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In the News - Friday, JUNE 29, 2007

Lemon Cove Fire Station

back in service

Tulare County takes over

for Cal Fire this weekend

   There won’t be any noticeable changes in Three Rivers because Tulare County personnel have been on duty for several weeks and sharing local responsibilities with Cal Fire. In other parts of the county, like Lemon Cove, the takeover by the county’s new fire department will mean dramatic changes.
   In fact, the Sunday, July 1, takeover marks the return of firefighters to the local station and the emergency coverage that Lemon Cove residents have done without but view as vital.

  “It’s great to see the fire department return after CDF [California Department of Forestry] closed the station a couple of years ago,” said Margaret Disinger, a longtime local resident and owner of the Lemon Cove-Sequoia Campground. “It will greatly improve the emergency response time here, in Three Rivers, and in all the nearby communities.”
   To mark the occasion, the public is invited to a grand reopening reception on Sunday, July 1, at 2 p.m., at the Lemon Cove Fire Station. During a special ceremony, residents will officially welcome firefighters back to Lemon Cove’s Station No. 13.
   Several VIP speakers will attend, including county Supervisor Allen Ishida and Gary Sunderland, Tulare County fire chief. For more information, call 592-5029.
   In other fire-related news, Chief Ed Wristen of Cal Fire’s Tulare County Unit has announced his resignation. The resignation is effective 8 a.m. Sunday when Cal Fire officially hands over its protection responsibilities.

3R attorney appointed

county Superior Court judge

   Growing up in Three Rivers there are lots of decisions. What swimming hole do I try today? Should I work in the park this season or maybe take an extra class in summer school? What college would be the best fit for a Three Rivers kid?
   Apparently Kathryn (Thorn) Montejano, who was raised in Three Rivers, developed an astute ability for making decisions. Last week, the longtime Three Rivers resident was appointed to the judges’ bench of the Tulare County Superior Court by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
   Montejano, 54, has served as a supervising attorney since 1993 in the Tulare County District Attorney’s office. Her job for the two years prior to returning home in 1993 was as a law clerk with the Sacramento County district attorney.
   Tulare County’s newest judge earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Chico. She then earned a law degree (Juris Doctorate) from Lincoln Law School (Sacramento).
   Montejano is a Republican and fills one of the new positions created by Senate Bill 56. Her entry level compensation for the judgeship is $171,648.
   Kathy becomes the second Three Rivers-raised attorney in recent years to be appointed to the Tulare County Superior Court. Lloyd Hicks was appointed in 2003 and continues to serve in that position.

3R Market sells

winning lottery ticket

   It was a night that started like any other for a Three Rivers man who has been playing the California lottery for as long as there have been games to play. What was extraordinary on Monday, June 18, however, was his favorite numbers — 6-22-29-34-36 — matched up in the Fantasy Five for the biggest lotto win ever claimed in Three Rivers.

  “I knew it was a winner as soon as I checked the numbers,” said the 48-year-old man, who asked to remain anonymous and admits he could really use some unexpected cash.
   The man, who actually split $185,462 with another winner from Southern California, said that after federal income taxes of 25 percent, what’s left will be used to pay off some nagging bills. He said he has won on several occasions in the past but only a few hundred dollars.
   The winning ticket was sold by Sookie Kim, who with her husband, Sam, owns and operates Three Rivers Market. The vendor of the winning ticket receives .05 percent, which adds up to $4,636.55.

  “I actually like the scratcher games like bingo or crosswords more than playing my lucky numbers,” said the recent winner. “The time and thought involved it takes to seeing if you are a winner makes playing a lot more fun.”

Arts Alliance hosts

‘Drumming Up the Arts’ celebration

   When you think of “art” do you think just painting?  But Three Rivers is home to weavers, wood turners, graphic artists, sculptors, jewelry-makers, ceramic artists and, yes, painters, all practitioners of various forms of the visual arts. 
   And going beyond visual arts, Three Rivers has resident musicians of world-class quality.  Many know of the High Sierra Jazz Band. Their music has entertained thousands, and the annual Jazzaffair has featured them and other great musicians from around the world. 
   Again, there's more: Are you acquainted with Wadaba Kourouma, a Malinke drummer, who now resides in Three Rivers?  Originally from Guinea, Africa, he learned tribal music from his elders and has gone on to teach and play throughout the world. 
   Keio Ogawa, Wadaba’s wife, is another percussion performer and teacher. Keio has her own group and has released several CDs. 
   These two master drummers have played, taught, inspired, and created “African Village Drum Adventure,” a travel-adventure destination in Guinea. 
   The Three Rivers Drum Circle is an entity with a life of its own. Meeting every Sunday night behind the Cort Gallery, this group can range from small and intimate to a rousing group gathered around a fire with drums, dancing, and energy galore. And, guitarists, pianists, singers, poets, dancers, and more also live in our midst. 
   The Arts Alliance of Three Rivers is determined to be a force supporting all the arts. They have recently attracted performing artists to their group and have scheduled a “Drumming Up the Arts” celebration for Tuesday, July 10, at St. Anthony Retreat.
   A buffet dinner will be served at 6 p.m.  Call 561-4417 by Sunday, July 1, and pay $15 per person at the event. A free performance by Keio Ogawa and friends will begin at 7 p.m. 
   The community is invited to attend and participate. The new officers and board of the Arts Alliance will be present and will offer their ideas for promoting all the various arts and artists — visual, performing, and theatre — in Three Rivers. Persons attending will also have the opportunity to join the Arts Alliance and lend their personal support.

Sequoia shuttle

adds same-day service

   Visalia transit officials have implemented a new policy where shuttle riders may now book some trips on the same day. Prior to these changes that went into effect Wednesday, June 27, all shuttle riders were required to make reservations at least one day in advance.
   There were some scheduling problems in the shuttle’s first month but overall, according to Alexandra Picavet, parks’ spokesperson, the new service is off to a good start.
   The summer shuttle service, which connects Visalia with Three Rivers and the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park, has not been without problems for Three Rivers riders. Leslie Caviglia, Visalia assistant city manager, said that because drivers cannot take aboard riders without reservations, there was no way to accommodate Three Rivers riders who booked late or were unaware of the reservation system.
   Visalia transit officials designed the system to work exclusively from requests processed via the official website. The problems occurred when drivers failed to stop for passengers at Three Rivers stops.
   The new reservation policy should alleviate the previous problems. Reservations for the 10 a.m. departure from Visalia (with pick up in Three Rivers at about 10:30 a.m.) may now be made the same day until 9 a.m. Earlier departures must be made prior to 11 p.m. the previous day.
   Other alternatives for same-day riders still may be booked on the 1 p.m. departure and the 6:30 p.m. shuttle that returns from Giant Forest to Three Rivers and Visalia. Make reservations at:


Marian Sill
1922 ~ 2007

   Margaret Marian Sill, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Tuesday, June 12, 2007, in Visalia. She was 85.
   On Feb. 15, 1922, Marian was born to Harvey and Pearl Sill in Exeter. She was a woman of extensive talents who began her formal piano training at age five.
   Her love of classical music stayed with her throughout her entire life. As a young woman, she was recognized as an important classical pianist who performed numerous concerts with the Tulare County and Sacramento symphonies. Her music career continued for many years as a church organist and pianist.
   While earning a degree in Music from the College of the Pacific (Stockton), Marian met Allan Philp, whom she married on Oct. 16, 1943. As the wife of a minister, she made her home in Corte Madera, as well as Bend, Ore.; Watsonville, Visalia, and Sacramento.
   Marian and Allan enjoyed traveling and, throughout the years, were able to explore Hong Kong, the British Isles, as well as Japan, where they made lifelong friends and developed an enduring interest in Japanese art and culture.
   Upon retirement in 1990, the couple moved to Three Rivers, where their family designed and built a home in the spirit of the Japanese culture that Marian so loved. In 2001, Marian and Allan moved to Quail Park Retirement Home in Visalia, where they were founding members.
   Marian’s lifelong love and appreciation of beauty, whether expressed in music, flower arrangements, poetry, or simply in her daily life, was known by many and will always be remembered with fondness.
   Marian is survived by her loving and devoted husband of 64 years, Allan; sons Mark and his wife, Diana, of Phoenix, Ariz., and David and his wife, Jane, of Three Rivers; grandchildren Stacy, Derek, Zachary, and Joel; great-grandchildren Macy, Jenesa, and Paige; and many friends.
   In lieu of flowers, the family requests that remembrances be made to the donor’s favorite charity.

Wanda Kocher
1928 ~ 2007

   Wanda Marie Kocher of Woodlake died Thursday, June 14, 2007. She was 78.
   On June 26, 1928, Wanda was born in Monrovia to Fred and Valeria Bishop, the second of three children. In 1948, she met her husband-to-be, Harry James Kocher. He had served as an Army medic overseas in World War II, and they met when both were volunteering at an immunization clinic for other servicemen being sent overseas.
   The couple was married in 1949 and made their home in Covina, where they raised their three children. Wanda was very involved in her children’s activities, serving as a Girl Scout leader, Little League treasurer, and Catholic Teen Club advisor.
   Later, Harry and Wanda both worked at Intercommunity Hospital in Covina, where she had returned to her career as a practical nurse. They retired in 1990 and moved to Woodlake.
   Harry and Wanda loved to travel and toured most of the United States. They volunteered at the local food bank and Central California Blood Center. They were members of St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Woodlake.
   Wanda was preceded in death by her husband of more than 45 years, Harry, in 1995; her parents; and her older brother, Glen.
   She is survived by her sister, Jeannine; son Jim and wife Linda; son Paul and wife Lynn; daughter Nadine and husband Jeff; and five grandchildren.
   A rosary and mass were held last week. Interment was at the Woodlake District Cemetery.

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