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In the News - Friday, July 15, 2011



Redwood Fire causes

smoky mornings in Kaweah Canyon


  The Redwood Mountain prescribed fire was ignited by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks fire crews on Sunday, July 10. It is one of 10 projects planned for the parks this year, totaling up to 3,940 acres.

  The Redwood Fire has been on the parks’ radar for awhile now. Exactly one year ago, crews were prepping the area with plans for an early August ignition, but an unplanned, lightning-caused fire on the bluffs above Cedar Grove diverted attention to that area of Kings Canyon National Park for the rest of the fire season.

  The Sheep Fire of 2010 ultimately burned more than 9,000 acres, more than 3,000 of which were located within the Kings Canyon National Park boundaries. The smoke impacts were significant to the visitor areas within the fire’s vicinity.

  Fire crews received the window of opportunity they were looking for this season as a low-pressure system and good air quality meant that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District gave the green light to strike the match.

  When all is said and burned, 626 acres of the Redwood Mountain area will be treated with the goal of maintaining forest health. Previous fires in this area have created a forest that is, ironically, too healthy. Many young giant sequoias are competing for nutrients and space. The fire will thin the grove as well as heat the sequoia seeds, which enhances germination.

  The smoke from this most recent park fire is taking advantage of the down-canyon breezes in the evening and early-morning hours to make its way down the North Fork drainage to settle in Three Rivers, getting thicker and hovering longer each day from Monday, July 11, till Wednesday, July 13.

  “Wednesday will have been the worst day,” said Deb Schweizer, parks fire education officer.

  Deb said that after ignitions are completed on this fire the crew will spend some time “buttoning up the unit.”

  What that means is that the line around the fire will be worked to ensure there are no areas where hot spots could flare up and send embers outside the burned area.

  There was only about a 50 percent fuel reduction in this burn, Schweizer said, because the terrain was still relatively wet from the past season’s above-average precipitation. On Wednesday, July 13, it was so cold and damp ignitions had to be suspended.  

  Next on the parks’ fire wish list is a 52-acre prescribed fire in the Cedar Grove area of King Canyon National Park, and in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia, sights are set on 97 acres in Round Meadow and back to the Crescent Meadow area with another 310 acres in the works.

  In the fall, 350 acres in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park are targeted, as well as, in Sequoia, 310 acres near Crystal Cave, 686 acres at Halstead Meadow west of Lodgepole, and 1,485 acres in the Mineral King area.

  These are projected prescribed fires for the 2011 burn season, subject to funding, air quality, local and national fire activity, fuel moisture, and weather. Rarely do all fires on a season’s schedule get completed.


Lion Fire in Little Kern

  Sequoia National Forest officials are currently managing the lightning-caused Lion Fire (200+acres) in the Golden Trout Wilderness of Giant Sequoia National Monument. It was discovered Friday, July 8, and is located 10 miles southeast of Hockett Meadow, south of the Sequoia National Park boundary, and east of the Little Kern River.


Sequoia drowning victim identified


  The second drowning in the Kaweah River within 10 days occurred Sunday, July 3 (“Sequoia visitor drowns near Buckeye Flat,” July 8, 2011). The 42-year-old man’s identity was not immediately released pending notification of relatives.

 The victim has since been identified as Hak Hyung Harrison Kim of La Crescenta. Kim reportedly entered the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River near Buckeye Flat Campground in Sequoia National Park with an inflatable swim tube when he was swept downstream.

  On June 23, Tyson Motto, 28, of Visalia died when he entered the Middle Fork of the Kaweah at North Fork Bridge in Three Rivers (“Visalia man dies during river run,” July 1, 2011). He was wearing a safety vest but no helmet with plans to float the river on an inflatable swim tube.

  Due to an above-average snowpack this past winter, all forks of the Kaweah River, as well as its tributaries, are running unseasonably high, cold, and fast. The safest way to navigate the Kaweah is with a professional rafting company, of which there are several that provide guided trips from Three Rivers.


Caltrans increases Lemon Cove speed limit


  The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) announced this week that effective Monday, July 25, the posted speed limit in the community of Lemon Cove will be increased from 40 mph to 45 mph to reflect the recommendations that were suggested in the findings of the recent speed-zone survey. The new signs will be posted on State Route 198 within the community of Lemon Cove from just west of Road 244 to just west of Avenue 344.

  This posted speed limit increase is in compliance with Section 2B.13 of the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the California Vehicle Code Sections 627 and 22358.B. A recommendation for the posted increase was presented to the California Highway Patrol and the agency agreed with the proposed change.

  At least one local resident was not so sure that the change was necessary as it may cause some motorists to enter the Lemon Cove curves at a higher rate of speed than is safe. In the last 18 months, there have been two fatal accidents in the Lemon Cove curves.

  There is also a steady procession of sand and gravel trucks entering the highway during daylight hours and traveling through the small community that often encourage some impatient commuters to pass illegally.


Reminder to ‘Move Over’

  The “Move Over” law that became effective in 2010 requires motorists to slow down and, if safe, switch to a lane not immediately adjacent to a stationary CHP, emergency, or Caltrans vehicle displaying flashing lights.

  Move Over laws have now been enacted in 46 states. Violation of the California law is punishable by a fine and citation.


The Commonwealth upgrades Kaweah Kam


  There’s a brave new world out there on the World Wide Web and among the fastest growing segments of this current industrial revolution is streaming content from one computer to another screen virtually anywhere on the planet. The Kaweah Commonwealth, with its popular Kaweah Kam, has been a local pioneer in this field, broadcasting a continuously updated image looking east from Three Rivers to the local mountains and the landmark attractions of Sequoia National Park.

  Since the online Kaweah Kam went live March 31, 2004, website visitors from around the world and locals alike, have been treated to outstanding views of Kaweah Country. Those early images were excellent during the majority of most daylight hours but were sometimes difficult to see because of too much or too little light.

  But now with the update to a more powerful three-megapixel webcam, those light and lower-resolution issues of the earlier camera are being resolved. The current image is the highest resolution available that will still efficiently download for the typical computer user.

  “The biggest difference in the new image is made possible by the addition of a state-of-the-art motorized zoom lens,” said John Elliott, who with wife Sarah has published the Commonwealth since 1995. “The nearly unlimited array of adjustments that can be made will revolutionize the way our website visitors view Kaweah Country.”

  Residents, business owners, and those planning a visit can log on and get a virtual look at the current weather, watch a sunrise or sunset, or just take in the gorgeous scenery on any day in any season. Currently, the image is set to refresh every two minutes.

  “It was always our wish to share our unique view of the Kaweah canyon as we see it from Barton Mountain,” said Sarah Elliott, whose family first came to Three Rivers in 1878. “This is our way of giving a little something back while at the same time showing off Three Rivers and all it has to offer to the world. Beginning next week, check in each day to see different views.”

  Note: As with all new technology, there’s a learning curve so bear with us as we become familiar with the optimal settings and zoom. Also, coming soon is a compact weather station that will provide real-time data in the image overlay.


Students from former Soviet Union intern in Sequoia


  Just prior to the Fourth of July holiday weekend, students from Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan traveled to Sequoia National Park to perform volunteer work for the Sequoia Natural History Association (SNHA). The students are part of a U.S. State Department program, Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), designed to teach students from former Soviet countries about America and democracy.

  This is the fourth year SNHA and Sequoia National Park has hosted the students, but this group of 10 is part of a new program.

  Previous groups came to the area for 10 months attending high schools in Exeter, Woodlake, Visalia, and Bakersfield. The latest contingent is here for just five weeks of the summer. They chose helping the national park as their required volunteer project.

  The students are currently staying with host parents in Visalia. While in Three Rivers, Annie Esperanza, Anne and Bill Haxton, Savannah and Danny Boiano, and Kristi and Mark Tilchen served as the local hosts.

  While here, the students spent the day in Giant Forest. They explored the Giant Forest Museum, hiked the Hazelwood Nature Trail, and even got the special treat of watching bears feeding in Round Meadow. While in Three Rivers they ate American style with pizza from the Pizza Factory and ice cream from Reimers.

  The local sponsoring organization, World Link, hosts up to 40 students at a time. They are always seeking host families for the 10-month school program. For information on hosting, contact the area coordinator, Adina Escarsega (wobigong@yahoo.com), or the Sequoia Natural History Association.

  This article submitted by Mark Tilchen, executive director of Sequoia Natural History Association.




Healing with hands: Therapy for the whole body


By Charlene Vartanian


  This is the first in a series of articles by Charlene Vartanian, R.N., who has practiced CranioSacral Therapy for 10 years, helping people reduce pain, release stress and tension, and reclaim their active lives. She enjoys sharing CST with others while living in the healing environment of Three Rivers.

  Have you ever felt lousy?  Or still tired after a full night’s sleep? Off balance but didn’t know where to turn?

  Welcome to the field of healing with the hands, commonly known as massage and bodywork. Healing with the hands offers a practical solution to many of the symptoms of discomfort we experience in everyday life.

  It is simple, low tech, and can be highly effective in helping people re-establish comfort and  ease in their body so they can regain a sense of energy and vitality in their life.

  CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is just one of the many forms of healing with the hands. CST is a light touch method of relieving pain, releasing tension, and improving the structural and energetic alignment of the body. It also soothes the central nervous system, resulting in a more calm, centered, and focused outlook.

  How is CST different from massage?  During a CST session, clothing remains on.  This can be a new experience for those used to the high-touch skin contact of massage, but for many people keeping their clothes on actually allows them to relax more easily. 

  With light touch, receptive hands are able to feel the tension patterns held in the body. This process of the hands being open to receive allows the release  of these patterns, which results in less pain and more comfort and flexibility in the body.

  CST also encourages deep rest and relaxation, both physically and mentally. This supports healing deep within the core that radiates out to the rest of the body.  People often report a more alert and energized sense of well-being after a CST session.

  Admitting that pain is often the motivation for seeking help, CST can improve a range of symptoms: headaches, neck and back pain, joint stiffness, anxiety, depression. Its gentle nature makes it perfect for people of all ages. 

  Every age group has unique needs or symptoms that arise.  CST is well-known for helping infants who may have had traumatic births or those having difficulty with irritability or trouble sleeping. The elderly also respond well to the gentle touch and non-manipulative techniques.

  It is not necessary to be hurting to benefit from CST.  It can also be used as a tool for general stress reduction or to enhance your already good health. 

  It can also be a way to explore and integrate the mind, body, spirit connection. Every body has a story, and CST can help us discover the language of our body and the details of our particular story as we move our way through life. 

  Connecting with the body in this way supports the process of aligning our intentions without actions so that we can enjoy a happy and heart-filled life.

  Charlene Vartanian has worked as a nurse in emergency, home health, and hospice care. After moving to Three Rivers, she pursued the study of CST with the goal of working in the same community in which she lives while still providing care and wellness to her patients. She enjoys growing a garden, feeding her family, eating with friends, and “discovering the new in life.” She also offers Esalen Massage with AromaTouch, an integrative holistic nuturing massage using doTerra certified pure-grade essential oils.




Dan Hayes

1927 ~ 2011

  Frank Daniel “Dan” Hayes of King City died Monday, July 4, 2011, in Salinas. He was 84.

Dan was born in 1927 in Salinas to Austin Hayes and Katherine Maybelle Hitchcock. In July 1936, he moved with his family to King City, where he spent the rest of his life.

  The Hayes’s were pioneers in the Livermore valley. The first Hayes to arrive in the 1870s was Timothy Hayes along with his wife and 14 children. One of those children was Dan’s grandfather, Frank Peter Hayes.

  Dan was a well-respected and successful building contractor and designer. He started his career under his father, later becoming a partner in Austin Hayes & Son. In later years, his company was Dan Hayes Builder.

  During his career, Dan built more than  200 homes. He also built many ranch facilities and commercial buildings throughout southern Monterey County.

  Dan was communicant at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and a founding member of the Knights of Columbus chapter there. He also built the church and its social hall, school, and rectory.

  Dan loved to sing, tell jokes, and being social. He led the choir with his booming tenor voice right to his last days. To many family and friends, it wasn’t officially a birthday until Danny sang “Happy Birthday.”

  Dan was a member and past president of his local Rotary Club and Kings and Queens. He was active all his life in the Boy Scouts of America; he was a former scout master of Troop 11 and received the Silver Beaver award for service.

  Dan was preceded in death in 2000 by his loving wife of 52 years, Cecelia Ann LaVelle Hayes.

  Dan was a loving father who leaves six children: Patrick (Cynthia) of La Canada, Anne (Harley) of Three Rivers, Mary Harbin (Jack) of King City, Ellen (David) of Salinas, Julie (Linda) of Concord, and Matt (Lisa) of Greenfield. He is also survived by his sister, Pat Pope (Marion), and brother Jack Hayes (Bea) of King City; 13 grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and 22 nieces and nephews. Also missing Dan is a cadre of Pedro players at King City Golf Course.

  A rosary and mass were held Thursday and Friday, July 7 and 8, in King City.


Patti Taylor

1951 ~ 2011

  Patti Marie Taylor of Three Rivers died Tuesday, June 28, 2011. She was 59.

  Patti was born October 28, 1951, in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Ford and Florence Taylor. She was raised in Ottumwa before moving with her family to Buena Park, Calif.

  Patti attended Greeley School and Endeavor High School in Fullerton. She was a cheerleader and played the lead of Snow White in the school production.

  Patti was a “spreader of joy and love,” said her family.

  Patti is survived by four sisters — Mary Lou Cook of Grants Pass, Ore., Betty Ellen Broderman of Sholow, Ariz.;, Sheryl Ann Sloan of Astoria, Ore., and Mildred Kay Violette of Newell, S.D. — and two brothers — Gary Ward Taylor of Yorba Linda and Robert Paul Taylor of Three Rivers.


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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