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In the News - Friday, JULY 27, 2007


Pot gardens take

seasonal priority

   As the weather heats up in July and August so does the activity of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department’s tactical enforcement team as the seasonal pot raids reach a fever pitch. Each day, there are maturing pot gardens to eradicate to ensure the demon weed does not reach teenage pot smokers — recently identified as the nation’s largest consumer group — and others on the street.

  “When we can knock out a garden, we are doing our job,” said Lt. Boudreaux, who commands a nine-man team that devotes nearly the entire summer to investigation of pot gardens and the people who grow the illicit crops. “If we can make an arrest that would really make my day.”
   In the past week, Boudreaux and his squadron have raided two growing areas on public lands near Three Rivers. The first one was a large complex discovered in the Devils Canyon area within the South Fork drainage.
   On that plot of BLM land, Sheriff’s deputies discovered and eradicated more than 35,000 plants. On Monday morning, July 23, it was back to Three Rivers, this time to eradicate a smaller plot containing 1,600 plants on BLM land near Case Mountain in the East Fork canyon.

  “If you have water and irrigation hose, it really doesn’t take much acreage to grow thousands of plants,” Boudreaux said. “These gardens are very remote and difficult to spot from the air.”
   Because of the lack of water in the current season, growers have been forced to move to higher elevations. Lt. Boudreaux said he expects his department to set a new record for eradications in the current season. To date, he said, the Sheriff’s deputies have removed and destroyed more than 200,000 plants with an estimated street value of millions of dollars.

  “We’re extremely busy right now, but we’re just getting started,” Boudreaux said after displaying part of Monday’s haul. “To see this stuff destroyed, we know we are hitting them [the growers] where it hurts.”

Lightning sparks

park fires

   Four high country fires are currently being watched by Sequoia National Park fire managers. Two fires were discovered earlier this month after thunderstorms passed through the Sierra.
   Last week, two more lightning-caused fires were discovered. The day after heavy thunderstorm activity on Sunday, July 15, a fire was discovered burning east of Little Claire Lake.
   The Claire Fire was discovered during a reconnaissance flight. It is burning in a single foxtail pine at about 11,000 feet in elevation.
   The Willow Fire, located two miles southwest of Big Arroyo in Sequoia’s backcountry, was detected Thursday, July 19, by a helicopter overflight. This fire is the most active, currently about 95 acres in size with potential for growth.
   The Lost Canyon and Sphinx fires, both less than two acres in size, were discovered July 6 in the same region of Sequoia. They have both been placed on inactive status.

Vandals target 3R church

   There is somebody who might be feeling guilty and perhaps facing some retribution in another time and place. That seems to be the consensus among a tightly knit community of church members who belong to the First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.
   Last Friday, July 20, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., a person or persons gained entry through a window and ransacked file cabinets, desk drawers, and according to Sylvia Diaz, church secretary, made a “complete mess.”

  “They worked really hard to get in the office door and go through a sheet rock wall trying to get to the safe,” Sylvia said. “For all the trouble and mess they made, nothing was stolen.”
   Connie Lentz, who often checks the mail and runs errands for the Sierra Drive congregation, said she noticed something wasn’t right when she arrived at 3 p.m. In fact, Connie might have surprised someone still inside who hastily fled when she was entering the building.

  “They were after cash and, fortunately, there wasn’t any in the office,” Sylvia said. “There were computers, musical instruments, and lots of food in the Food Pantry, but these items weren’t even touched.”
   A group of volunteers spent the week after the break-in cleaning up the mess. The case remains under investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.
   Anyone with information in the case should call the Sheriff’s Department at 733-6211.

Sequoia wilderness

bill introduced

   On Thursday, July 12, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to set aside as wilderness nearly 115,000 acres within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Representatives Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
   Nearly 70,000 acres of this proposed wilderness area would be named after John Krebs, a former Fresno County Supervisor and U.S. Congressman who led the effort to keep the Mineral King Valley undeveloped as a ski resort by transferring the land from the U.S. Forest Service into Sequoia National Park in 1978.
   The former congressman represented the 17th Congressional District in California from 1975 to 1979. He was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1926.
   He began practicing law in Fresno in 1958 and served as a member of the Fresno County Planning Commission from 1965 to 1969. From 1970 to 1974, he served on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors before being elected to the 94th Congress.
Krebs is currently retired and resides in Fresno.

  “John courageously led the fight to protect Mineral King Valley from development and deserves our gratitude for its pristine natural beauty today,” said Sen. Boxer.

Nectar Java & Juice closed

   Ted Berman, owner of the property formerly known as The Cabin and recently renamed Nectar Java & Juice, announced this week that the popular coffee klatch and former book emporium will be temporarily closed.
   The most recent closure of the popular Sierra Drive riverfront property was effective Monday, July 23.
Berman, of Southern California, bought the property in foreclosure last year. His son, Jesse, operated the business since the place was reopened.

  “Hopefully, the business won’t be closed very long,” Berman said. “I’m already talking to someone about purchasing the property that has a little more experience in this type of business.”
   The property was originally developed as The Cabin, a coffeehouse and used-book store, by Ken Woodruff in 2004. It was purchased by Bryan Fields in 2006, who was the owner of the property prior to the Berman acquisition.

World Ranger Day

honors park protectors

International ranger

documentary set to premiere

   For the first time, rangers around the globe will be celebrating World Ranger Day. The event will occur Tuesday, July 31, and be held annually on that date thereafter.
   World Ranger Day is an event that was conceived by the International Ranger Federation, a worldwide consortium of ranger associations.
   Along with paying tribute to the work that rangers perform to protect the last vestiges of the earth’s natural and cultural heritage, World Ranger Day will also be a day to remember the rangers who have been injured or killed in the line of duty.
   This year’s inaugural celebration will center on the worldwide release of a new international ranger documentary entitled The Thin Green Line, created by Australian ranger Sean Willmore.
   To make this film a reality, Sean sold his car, mortgaged his house three times, and spent most of 2004 filming the lives and stories of rangers on six continents and in 19 countries.
   It is anticipated that there will be 200 simultaneous premieres — including in Iceland, Romania, Tasmania, the Canadian Yukon, and more — of the film worldwide with more than 8,000 people expected to attend. The film will be shown in the Lodgepole Visitor Center in Sequoia National Park on Tuesday, July 31, beginning at 7 p.m.
   The filmmaker spent a week in Sequoia-Kings Canyon while making the documentary. Other resource highlights include Lonesome George, the 128-year-old tortoise from the Galapagos, the threatened mountain gorillas in Uganda, the reindeer of Norway’s alpine tundra, the koalas in Australia, and the majestic elephants of South Africa.
   During production, the filmmaker encountered violent threats by rebel soldiers, antagonistic poaching communities, and protesting fishermen.
   The film will be shown during August in Grant Grove and Cedar Grove. The local Park Service is making preliminary plans to arrange a Three Rivers showing at a later date.

County general plan

on track for March ‘08

   At the July 18 county Planning Commission meeting in Visalia, Theresa Szymanis, chief planner and project manager for Tulare County’s new General Plan, announced the latest adoption timelines. The long-awaited plan still has a great deal of work to be accomplished but staff and the county’s consultants, Szymanis said, are on track to meet a March 31, 2008 deadline.
   Next on the General Plan’s schedule of tasks to be completed is the printing of a revised draft of the Goals and Policies Report, which Szymanis called the “heart” of the several documents to be completed as part of the project.

  “The revised Goals and Policies document are to be ready prior to a July 31 study session with the Board of Supervisors,” Szymanis said. “Following that meeting there will be an unveiling of the draft EIR documents for both the Supervisors and the Planning Commission.”
   Szymanis said that the draft EIR is being prepared concurrently with the finalized Goals and Policies Report. The scope of both documents was expanded recently to address impacts of global warming that were mandated by the adoption of AB32 requiring the reduction of “greenhouse gas” emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.
   In correspondence dated June 27, county planners outlined potential impacts from global warming and also listed 15 solutions that could help to slow or prevent greenhouse gas emissions. At the top of the possible solutions was the adoption of smart-growth strategies for land-use planning.
   The mandate to address global warming in county general plans was underscored by a recent court challenge of the CEQA review of a similar plan adopted in San Bernardino County. The lawsuits alleged that the environmental review documents and the General Plan failed to address the impacts of global warming or climate change, and did not contain any qualitative discussion on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
   Szymanis said the Tulare County General Plan 2030 update will address these issues. The deadline for a public release of the Draft EIR under CEQA for public comment is October 31, 2007.
Public comments would then be received on the Draft EIR until Dec. 21, 2007. That would fulfill the requirements of CEQA to allow a 45-day period in which to receive the public’s input relative to the potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures being addressed in the Draft EIR portion of the General Plan.

  “The Board must have a Final EIR before it can take action on the revised Goals and Policies Report,” Szymanis told the Planning Commission. “The Final EIR consists of a Draft EIR and the County’s formal responses to the comments received on the Draft EIR during the CEQA public comment period.”
   In other planning news, on Wednesday, July 25th, Tulare County commissioners voted 5-0 to recommend that the Board of Supervisors conduct public hearings on a zoning amendment that, if approved, would adopt a Planned Community Zone (PC Zone). Opponents to the ordinance argued that creation of the PC Zone is premature and should not be approved until the General Plan 2030 update is completed.
   Daniel Garcia, a county planner who presented the PC Zone resolution, said that the amendment is needed now and would establish more consistent regulatory procedures for large land areas being considered for development. Only projects of 200+ acres would be subject to the new regulations, he said.

AROUND TOWN:

Hellos, goodbyes, and VIPs

Farewell potluck
   The women of St. Clair’s Catholic Mission are hosting a summer supper potluck in honor of Lydia Carr, a longtime Three Rivers resident and community volunteer who is relocating to St. Louis, Mo. The event will be held Tuesday, July 31, 6 p.m., at the Three Rivers Memorial Building.
   Lydia is a former owner of the Buckeye Tree Lodge. In addition, she has been the choir director at St. Clair’s, as well as youth choir director and the music director of many interfaith programs such as Vacation Bible School, Easter Sunrise Service, and the All-Church Sing nights.
   Those attending the potluck supper are asked to bring a tray of sandwiches, a salad, or a dessert.
   The organizers would like to have a preliminary count of how many to expect, so if planning to attend, call 561-3172 or 561-4768 (see the Kaweah Kalendar, page 12, for more information).

T-shirt giveaway
   The Woodlake High School football program would like to distribute 500 or more orange T-shirts for free to their fans at the season’s opening game — the Valencia Cup — at home against rival Exeter on Friday, Aug. 31. To make this a reality, T-shirt sponsors are needed.
   Any businesses or individuals who wish to assist may call WHS Football Booster president Sally Vigil, 942-6496, or Coach Rick Ruiz, 804-7827.

Sheriff VIP services
   VIPs are “Volunteers In Patrol,” uniformed volunteers serving the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. There are several VIPs from Three Rivers who contribute their time and assistance to a variety of community issues and incidents.
   Are you planning to be away from your home for more than a day? Do you know someone who lives alone who would benefit from a welfare check at least once a week? The VIPs offer these services and more.
   They also assist stranded motorists and check on anything suspicious. They report directly to the county Sheriff’s Department.
   For more information on the VIPs, contact Jim Fansett, resident deputy sheriff. Or drop in at a meeting, held the fourth Saturday of each month at Gateway Restaurant.
   The next VIP training academy is scheduled for January 2008. Applications are available from any VIP.

OBITUARY

Paul Bohannan
1920 ~ 2007

   Paul James Bohannan, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Friday, July 13, 2007, after battling Alzheimer’s disease in recent years. He was 87.
   Paul was born in Lincoln, Neb., to Hillory and Linnie Hazel Bohannan. He was raised in Indiana, Montana, and Colorado before leaving home to play piano in a jazz band.
   While a student at the University of Arizona, the U.S. entered into World War II. Paul enlisted in the Army, took lessons in Japanese, and spent much of the war helping to break Japanese codes, then traveled throughout Japan as an interpreter, completing his service with the rank of captain.
   After returning to the University of Arizona, he earned his bachelor’s degree. He continued his education at Oxford University in England as a Rhodes scholar.
   In 1951, he earned his doctorate in philosophy and taught at Oxford for five years. He performed his anthropological fieldwork among the Tiv in Nigeria.
   In 1956, Paul returned to the United States, where he taught at Princeton, Northwestern, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, before becoming dean of social sciences and communications at the University of Southern California. Upon his retirement in 1987, Paul and his wife, Lisa, moved to Three Rivers.
   Paul is survived by his wife, Adelyse (Lisa), of Visalia; son Denis of Hanford; his brother, William, and sister-in-law, Lillian, of Connecticut; and many nieces, nephews, and other family members.
   A memorial service will be held at a later date.
   Remembrances may be made to the American Association of University Women’s Educational Foundation at AAUW Developmental Office, P.O. Box 630832, Baltimore, MD 21263-0832, or to the Sequoia Riverlands Trust, 427 S. Garden St., Visalia, CA 93277.

 
THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
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