with them into the Sierra backcountry.
   Milton was preceded in death by his son, Kay, and a younger brother, William Merritt Savage.
   In addition to Carol, his wife of 61 years, Milton is survived by three sons, Jeff, Hal, and Mark Savage; daughter Polly Savage; his youngest brother, Stoney Savage of Visalia; his cousin, Jim Barton of Three Rivers; 10 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and many other cousins, nieces, and nephews.
   In lieu of flowers, remembrances in honor of Milton may be made to the Mineral King District Association, P.O. Box 1904, Canyon Country, CA 91386-1904, and Hospice of Tulare County Foundation, 900 W. Oak Ave., Visalia, CA 93291 (phone 733-0642).


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
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