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In the News - Friday, July 18, 2008


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)




Power outage affects

1,000 customers

   There’s never a good time for the power to go out, especially during the busy summer season. But when an underground cable failed in Cherokee Oaks last Friday evening, July 11, it caused an extensive outage from Three Rivers to Sequoia National Park and short-circuited a busy evening for Three Rivers businesses.
   The massive blackout began at 5 p.m. The two local banks closed an hour early, gas pumps were inoperable, cell-service non-existent, and merchants were reduced, for at least the next three hours, to making manual transactions.
   In all, the outages affected 1,062 Southern California Edison customers.

  “When an underground cable fails, it’s a real challenge trying to isolate the trouble and get the service restored,” said Brian Thoburn, SCE regional manager.
   Thoburn said a repair crew was dispatched to Oakridge Drive area in Cherokee Oaks and soon located where the failure occurred. When the cable failed, it knocked out a key transformer nearby.
   Within a couple of hours, the power was back on for most customers but intermittently went on and off until 9 p.m. when service was restored in most areas. One neighborhood in Cherokee Oaks and some South Fork residents were without power until 10 a.m. on Saturday morning.
   There is no one factor that causes these outages, but they usually occur when temperatures soar and the demand for power is greatest. Thoburn said the heavy electrical loads during a heatwave can put a lot of stress on cables that in some cases are 25 to 30 years old.

  “It could be that the equipment is simply reaching the end of its lifespan,” Thoburn said. “We realize that these outages are never easy to cope with, so we want to apologize for any inconvenience the recent power failures might have caused.”
   It’s not only the current run of soaring temperatures that has Southern California Edison feeling the heat lately. The rising costs of gasoline and natural gas is really putting the pinch on company resources.
   Southern California Edison currently generates 60 percent of power from natural gas. Converting to alternative and renewable energy sources, some observers think, is the only way the century-old company will be able to survive and thrive.

Snake savvy

  Rattlesnakes are out and about and encountered most often during the summer, whether along local roadways or in residents’ yards and gardens. Although the venomous snakes would rather avoid humans, occasional run-ins are inevitable.

  If agitated, the snakes will coil and strike in defense, so they should never be handled. The snakes have a “rattle” on the tip of their tails, which makes a loud, warning buzz. Since rattle segments may break off, the poisonous snakes can also be identified by their flat, triangular-shaped heads.

  Gopher snakes, which are also found in Three Rivers, are rattlesnake look-alikes, but not venomous. They have the same mottled camouflage of the rattlesnake and will even mimic the rattler by hissing, broadening its jaw to make its head more triangular, and shaking its tail in leaves or dried grass to sound like a rattle.

Next phase of Generals Highway

upgrade scheduled for 2009

   Plans have been approved for the rehabilitation of the next two sections of the Generals Highway and the restoration of Halstead Meadow in Sequoia National Park. Earlier this year, the environmental review process was completed; Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis signed the Finding of No Significant Impact for the park projects on July 2.
   Originally constructed for wagons and early autos, the Generals Highway has been continuously used since it opened in 1926. Recently, the pace of its deterioration has rapidly accelerated and many portions have become structurally unstable.
   The rehabilitation of the 40-mile historic highway, which is the main road through Sequoia National Park, has been ongoing since 1993. During the past 15 years, work has been completed in small sections in an effort to reduce the impact on park visitors.
   Lane widths and the turning radius on switchbacks are no longer consistent with current federal highway standards. Demonstrating the need for the budget to continue the rehab project has not been a problem, but finding an experienced contractor to commit to the federal funding has been the greater challenge.
   Federal officers hope to have a contract in place soon so that the next phase of highway construction work can begin as planned in 2009. The next two sections of the Generals Highway to be rehabilitated are the 1.5 mile section from Amphitheater Point to Deer Ridge and 8.5 miles of roadway between the Wolverton Road to the Little Baldy trailhead, the road’s highest point in the park.
   In the Halstead Meadow area, a new bridge will be installed to help restore a more natural flow of water through the scenic meadow. To minimize delays, work in this area is scheduled for several phases.
   A copy of the key planning documents is available through the National Park Service’s planning website: http://parkplanning.nps.gov; click on Plans/Docs, then type in or scroll to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

How to find

well water

before drilling

   Ask any planner, politician, or hydrologist, the greatest single challenge in the future of California is water and ensuring that enough of the precious commodity is available for drinking and to sustain agriculture. In Tulare County, where more water is used outside than in, it’s of the highest priority to ensure that where water flows, food grows.
   A little closer to home in Three Rivers, the ability to find dependable water for domestic use could make the critical difference in the future development of our community and in building even one more home. That’s why the services of a new company, National Groundwater Surveyors, are now becoming indispensable.
   It’s still possible to find water the old-fashioned way by witching or dowsing. But as water resources change so does the ability of the water witch to find that elusive underground storage.
   You may be familiar with that age-old scenario. The water seeker, or “witch,” holds a dowsing stick over a preferred well location and walks back and forth across a grid of the locale.
   If an obvious pull or attraction is noted, that’s where water might be found. More often than not, it’s the driller’s experience in an area and the ability to size up the lay of the land that determines whether a productive well is located.
   But with the cost of drilling averaging anywhere between $30 and $60 per foot depending on the subsurface material, and the fact that most local wells are coming in at depths of 100 feet to 300 feet or more, the costs of drilling a single productive well can be astronomical.
   Most homeowners cannot afford to risk $5,000, $10,000, or even $15,000 just to come up with a dry hole. That’s where National Groundwater Surveyors can help.
   Their seismic evaluation of the proposed well site is based on sound science and usually costs about 15 to 25 percent of the completed well. It doesn’t take a math professor to calculate the importance of finding a productive well in the very first hole.
   Here’s how the technology works. The field crew working with a supervising engineer, sends sound waves into the ground that travel through rock formations that move the rock slightly (usually less than a millimeter). When the movement occurs in water bearing rock it sends off a small but measurable electrical signal.
   This data retrieved at the site can be used to determine depth, yield, and quality and that’s critical in Three Rivers where historically many locales, especially those closer to the river, contain salinity or high mineral content.
   If there is no water then there will be no signal indicating an aquifer. If salinity is too high, (above 1000 parts per million) then no significant signal is recorded.
   These groundwater location services can also help homeowners whose wells have gone dry or have experienced a decrease in flow in an existing well. The Clovis outlet of the national company that conducts these groundwater surveys was established in 2004 and employs the same proven seismic technology that has been successfully used worldwide for the past decade and in the U.S. for the past five years.
   For more information, log onto www.findwellwater.com or call toll-free 1-888-808-8598.

‘Bread Basket’ wants

old cell phones

   Many cell-phone users don’t know what to do with their old cell phones when it comes time to upgrade, which according to one study averages every 18 months. Cellular phone providers will happily replace an old cell phone with the latest model, but often don’t provide any information on how to properly dispose of an old phone.
   Through the end of July, the Three Rivers Bread Basket is collecting no-longer-used cell phones. Collection boxes are available at the Community Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, Three Rivers Drug, the Commonwealth office, and the Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce office.
   The benefits of this cell-phone drive are threefold. First of all, the Bread Basket will receive $5 per phone and all proceeds benefit the food pantry.
   Second, the cell phones purchased from the Bread Basket will be refurbished and provided to people in need for emergency use.
   Lastly, Americans are discarding upwards of 130 million cell phones per year, which means 65,000 tons of trash, including toxic metals and other health hazards. Cell phones, along with other wireless waste from pagers and music players pose problems at landfills or when burned in incinerators because they have toxic chemicals in the batteries and other components, such as arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc, all of which have been associated with cancer and neurological disorders, especially in children.
   California is one of three states considering legislation that would make manufacturers pay the cost of managing the waste from electronic products, including cell phones. With over 200 million cell phones now in use across the country, these donate-a-phone programs, in which groups collect phones and give the proceeds to charity, are indispensable.

3R drummer releases CD

   Tonight (Friday, July 18) at 7 p.m., Mamady “Wadaba” Kourouma of Three Rivers will celebrate the release of his second CD “Sabari” during a special West African Drum Concert at the Fox Theatre in Visalia.
   Wadaba, a Malinke drummer, will perform several of the new CD’s tracks during the extravaganza. Recorded in Wadaba’s ancestral village of Oroko in Guinea, West Africa, the songs include traditional songs with flutes and drumming.
   Eighteen artists contributed to the sounds on the CD, including nine members of Wadaba’s family. The CD also comes with a 12-page booklet that includes the history of the songs, the Malinke lyrics, and their English translation.
   Five years ago, Wadaba married Keio Ogawa of Three Rivers. Keio, also a percussion performer, founded the Traditional West African Drum Ensemble and met Wadaba through her travels.

Three Rivers teens are

champions in their saddles:

Shyan Souza qualifies for

High School Rodeo’s national finals

   Shyan Souza of Three Rivers faced an uphill battle to qualify for the High School Rodeo’s national finals. She had to finish among the top five contestants out of 45 of California’s best teen girl ropers during the state finals held last month in Bishop.
   Shyan busted into the top five like it was nothing, bringing home a 2008 California State Reserve Breakaway Roping Champion title with her second place finish.
   This means that the Souzas will be hitching up the trailer again, this time heading for Farmington, N.M., where Shyan will compete for a national title. Billed as the world’s largest rodeo, the 60th annual National High School Rodeo Finals will be held next week (July 21 to 27) and will include 1,500 contestants from 41 states, five Canadian provinces, and Australia.
   Shyan competes in “breakaway roping,” which requires the athleticism of both horse and rider. Shyan’s mom, Tammy, explained the event:

  “Breakaway roping is a timed event and the fastest time wins. It involves just the rider and horse as a team.

  “The rider leaves the roping box and ropes the calf. Once the calf is caught, the rider throws her slack and the horse slides to a stop. The rope breaks off of the saddle horn and the time stops.

  “If horse and rider leave the box too soon, there is a 10-second penalty added onto their time. If the calf is missed, it is a no-time.”
   During the state finals, Shyan roped her first calf in 3.21 seconds, her second calf in 3.41; and third calf in 4.89. This qualified her to rope a fourth calf in the short-go average, which she did with a 3.47.
   Shyan’s average total was 14.98 for four calves. In comparison, the first-place winner roped her four calves in 13.94, beating Shyan by less than a tenth of a second.
   This was the second year that Shyan has competed in the High School Rodeo, which consists of 12 rodeo competitions held September through June. This is her first time competing at the state and national levels.
   Shyan will be a junior at Woodlake High School next year. Her parents are JP and Tammy Souza.

Kacie Fleeman travels

the nation with ‘Painted Dream’

   Kacie Fleeman of Three Rivers and her nine-year-old Paint gelding, CR Painted Dream, won the Pinto World Championship-All Around for the 13-and-under class. The competition was held last month in Tulsa, Okla.
   In addition to winning the All Around title, Kacie won World Champion English Showmanship, Reserve World Champion Novice Youth (18 and under) Hunter Hack; received Top 5 placings in Reining, Bareback Western Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, Western Showmanship, Discipline Rail, and Western Horsemanship; and Top 10 placings in Hunter Under Saddle and English Discipline Rail.
   After taking Tulsa by storm, Kacie headed south to Fort Worth, Texas, where she competed in the American Paint Horse World Championship Show. While there, she placed Top 5 in the 13-and-under Trail; Top 10 in Showmanship, Reining, and Hunter Hack; and was a finalist in Western Riding.
   Kacie has traveled from the West Coast to the East Coast to compete this year. She has received Hi-Point honors in Camden, S.C.; Athens, Texas; Waco, Texas; Jackson, Miss.; and Bakersfield. She received Reserve Hi-Point in Tucson, Ariz.; Denver, Colo.; Houston, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Also in Salt Lake City, Kacie and Dream won the APHA Gelding Plus (Zone 2) award of $500.
   Kacie is currently ranked third in the nation for the 13-and-under All Around events. She is leading the nation in Reining, Trail, and Showmanship.
   Kacie has been riding horses since she could sit up and on the show circuit since she was five. These days, Kacie travels with her mom, Jayme, who drives the RV-horse trailer; her horse, Dream; and their two dalmations.
   In August, Kacie and her entourage will be competing in Nampa, Idaho, followed by another stop in Salt Lake City.
   Kacie is homeschooled. Her parents are Darrell and Jayme Fleeman.


New community phonebook now on sale

   The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the 2008-2010 edition of the Three Rivers community phonebook is now available. They are on sale for $2 each at the Village Market, Anne Lang’s Emporium, and Three Rivers Drug.
   This latest edition of the phonebook includes a map of Three Rivers in the center spread. Since the phonebook is created for local use, the map inside matches this idea and shows all of the roads in the Three Rivers area.
   Special thanks go to Mark Tilchen for the time he spent driving Three Rivers roads to create this map.
   Creating and maintaining a community phonebook takes an enormous amount of volunteer time and effort. On behalf of the Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce, special thanks to John and Sarah Elliott for their thorough review of the product prior to printing and to Tom Berrey for calling all of the numbers in the book to verify their validity.
   The Chamber sincerely appreciates the volunteer time that Tom Marshall spends on creating, organizing, updating, maintaining, and printing this publication, which he has done now for many years. A project of this magnitude takes time, dedication, and just the right attitude; thanks, Tom, for all your hard work!
   Article by Johanna Kamansky, SFCC president.


Emotional Freedom Techniques:

Mind-body freedom

   Some say that the answer to many – if not all – physical, mental, and emotional issues rests in our thought patterns.
   There is a thought-cause behind all symptoms and, by routine, we grasp onto these thought patterns.
   Louise Hay is well known for addressing the mental aspects of physical pain and providing positive affirmations as remedies. Her book, called You Can Heal Your Life, reveals that self-love is at the core of her teachings.
   Another consideration to free ourselves from emotional, physical, and mental pain is based on the body’s energy system. Similar to the electrical wiring in our homes, our bodies also contain an electrical system.
   Many healing modalities offer methods to realign the energy system to help the client get back on track with their body’s natural flow. Gary Craig, a guru of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) teaches that all negative emotion is caused by a disruption to the body’s natural energy system (visit www.emofree.com for more information).
   Think of the Kaweah River during a heavy springtime runoff when giant boulders rumble around and collide together until they block the flow of the river. The water-energy builds and builds until it busts free.
   EFT offers a painless and simple process for releasing the boulders from our internal energy system. It’s the tapping on the pressure points near the surface of the skin while tuning into specific issues and reciting specific words that offers the cure.
   When done correctly, the “boulders” can be gently removed and dissolved. Self-acceptance is at the core of this practice.
   Freedom from pain in your body comes from freedom in your mind. Reflect for a moment on your thought patterns and the potential boulders your carry in your body.
   Consider letting go of what no longer serves you. You may need to simply say to yourself, “I let go of the past and I forgive.”
   Article by Kay Packard, a certified Hand Analyst and Hypnotherapist who also practices Emotional Freedom Techniques. She is a member of the Sequoia Mountain Healers.

County sheriff VIPs:

Citizens helping citizens  

  Over the last couple of months, there has been a lot of talk about gang members being in town, trespassers, and homes being broken into. Everyone is looking for solutions.
   There is an action team working on ideas of how we the citizens of Three Rivers can help ourselves. Law enforcement has promised to help out by having more of a presence in town and enforcing the laws.
   This puts a substantial strain on law enforcement as they are understaffed. There is a way we the citizens of Three Rivers and Tulare County can help ourselves and our law enforcement personnel.
   It is by joining the “Volunteers In Patrol” (VIPs). VIP members do a number of tasks for the Sheriff’s Department. Deliver interoffice mail, transport patrol cars, and patrol the county to keep an eye out for anything unusual. By performing these functions, sworn officers, who would have to carry out these duties, can be placed in the field fulfilling their responsibility as law-enforcement officers.
   Here in Three Rivers we have several people who are VIPs and not only do they patrol in the Valley, they are out regularly patrolling in the Three Rivers area.
   But the VIPs, just as the law-enforcement agencies, are understaffed. They need more people to volunteer to serve our town of Three Rivers and Tulare County.
   There will be a VIP training academy starting in September 2008. If you are interested in helping your community in this fashion, an application may be obtained by going online to: www.co.tulare.ca.us/government/sheriff/volunteers. There you will find more information about the VIPs and what they do.
   Article by Jacki Fletcher, a resident of Three Rivers and a VIP.


Everett Ristow
1920 ~ 2008

   Everett Paul Ristow died Wednesday, July 9, 2008, at his Three Rivers home. He was one day shy of his 88th birthday.
   Everett was born July 10, 1920, in Orange, Calif., to Paul and Pearl Ristow. He was raised and educated there, graduating from Orange High School with the Class of 1939.
   Everett enlisted in the U.S. Army after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He served in Europe, meeting his future wife, Regina Purnell, in England. They were married Feb. 5, 1944.
   Prior to moving back to Orange in 1960, Everett was a cattle rancher for 15 years. Other careers included milkman, Fuller Brush man, then a maintenance man (“rancher without the cattle”) for the Minute Maid corporation and other companies.
   After the Ristows’ children were grown, the couple visited friends in Three Rivers. They fell in love with the community and purchased a home here in 1979.
   Everett established Ristow’s Maintenance in Three Rivers while also working for Pennwalt Tiltbelt Corporation, which at the time was headquartered in Three Rivers.
   Everett was a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars-Post 3939 of Three Rivers. He was also a charter member of the Mighty Oak Chorus of Visalia, a barbershop harmony group formed 25 years ago.
   Everett is survived by his wife of 64 years, Reggie of Three Rivers; three sons, Paul Ristow of Three Rivers, Michael Ristow of Stockton, and Donald Ristow of Gainesville, Va.; daughter Dannette of Brea; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
   A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 19, at 2 p.m., at the First Baptist Church in 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
© Copyright 2003-2008 The Kaweah Commonwealth