In the News -
Friday, JULY 7, 2006
for pot wars
When it comes to the management of public lands in Tulare
County, there is no greater threat than that of marijuana cultivation.
In addition to public safety issues, the wanton destruction of resources
has already cost U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars.
Last month, it was Sen. Dianne Feinstein who announced that
the Interior Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2007 would contain $300,000
earmarked for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. The timing
for the appropriation couldn’t be better because, since 2000, the
agency has expended hundreds of thousands of dollars raiding gardens on
federal lands and has only been reimbursed for a small percentage of the
Sheriff Bill Wittman estimates that the marijuana task force
operating in Tulare County since 2004 has eradicated pot plants with a
street value of $3.6 billion. The majority of this cultivation occurs
in commercial operations overseen by gang cartels, Wittman said.
Eric Coyne, Tulare County media officer, said the Board of
Supervisors has made the escalating pot problem a priority. Steve Worthley,
board chairman, and Supervisor Connie Conway made a recent trip to Washington,
D.C., to lobby for federal assistance to reimburse the Sheriff’s
Supervisor Allen Ishida was also in Washington and testified
before the Senate Appropriations Committee.
on federal lands is a huge public safety issue,” said Ishida. “The
Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Wittman are very concerned. I don’t
want to read in the headlines that a hiker has been shot by a gang member
because they stumbled onto a marijuana patch while visiting Sequoia National
Sheriff Wittman said he was very appreciative of the $300,000
that was approved on June 29. The money, he said, would allow the department
to dedicate more manpower to combat the drug cartels that are operating
in several remote areas of the county.
Coyne also announced that the 2006-2007 state budget contains
$4.3 million for Tulare County roads.
“That road money
was much more than we expected and is indicative of a budget that overall
is a little better for the counties,” Coyne said. “The county
should realize those dollars in the next few weeks. That money could be
turned into asphalt by the end of 2006.”
Supervisor Ishida said that on Wednesday, July 19, St. Anthony
Retreat will host a special reception for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
Ishida serves as a director of that organization and will lead a tour
earlier that day of District 1 (Three Rivers) sites for potential grant
The reception is open to the public and is an opportunity
for the Three Rivers community to get more involved with the new conservancy.
For more information, call Supervisor Ishida, 733-6271.
Cyber Café logs on
When Tony and Pat Moreno opened the Three Rivers Cyber Café
one year ago they were faced with letting their customers know what they
“At first, I couldn’t
believe all the folks who thought we served some kind of cuisine in here,”
Tony recalls. “No, unfortunately, we are not a restaurant but rather
an onramp for what I like to call the information superhighway.”
And although the café does offer soft drinks, coffee,
and snacks, the Morenos admit at first they weren’t quite sure where
that road was leading in terms of owning a computer-based business with
a storefront. From the outset, a stream of visitors from nearly every
European country and lots of other places stopped by to log
on and check email, send a digital photo, or just check up on what was
going on back home.
Internet savvy travelers from all over the globe frequent
the friendly, informal Three Rivers atmosphere the Morenos have created
to search for travel routes and book reservations.
a local clearinghouse for information, and visitors who are used to these
café experiences enter these doors pretty much knowing what searches
they want to start out doing,” said Tony. “I expected the
traffic in the tourist season and we have really enjoyed meeting and greeting
all the folks who have walked through our door.”
But Tony said he has been pleasantly surprised by the computer
repair part of the business that has really skyrocketed. It took a little
more investment of time and an education process that helped to acquaint
more locals with the business.
Now all the classes and free seminars are really starting
to pay dividends.
“Most users need
some kind of help with their computer, whether it’s cleaning viruses
or upgrading software,” Tony said. “People really appreciate
the fact that I make house calls.”
So when Tony is out on a service call, Pat is tending the
shop and helping Internet users log on, dispensing vital visitor information,
or running a color copy of a document or a photo.
“In the high-tech
world there is always something new,” Tony says. “In the last
year it’s been high-speed Internet that’s getting even faster,
wireless hot spots, and inexpensive long-distance phone calling to anywhere
on the planet via the Internet.”
With a year on the books, these technophiles know where they
are headed and it’s an exciting place. So with their characteristic
down-home style, this Saturday, July 8, Tony and Pat will host a very
special high-tech event just to thank all their friends and customers
for a great inaugural year.
“Everyone is invited
and that’s what the celebration is all about,” Tony said.
“Just to say thanks.”
In April, it was a Potwisha camper who made off with a large,
heavy wall fountain from in front of Three Rivers Garden Arts. Although
a Sequoia Park ranger remembered seeing the curious piece it was never
On the evening of July 4, someone made off with a 75-pound
reddish-stained cement ball that was part of another fountain. According
to the shop’s owner, this was a theft of a different kind.
“The thief didn’t
make off with the whole fountain, just the heavy ball that sat on top,”
Bonnie Waldron, the shop’s owner reported. “I am convinced
that this is a malicious crime by somebody local.”
Waldron said that this theft irks her even more than the
last one. This piece, she said, is valued at several hundred dollars.
are quite heavy and it’s important to display them in front of my
store,” Waldron said. “I’m now considering moving my
Anyone with information in the case is asked to contact Waldron
at her shop or the Sheriff’s Department, 733-6211.
1923 ~ 2006
John “Jack” Ennis Jr., a 16-year resident of
Three Rivers, died Saturday, June 24, 2006. He was 82.
Jack was born Dec. 17, 1923, in Manhattan, N.Y. He served
in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a member of the Veterans
of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.
Following his retirement in 1990 from Litton Aerospace in
Woodland Hills, he and his wife, Sami, moved to Three Rivers.
In addition to his wife, Sami, Jack is survived by his son,
John Ennis III; daughters Martha Scuria and Mary Hudson; and six grandchildren.
Services were held last week and he was laid to rest in Chatsworth
with veteran’s honors.
1923 ~ 2006
Richard Vincent Collins, formerly of Three Rivers, died Wednesday,
June 28, 2006, in Prairie Village, Kan., due to complications from Parkinson’s
disease. He was 83.
Dick was born June 8, 1923, in Salina, Kan., to Leroy Vincent
Collins and Julia Beryl Cost Collins. He attended Harvard University and
Kansas State University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s
degrees in Physics.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946, then again
from 1951 to 1954. From 1949 until his retirement in 1977, he worked for
the Midwest Research Institute, then Butler Manufacturing.
Dick married the former Carol Campbell in 1949. She preceded
him in death after 46 years of marriage.
He later reunited with a former classmate, Isabelle Neal
Elmer, of Three Rivers. They were married in 1998 and Dick relocated to
He was a member of the Three Rivers Community Presbyterian
Church and former member of the Visalia Mighty Oaks Barbershop Chorus.
In addition to his wife of eight years, Isabelle Elmer Collins,
of Three Rivers, Richard is survived by his daughter, Dana, and husband
Tom Moriarty of Fairway, Kan.; Isabelle’s daughters, Susan and Nan;
grandson, Richard Collins Moriarty of Fairway, Kan., granddaughters, Dhanya
and Quincy of Sedona, Ariz.; and two sisters, Doris Ann Yordy of Great
Falls, Mont., and Carol Mae Bruton of Denver, Colo., and their families.
A memorial service was held Friday, June 30, in Prairie Village,
Kan. Remembrances may be made to the Community Presbyterian Church, P.O.
Box 685, Three Rivers, CA 93271.
1913 ~ 2006
Karl Opitz, a former longtime resident of Three Rivers, died
Wednesday, June 28, 2006., in Fresno. He was 93.
Karl was born Feb. 13, 1913, in Los Angeles. He and his wife,
Helen, relocated to Three Rivers in the1950s.
Karl was a Tulare County farm advisor, then a subtropical
horticulture specialist at the University of California San Joaquin Valley
Agricultural Research and Extension Center. He played a prominent role
in the expansion of citrus and olive production and the development of
the pistachio industry in the San Joaquin Valley.
Upon his retirement, he could be seen daily in his yard of
his Dinely Drive home. His cymbidium orchids were his pride and joy.
In November 2001, Karl was preceded in death by his wife,
Helen. No services are scheduled.
1905 ~ 2006
Ray Strong of Three Rivers died Monday, July 3, 2006. He
Ray was born in January 1905 in Corvallis, Ore. He lived
in Santa Barbara from 1960 to July 2004 when he moved to Three Rivers
to live with his daughter, Barbara Strong.
Ray began painting when he was eight years old and made a
career out of this talent. He received his early training from private
teachers, as well as at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San
Francisco Art Institute) and the Art Students’ League in New York.
But Ray would say that he learned the most from nature.
During the Depression, he worked for the federal Public Works
of Art Project, painting murals at public buildings and parks. In 1960,
Dr. Ventress VanderHoof, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History director,
invited Ray to paint nine dioramas for the new Bird Habitat Hall.
When the commission was completed, Ray and his wife, Betty,
stayed in Santa Barbara. He co-founded the Santa Barbara Art Institute
and a plein air painters organization called “The Oak Group.”
He was known in Santa Barbara as “the dean of plein air painting.”
Ray continued to paint up until his death, including landscapes
of Three Rivers in his portfolio.
In 1992, Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth.
He is survived by his daughter, Barbara, as well as son Tim of Upper Lake.
No services will be held per Ray’s request.