News and Information
for residents and visitors
Three Rivers,
Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks,
Lemon Cove and Woodlake
Kaweah Kam

In the News - Friday, JULY 28, 2006


Woodlake soldier

killed in Iraq

   The community of Woodlake has suffered its first casualty as a result of the Iraq war. On Saturday, July 15, U. S. Army Specialist Manuel “Joaquin” Holguin died due to injuries sustained when his patrol, which was on foot, encountered enemy small-arms fire and an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital city.
   Joaquin, 21, enlisted in the Army in 2002 when he was a senior at Woodlake High School. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, based in Baumholder, Germany.
   He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq, which began in November 2005, a result of the federal government’s controversial “Stop Loss” policy, the retention of some troops to remain in service beyond their expected or contractually agreed-upon term. Stop Loss was created by Congress after the Vietnam War, but used most extensively since 2001 due to the ongoing “War on Terror.”
   Joaquin’s first tour lasted 16 months. The number of U.S. servicemen killed in Iraq has surpassed 2,500.
   On Tuesday, July 25, Joaquin was laid to rest at the Visalia District Cemetery. The service was attended by hundreds of family; friends; many Woodlake residents; military officers and representatives from the Army and Navy; members of the Knights of Columbus, the Patriot Guard Riders, and the Visalia Fire Department; and those who didn’t know Joaquin personally but came to pay their respects a the fallen soldier.
   Joaquin is survived by his parents, Manuel and Lydia Holguin of Elderwood, school administrators at Mount Whitney in Visalia and Woodlake Valley Middle School, respectively. He also has a 19-year-old brother, Javier.

It’s Tool Time!
3R Mercantile opens

its doors… automatically

   In the past year, several innovative new businesses have opened their doors in Three Rivers. But without a doubt the largest and most anticipated of these ventures has been that of Three Rivers Mercantile.
   Among the many firsts of the area’s newest business and largest retail commercial building is the first set of automatic doors ever to grace a Three Rivers establishment. Mike McCoy, longtime area resident and owner, hopes that local shoppers will be carrying armloads of goods toward the parking lot and appreciate the hands-free convenience.

  “I couldn’t be more pleased with the sales of our first month in business,” said McCoy. “Three Rivers has been very supportive. We’re selling something from every aisle in the store.”
   McCoy, who quietly yet officially opened the store July 5, said he hasn’t yet had the time to count all the items stocked in each department of the sleek new mega-store but his inventory numbers in the thousands of items. Add the 70,000 items available through the “Do it Best” customer online ordering and the home or business improvement possibilities are limitless.

  “We’re going to have to experience all four seasons to know the real potential of this business,” McCoy said.
   In talking with the new owner, who formerly owned and operated the Texaco gas station and mini-mart in Lemon Cove, it’s obvious he can hardly wait to find out. After selling that business in 2004, McCoy immediately began searching for his next investment.

  “I just had a gut feeling after building a house here that I wanted to stay in Three Rivers,” McCoy said.
   For several months he looked at demographics up and down the Sierra region from Tahoe to Tehachapi. His research in certain areas confirmed his “gut feeling” and he made the decision to give something unique back to the community of Three Rivers.
   From the outset, he knew he had to become a developer to fulfill his dream so he learned some very hard lessons about Tulare County planning.

  “There’s planned growth, there’s haphazard growth, and there is needed growth,” McCoy said. “I looked at this project as the kind of business that Three Rivers really needed.”
   Although there were bumps in the long and winding process, long-range planners applaud this type of development in the foothills because it saves unnecessary vehicle trips down the hill. McCoy said he watched a number of folks on their first visit just wander the aisles amazed at the row after row of neatly stocked items on the store’s shelves.
   In his negotiations to make his hardware store a reality, McCoy checked into the various co-ops that could give him the buying power to bring competitive pricing to Three Rivers. The deal offered by Do it Best, the third largest of the three big players in the industry, convinced McCoy to go with the Indiana-based company.
   Do it Best has a regional office in Fresno so face-to-face corporate communications are relatively simple. The weekly deliveries to stock the 11,900-square-foot Three Rivers store are trucked in from a warehouse in Oregon.
   During the recent heat wave, the entire stock of Do it Best air conditioners flew off the shelves.

  “People are having trouble with sprinklers so replacement parts are in demand and so are misters, PVC, culverts, and just about anything to do with water or cooling,” McCoy said. “Our customers are also telling us that many of our prices, especially in the feed section, are lower than the big name, home improvement stores in Visalia.”
   Once the weather cools and the kids are back in school, McCoy is planning a gala grand opening. On that day, there will be some great promotions and how-to demos, and the store will unveil some brand-new products for fall and winter.
   This store, McCoy said, is dedicated to finding whatever suits Three Rivers’ needs. If you don’t see it on the shelves just ask.

  “I’ve never liked the term ‘special order’ or a place where a customer has to jump through hoops to get certain items,” McCoy said. “If we don’t have it here in the store we can probably order it from our dozens of vendors and it will be here in Tuesday’s delivery.”

Extended forecast: Ditto

   That hint of cool in the pre-dawn air Thursday was a welcome albeit brief respite from the scorching triple-digit heat that has been endured for the majority of July.
   The brief coolness was hopefully a sign of things to come for the weekend as marine air begins to make its way ever so slightly into the Sierra Nevada foothills.
   After almost three weeks of triple-digit temperatures, the highs in the upper 90s that are in the weekend forecast will feel a little more normal. The average high for this time of the year is 99.
   The summer of 2006 is shaping up like no other. Previous record high temperatures all across the U.S. have been shattered. With a 90-degree reading at midnight recently recorded, Fresno experienced its highest low ever.
   In Three Rivers, a number of residents were wondering how the Fresno news media came up with 117 for the Three Rivers high on Saturday, July 22. Although sources were not revealed for the data, it’s probable that one or more local thermometers did show that scorcher of a reading.
   While it is possible that no local individual records were broken in the current run of high temperatures, it’s the duration of the heat wave — 20 days and counting — that is believed to be unprecedented. Adding to the daytime heat is that nighttime lows are having difficulty falling below 80 degrees.
   How to beat the heat?
   (1) Stay indoors where it’s air-conditioned and drink plenty of water and power drinks that replenish. (2) Travel 90 minutes east and setup camp in Mineral King, stick your toes in the East Fork, and seriously chill out. (3) Head over to the coast and jump into the chilly ocean blue. (4) Go jump in the lake or the river and stay wet. (5) Fill your swimming pool with ice, float on a rubberized lounge, and imagine you’re on an expedition to the Antarctic in winter.
   And perhaps the most comforting thought of all, in less than two months the brutal heat wave of 2006 will be just another memory.

Park crews

working 21 fires

   In the last week, fire crews at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have been on the run responding to lightning fires in all corners of the parks caused by recent thunderstorm activity. Since Monday, July 17, crews have discovered 21 fires in the parks.
   Of these, seven have, or will be, suppressed, keeping them at less than two acres each.
   In Sequoia National Park, five suppression fires (Eagle, Trail, Castle, Alta, and Little Sand) are located in the Kaweah River’s Middle Fork canyon. Two other suppression fires (Evelyn and South Fork) were contained by July 20.
   The other 14 fires, all currently less than a quarter-acre, will be managed using a “wildland fire use” strategy that allows for the natural spread of fire to improve forest conditions. This strategy is utilized when there is low risk to people and development.
   In Sequoia, there are seven wildland fire use projects: Jennie (North Fork-Kaweah); Silliman (Marble Fork-Kaweah); Tar, White Chief, and Paradise (East Fork-Kaweah); and Coyote and Chagoopa (Kern River).
   In Kings Canyon National Park, the remaining seven wildland fire use projects are the Burnt and Dead Pines fires, located in the Kings River’s Middle Fork drainage; and the Crescent, Ellis, Roaring, Scenic, and Rae fires, located in the South Fork of the Kings.
   Fire managers expect to find even more fires over the next week as the current weather pattern is forecast to continue.


Spa facials

rejuvenate skin and spirit

by Lisa Lieberman

   It’s Saturday morning and it has been a long, hot, hectic week. I’ve been working hard and I want to give myself a reward.
   So, I’ve booked myself an hour-long facial with Sona Sargent at the TRU Salon and Day Spa. Sona’s the new esthetician at the spa, which is located in the Century 21 Three Rivers complex.
   I walk out of the 110-degree heat, step into the cool facial room, and am greeted by the fragrant smells of aromatherapy and the soothing sounds of soft music playing in the background.
   Sona hands me a fresh smock to change into, and I know the next hour is going to be just for me. I’m getting the European facial with an eye treatment, which begins with a cleansing of my skin and then a steam treatment, followed by a neck and shoulder massage.
   The hot steam opens up my pores and I can feel myself relaxing, my muscles beginning to loosen up. Sona shines a light on my face, examines my skin and does a few extractions.
   She analyzes my skin closely so she can match my skin type with the perfect peel.

  “This helps remove the older skin and makes room for the newer cells, which hydrates the skin and gives it a healthier glow,” she said.
   Sona explained that all the cells in the body, including skin cells, reproduce themselves once every 28 days. So, for optimum skin care, it’s best to get facials once a month, although some people choose to have them seasonally.

  “When the new cells get reproduced and come up to the surface of the epidermal layer, the old ones start start sloughing off, but sometimes they need help because pores get clogged over time with air pollution and makeup,” she continued.
   Just in the same way regular dental cleanings are important in keeping teeth healthy, regular facials can also help keep skin looking healthy and vibrant.
   In addition to the European facial, other services include four-layer seaweed facials, microdermabrasion, corrective treatments for acne and blemishes, and hydrating eye treatments.
   I opt for the eye treatment, which involves an eye massage with a special cream and an eye mask. The skin around the eyes is more delicate than the rest of the face, so this special treatment helps stimulate the lymphatic glands, which release toxins and helps reduce puffiness around the eyes.
   At this point, I’m so relaxed, I’m about to fall asleep.
   Prior to opening up shop in Three Rivers, Sona, a licensed esthetician, worked at Z’s Day Spa for two years, one of the larger day spas in Visalia. There, she received special training in doing corrective facials for skin blemishes. The corrective treatments, which involve deep extractions, work well for teenagers and adults who have acne or mild monthly breakouts, Sona said.

  “These treatments make your face cleaner and your pores smaller and more refined, so it stops things that can turn into blemishes from getting into the skin,” she explained.
   Microdermabrasion is a popular anti-aging treatment. Unlike the old technology, which utilized salt crystals to exfoliate the skin, Sona is using a new type of equipment that offers a particle and chemical-free deep exfoliation, which is gentle on all skin types.

  “It’s a noninvasive cosmetic producer that really rejuvenates the skin,” Sona said.
   Prices for facials range from $55 to $100. Sona also does waxes, including upper lip, eyebrow, bikini and, for men, back waxes.
   Upper lip waxes are $10 and eyebrow waxes are $13. Prices for bikini waxes start at $25 and back waxes are $50. These services make great gifts for birthdays or special occasions.
   Since I am getting ready to go out of town, I decide to get an eyebrow wax, which Sona said “brings out my eyes.”
   For the final part of the facial, Sona applies a mask, which calms and purifies the skin. She gives me a shoulder and neck massage and washes off the mask.
   As I leave the salon, I am totally relaxed, my skin looks great, and I’m ready to face another hectic week.
   You can call Sona for an appointment at 561-2888.

Parks’ chief addresses

Mineral King audience

   For more than a century, Tulare County folks have been escaping the Valley heat and pursuing high country recreation in Mineral King. Since 1978, this 15,000-acre treasure trove of cultural resources and alpine scenery has been a part of Sequoia National Park.
   It seemed fitting when the Mineral King Preservation Society hosted its 20th annual Picnic in the Park on Saturday, July 15, that Craig Axtell, the parks’ new superintendent, would be this year’s keynote speaker.
   Axtell, 53, assumed the top post at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks earlier this year after serving as superintendent of Bryce Canyon National Park. He used the invitation to the picnic to get more acquainted with Mineral King camping at Cold Springs the night before.
   Axtell, who hiked from Cold Springs via the Nature Trail to the meeting’s locale next to the Peterson Cabin in East Mineral King, began by acknowledging how special it was for these cabins to be in a national park. He expects the relationship between the community and the National Park Servoce to become clarified, he said, once the parks’ General Management Plan is completed in the next few months.

  “I recently met with a representative of the community and we are in the process of forming a committee to oversee the district,” Axtell said. “I see a lot of bureaucracy here but we need to make sure we are communicating effectively.”
   At this picnic, the new committee was central to the discussion. It will be made up of cabin users and NPS representatives to ensure that structures are maintained within established guidelines.
   The committee has been in the planning stages since the Mineral King Road Cultural Landscape District was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. The following year, legislation was passed that afforded protection to the historic district and allowed owners of record to transfer cabin permits “to heirs and assigns.”
   Axtell also revealed some of his personal background drawing upon more than 31 years of NPS experience. There are currently 390 properties administered by his department, he said, with the newest national park being the crash site of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, in western Pennsylvania.

  “When most folks think of this country’s national parks they think of the large western parks but there’s so much more within the system,” Axtell said. “In terms of the recreational opportunities at Sequoia-Kings Canyon, 96 percent of our visitors are telling us that they are satisfied with their experience.”
   In general, Axtell said, the NPS is becoming more like a business, particularly with the maintenance of roads and trails. In addition to infrastructure, the biggest challenge, he said, is getting a handle on marijuana eradication.

  “We don’t have enough money to do it all and we never will,” said Axtell. “So we need to get over it and just do the best job we can do.”
   Axtell said he is excited about the new Giant Forest shuttle that’s all set to go in the summer of 2007. He believes it will get more folks out of their cars and further enhance the typical visitor experience.
   Among other challenges, he said, is to how to solve a long-standing conflict with stock users.

  “As long as we protect the high alpine meadows, I don’t see why we all can’t just get along,” he said
   Axtell said what attracted him to Sequoia was the park’s fire program and the Giant Forest restoration that he called one of the premiere projects of the NPS. Among his goals as superintendent are to help ensure the survival of the giant sequoias and to protect the Mineral King cabins and integrity of the district.

Excessive rain wreaks

havoc on MK Road

   In Three Rivers, it’s hot and dry. Last week, in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park, it was wet and wild.
   On Thursday, July 20, an intense thunderstorm caused mud, logs, and boulders to wash onto the Mineral King Road.
   The mudslide occurred near Silver City on an unpaved section of the roadway about 21 miles from Highway 198.
   Park employees reported that three to five inches of rain fell in under an hour. This, combined with the fact that last October the 840-acre Highbridge East Prescribed Fire burned in this area, caused the debris-slide.
   Park maintenance crews responded immediately and quickly reopened the road. The work continued through the beginning of this week, but the road remained passable and traffic wasn't delayed.
   Mechanical fuel reduction projects— This week, the local Park Service began work on the thinning and removal of trees in three visitor-use areas of Sequoia-Kings Canyon. The projects consist of five acres near Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia and 11 acres and four acres, respectively, between the Sheep Creek and Sentinel campgrounds and the concession housing area.


Tom Rose
1937 ~ 2006

   Tom Rose, formerly of Three Rivers, died peacefully in his sleep at his daughter’s home in San Jose on Saturday, July 1, 2006. He was 68.
   Tom was born Aug. 29, 1937, in Los Angeles.
   He was a mosaic tile artist who accomplished several major projects in his lifetime. His tile work is displayed at the historic Fox Theatre in Visalia. He also worked on creating the “Fantasy House” in Hollywood, which has been featured in several productions.
   Tom’s artwork also graces the homes of many Three Rivers residents as well as Hollywood celebrities.
   Tom was an adventurous soul who had traveled around the world. In 1972, Captain Tom survived a shipwreck with his wife of 19 years, Gerry, their two children, two friends, and their dog.
They were stranded on a rock in the Bahamas for several days until rescued by a tour boat.
   It was Tom’s love of nature that brought him to Three Rivers, where he resided for many years. He loved to host parties, sweats, and play with the Kaweah River Drum Circle, which he considered his second family.
   In 1978, Tom was preceded in death by his son, Tommy Rose.
Tom is survived by his daughter, Kim Medina of San Jose; sister Carole Watkins of Hawaii; three grandchildren, Michelle Matus of Tracy, Yvette Howell of Merced, and Sandra Cornier of Santa Clara; and nine great-grandchildren, Dylan, Joel Jr., Lauren, Nicolas, Marcus, Emily, Brendan, Christopher, and Caitlyn.

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