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of KAWEAH COUNTRY —
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Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks,
Lemon Cove and Woodlake
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In the News - Friday, AUGUST 10, 2007


Pot gardens raided,

shots fired

   An interagency task force led by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks rangers raided several large pot gardens on Tuesday, August 7, off the Mineral King Road in Sequoia National Park, about eight miles up from Highway 198. During initial operations, shots were fired, and according to an unconfirmed source, may have been directed at a helicopter that was assisting ground personnel.
   After the shots were fired, law officers knocked on doors of homes along Mineral King Road and Hammond Drive warning residents to be on the lookout for fleeing suspects.
   The pot garden acreage was described as “a large grow complex with several varieties of marijuana,” including a genetically-altered hybrid strain of the ecologically destructive weed. According to a preliminary report released by the parks’ information officer, the new hybrids have only three leaves, mature rapidly allowing for multiple crops in a season, and tend to be shorter than three feet tall, which makes detection more difficult.
   While the operation that’s been dubbed the “Lake Canyon Incident” continues, the Mineral King Road will be closed for extended periods. Residents and visitors in the area were notified of the ongoing operations and are currently being escorted at the discretion of law officers.

  “It’s very unusual that the Mineral King Road has to be closed, but we thought in the interest of public safety it was necessary,” said Alexandra Picavet, parks’ spokesperson. “Until the incident is concluded, those needing to access Mineral King and Silver City should call the parks’ dispatcher at 565-3195 for an escort.”
As of Wednesday afternoon (August 8), rangers had removed 5,432 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $14 million.
   No arrests have been made, but eradication of more gardens and the gathering of evidence is expected to continue for several more days. Cleanup of miles of irrigation hose, agricultural pesticides, and trash and debris, along with restoration of the site, will take months.
   Anyone with information about pot growing operations or any illegal activities in the national parks may report anonymously by calling 1-888-NPS-CRIME (888-677-2746).

New fire-education

specialist on parks’ staff

   When it comes to the field of fire management, it doesn’t get any better than Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. That’s how Deb Schweizer sizes up her new position as Fire Education Specialist.
   Schweizer assumed her new duties at Ash Mountain last month after working in a similar capacity and some related positions for the past 12 years at Yosemite National Park.

  “Anyone interested in fire management would be thrilled to work at Sequoia,” Deb said. “The fire program here is on the cutting edge and is widely known for the science to back it up.”
   Deb is a transplanted New Yorker, who after graduating from NYU at Buffalo with an English degree, never would have imagined that she’d be wearing a career NPS flat hat.

  “I’ve taken advantage of my education to get administrative jobs in public relations and planning that evolved into other opportunities,” Deb said. “Fire seemed to come up a lot, so naturally I wanted to learn more.”
   As a means to better understand fire, she’s also a “ red-carded” firefighter who has been on the line and experienced fire firsthand.
Schweizer, whose husband works with the parks’ inventory and monitoring section, said she expected a formidable challenge while she learned her way around these new parks. But the transition, she said, was made a lot less stressful because of the work of her predecessor.

  “Jody [Lyle], the former fire education specialist, left very implicit instructions on all aspects of the job,” Deb said. “It is amazing how organized she had everything for me to come in and take over.”
   Lyle and her husband, Erik Oberg, an interpretive ranger, transferred earlier this year to NPS positions in Washington, D.C.
In addition to her fire education duties, Schweizer said she’s very excited about Sequoia’s hiking possibilities.

  “My husband and I are avid hikers and backpackers so we are looking forward to spending time in the backcountry,” Deb said. “I recently hiked up to Paradise Peak from Atwell Mill to take a look at the Willow Fire. Typically, in the foxtails you won’t see fire spot and spread, but this is an unusually dry season.”
   Schweizer admitted that she was never much of a hiker until she took her first extended hiking trip in 1993. On that trip, she spent six months thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.
   That experience on the AT was life changing for Sequoia’s new fire education specialist.

  “Everyone we met was so supportive of what we were doing and we learned so much by living outside,” Deb recalled. “It made us realize that there were other possibilities — to live and work in some of this country’s most beautiful places.”

3R CHP officer, retired,

will address Lions meeting

   The Three Rivers Lions Club is renowned for all the good they do, the fun-filled community events they sponsor, and great fellowship at their Thursday night dinners. New members are always welcome and this Thursday’s program at Lions Arena is no exception.
   But what makes the August 16 night extra special is that the Lions would like to invite the entire community to this special-edition meeting to share in all the fun and fellowship.

  “We just wanted to do something different this month and invite everyone for a delicious lasagna dinner,” said Glenn McIntyre, who organized the evening’s program. “Everyone will have the opportunity to hear a very interesting speaker — our good friend and former CHP officer Greg Fox.”
   Officer Fox recently retired after 23 years with the California Highway Patrol, seven of those years on patrol in Three Rivers. During that time, he’s heard it all from motorists of every temperament and disposition and he’s got some tales to tell.
   According to Lion Glenn, Officer Fox will reveal the best and worst of what he’s seen from drivers in Three Rivers.

  “You won’t want to miss this program,” McIntyre said. “Driving is something we all do, and with Officer Fox on patrol, the local roads were, without a doubt, much safer.”
   Social hour begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. Reservations must be booked by Sunday, August 12. RSVP by calling 561-0145.

Parks monitor

lightning-caused fires

   July was the month for thunderstorms in the high country, and where there’s thunder, there’s lightning. Lightning strikes set off five separate fires in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks this past month.
   The most recent is the Josephine Fire, located west of Josephine Lakes on the east side of Deadman Canyon in Kings Canyon National Park. It is currently burning in a single foxtail pine at the 11,000-foot elevation level, but growth will be limited due to the granite landscape.
   The Willow Fire, discovered July 21 two miles southwest of Big Arroyo in Sequoia remains the most active fire. It has currently consumed 106 acres, but subsided due to a rainstorm on July 24.
Fire managers report that this fire still has potential for growth as the vegetation continues to dry. It is located above 10,000 feet.
   The Claire Fire in Sequoia was discovered July 16. It has been declared out. The Lost Canyon Fire in Sequoia, discovered July 6, has been declared out.
   The Sphinx Fire in Kings Canyon, also discovered July 6, has burned about two acres and been placed in inactive status.

  “Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have experienced a quiet wildland fire season so far,” said Deb Schweizer, parks’ fire information officer. “This has allowed the parks’ fire resources to assist on other wildland fires throughout the West.”

OBITUARIES

Richard Moran
1930 ~ 2007

   Richard Fulton Moran died at his Three Rivers home on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007, after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 76.
   A wake will be held tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 11) at 2 p.m. at River View Restaurant & Lounge in Three Rivers.
   Dick was born Aug. 4, 1930, in Sheffield, Ill., to Charles and Sharlett Moran. In 1940, the family relocated to San Gabriel, where Dick graduated from Mark Keppel High School.
   After playing football for USC and West Point, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served his country during the Korean War.
   In 1951, Dick married Eldora E. Kechter in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The couple moved back to San Gabriel, where they raised their three children.
   Eldora preceded Dick in death. On Sept. 15, 1979, he married Eva Jimenez Inda and became the stepfather to five children.
In April 1992, Dick and Eva retired to Three Rivers.
   He is survived by his wife Eva of Three Rivers; his eight children; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
   Remembrances may be made to the American Cancer Society, 211 N. Encina St., Visalia, CA 93291; or to Hospice of Tulare County, 900 W. Oak St., Visalia, CA 93291.

Gary Post
1964 ~ 2007

   Gary Ray Post of Lemon Cove died Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007. The former resident of Three Rivers was 43.
   Gary was preceded in death by his father, Raymond Earl Post of Three Rivers on March 21, 1996. He was also predeceased by his mother, Barbara Barton.
   Gary is survived by his son, Conner Michael Van Ornam-Post of Long Beach; his stepbrother, Richard Barton of Susanville; and aunt Carol McGrew of Three Rivers.
   No services will be held. He will be interred at the Three Rivers Cemetery.

MILITARY DEATHS
   The following are California residents killed in Iraq from July 1 to 24 as announced by the governor’s office:
   U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Michael L. Ruoff Jr., 31, of Yosemite died Sunday, July 1, as a result of wounds sustained from small arms fire in Ta’meem, Iraq.
   U.S. Army Specialist Eric M. Holke, 31, of Crestline died Sunday, July 15, as a result of injuries sustained from a vehicle rollover accident near the city of Tallil, Iraq.
   U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Luis E. Gutierrez-Rosales, 38, of Bakersfield died Wednesday, July 18, as a result of wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked by enemy forces using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire in Adhamiyah, Iraq.
   U.S. Army Sergeant Ronald L. Coffelt, 36, of Fair Oaks died Thursday, July 19, as a result of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq.
   U.S. Marine Corporal Christopher G. Scherer, 21, stationed at Camp Pendleton, died Saturday, July 21, as a result of wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
   U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Joshua P. Mattero, 29, of San Diego died Tuesday, July 24, as a result of wounds suffered from an improvised explosive device in Baqubah, Iraq.
   U.S. Navy Hospitalman Daniel S. Noble, 21, of Whittier died Tuesday, July 24, as a result of enemy action while conducting security operations in the Dilaya Province, Iraq.





 
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