In the News -
Friday, JUNE 23, 2006
River's Middle Fork during Spring 2006 runoff.
It has occupied the northeast corner of Sunset and Sierra
drives for the past nine months. Now more than 100 Three Rivers residents
and local business owners have signed a petition to have it removed.
“That blue pig
is an eyesore and it certainly doesn’t belong next to a scenic highway,”
said Dave Paradis of Visalia, who owns the Sierra Lodge on the opposite
corner across Sunset Drive. “It’s just not something we want
visitors to remember about Three Rivers.”
The unusual roadside attraction is actually a blue camper
shell fashioned in the shape of a pig. It was created last summer at the
site and transported for display at the annual Burning Man Festival in
The property owner who commissioned the sculpture is William
Logan, a lawyer and longtime Three Rivers resident. He says that the pig’s
beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that Paradis would be surprised
to learn how many tourists snap a photo or visit the small office at the
site to inquire about the story behind the curiosity.
Paradis maintains that Logan’s permit for an office
on the property does not allow for the storage of the pig and believes
that it is intended to mock law-enforcement officers. Logan says that
he is related to a former under-sheriff of Tulare County and it is not
meant to be disrespectful of the law.
“The purpose of
all art is to engender controversy,” Logan said. “What about
the red bull [Kaweah General Store] or the Paul Bunyan with Babe the blue
ox [Three Rivers Historical Museum]?”
Logan said he is vegetarian and might be offended by these
roadside works of art. But, he said, they, like his pig, should have the
right to exist wherever.
The idea for the blue pig came after a suggestion from a
friend to build the artistic shell as a tribute to an old dog who passed
away a few years ago. The name of that beloved dog, Logan said, was “Blue
Paradis and his supporters have petitioned the Tulare County
Board of Supervisors to have the pig removed. Although the blue pig might
be considered a “visual intrusion” along a “scenic highway”
corridor, there appears to be no legal requirement that the pig be removed.
Park road project
Anyone who’s driven the 80-year-old road knows that
the upper portion of the Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park above
Big Fern Springs is in woeful shape.
But what the Park Service, the Federal Highways Administration,
and the one contractor that is realistically bidding for the job can’t
agree on is how many millions it should cost. Another major contention
is how and when traffic will be permitted to flow once the work is started.
The planned roadwork has already been delayed two years until
the summer of 2007. The project specifications have been entirely redrawn
with the hope that the contractor who completed the last phase would even
bid on the next job.
The road construction, in very steep terrain above 5,000
feet, requires special expertise and manpower. Further complicating the
project is the building boom in the San Joaquin Valley that has all the
experienced outfits in short supply.
Bids were opened last week and are being reviewed by federal
officials in Denver.
Road closures specified in the contract call for only two
alternatives, both of which have implications on local tourism. Schedule
A, with its one-hour delays and traffic passage at the top of each hour
including weekends, is the lesser of two evils.
Schedule B would allow the road to be closed for four hours
at a time each weekday with passage of traffic allowed only from 5 to
8 a.m., 12 to 1 p.m., and from 5 to 9 p.m. On weekends, traffic would
be permitted to pass from 5 to 9 p.m. only.
Adding to the devastating effect of these closures would
be special signs placed in Lemon Cove that could confuse motorists into
thinking the closures may be occurring in Three Rivers. Whatever
schedule is chosen, the work is expected to be ongoing from Memorial Day
to Labor Day and beyond.
Front and center is the new Sequoia Foothills Chamber of
Commerce that plans to play a role in the process. On Thursday, June 29,
the fledgling chamber will celebrate the grand opening of its new visitor
center at the Three Rivers Historical Museum. That’s the first step
toward what will prove to be a very challenging inaugural year.
From Domes to Solar Homes:
New Visalia tract is showcase
In an industry dictated by the bottomline and where quality
might be sacrificed for quantity, Dave Wind, a homebuilder from Three
Rivers, is like a cool blast of fresh air. From the outset of a career
that has spanned three decades and more than 300 homes, Wind has always
had conservation in mind.
Wind said he started to think seriously about conservation
while he was waiting in those long gas lines during the 1972 oil crisis.
He made the connection to building a short time later as a Fresno State
“I guess it started
when I became acquainted with the work of R. Buckminster Fuller and began
to get interested in geodesic domes,” Wind said. “My first
business venture in building was at age 25 when I started a company to
market greenhouses that could be built from dome kits.”
It wasn’t long before Wind envisioned Fuller’s
dome as a Three Rivers home. The first kit he actually built for this
type of construction is the building that houses Heart’s Desire,
a local gift shop on Sierra Drive.
“I sold another
kit to Dr. Harry Ison, so there were a couple of my domes built in Three
Rivers,” Wind recalls.
During the 1970s, while Wind peddled dome kits, his principal
job was as a housing inspector for Fresno County. He later became the
county’s energy housing director and in those jobs learned the dos
and don’ts of the building industry.
By the mid-1980s, Wind quit his county job and started his
building company in Visalia — Sundowner Homes. As one of the area’s
most respected builders, he has seen it all.
“In the past 20
years there have been three cycles in the local building industry,”
Wind said. “Although it has slowed down some in 2006, the last two
years have been very good.”
Wind admits his success, that included being named “Tulare
County Builder of the Year” in 1994 and 2005, would not have been
possible without his trusted associate Pam Lockhart.
Lockhart, who also lives in Three Rivers, owns and operates
Buyer’s Choice Real Estate and is handling the sales of his latest
48-home tract, Sierra Ventana.
He says: “I bought a lot from Pam in 1987 to build
a house and she has represented me ever since.”
She says: “Dave has taken ‘green building’
up a notch. We are very proud of the fact that Sierra Ventana is the first
all-solar-powered tract to be built in the Visalia market.”
Wind says the base solar system is standard on all 48 homes
being built north of Highway 198 on Visalia’s eastern boundary.
But this project represents a lot more than an initial savings of 25 percent
on energy costs.
like all Sundowner Homes, is a product that epitomizes the difference
between a builder and a construction company,” Wind says. “There
are lots of homes being built that when the construction is done, the
company leaves town.”
Besides backing every house he builds, Wind has already purchased
one of the homes in Sierra Ventana, an adult community for age 55 and
“These homes have
all the upgrades that custom home-buyers ask for like tile floors, huge
soaking tubs, custom maple cabinets, and private courtyards all standard,”
Wind says. “Baby boomers don’t want to give up quality they
just want to give up the maintenance.”
Lending a unique touch of class to the resort collection
floor plans ranging from 1,264 to 1,764 square feet are fireplaces with
surrounding tile crafted by Kevin Yee of Three Rivers. His renowned work
lends a distinctly artistic flair to each living room.
Even the lighting employs energy efficient fixtures. Homebuyers
can also choose from an array options including stainless steel appliances,
granite counter tops, and solar electric systems that boost energy savings
Wind sees Sierra Ventana as the crowning achievement of a
“We like to tell
prospective buyers that these homes were 55 years in the making,”
Wind says. “I guess some thing are worth waiting for.”
newest CD release
After a long journey of 32 years together, ZZAH will hold
an event to celebrate the local release of their latest CD, “Higher
This CD, the group’s seventh, is special because it
is recorded as a reunion with members Ron Gibian, percussionist, and Mike
Gruwell, bassist. Other members of ZZAH, a contemporary jazz group based
in Visalia, are keyboardist Richard Garoogian, guitarist Rod Borges, and
drummer/percussionist, Mark Shuklian, of Three Rivers.
The band is inviting their family of fans to join them in
the celebration tonight (Friday, June 23), at 8 p.m., at Le Chai’s
wine lounge, 101 W. Main Street in Visalia. Amy Shuklian, comedian, will
The international release date for the CD is July. The cover
art was designed by Three Rivers artist Denise Hartley.
CDs may be purchased locally at The Kaweah Commonwealth office or on Amazon.com
For more information, call 561-1333 or 816-6220.
Sandra Belle Ware of Three Rivers died Thursday, June 15,
2006, at Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia. She was 65.
Sandy was born in Exeter on Nov. 19, 1940, to William J.
and Lidabelle Ruby Wylie. She was raised in Three Rivers and graduated
from Woodlake High School in 1958.
Sandy was an interior designer, owning two decorator shops
for 20 years and two carpet stores. She also was a bookkeeper for 40 years.
In recent years, Sandy returned to Three Rivers to live with
her parents and assist them on their Blossom Drive ranch. In partnership
with her mom, she raised emus and rheas and their associated products.
Sandy considered the giant birds as part of her family and
loved all animals. Recently, she celebrated the birth of 12 rheas, the
first hatch in six years.
Sandy was preceded in death by her father, Bill Wylie, in
January 2005, and her mother, Lidabelle Wylie, in December 2005.
She is survived by her daughter, Sheri Dawn Ware; her niece,
Lori Bailey, and family; her nephew, Brad Wylie, and family; a great aunt;
several cousins; and (the birds) Tiger, Blanca, Jake, Mirimba, Baby A.,
Cool, Pretty, Itsy, Bitsy, Blue, Shorty and the gang, Charlie, Charlie’s
Girl, Georgie, Charlotte and the clan, Big Bird, and Sophie and the girls.
No services are scheduled per Sandy’s wishes.
1922 ~ 2006
Gertrud Borowski of Three Rivers died Thursday, June 15,
2006, in Visalia. She was 84.
Gertrud was born in Ulm, Germany, to Alios and Margarete
Buchbauer on June 1, 1922. She was raised in Germany.
In 1944, she married Albert Borowski. With their young daughter, they
immigrated to the United States. They settled in California and lived
for many years in the Clovis area.
In 1993, Gertrud was preceded in death by her husband of
nearly 50 years, Albert. In 1998, she moved to Three Rivers to be near
Gertrud is survived by her daughter, Ursula DeLeenheer, of
Three Rivers; two sisters; and many friends.
Services will be private.