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In the News -
Friday, AUGUST 17, 2007
Like hundreds of California communities, Three Rivers attracts
transients, some of whom come to realize that if one must be homeless
then it might as well be here.
Sooner or later, many homeless persons break the law and
that may be what happened to Dane William Weatherly last week. Weatherly,
60, whose last known address is Lemon Cove, and who is currently known
to be living at a clandestine camp on private property west of Three Rivers,
is the town’s most visible transient.
On Thursday, Aug. 9, at least three individuals allegedly
observed Weatherly exposing himself in the vicinity of the Village Market
and Serrano’s Mexican Restaurant. According to a report filed by
Jim Fansett, Three Rivers resident deputy sheriff, two of those persons
have signed a complaint against Weatherly.
District Attorney is currently reviewing the case, and I expect an arrest
warrant to be issued charging Weatherly with lewd and lascivious conduct,”
It’s not Weatherly’s first brush with local law
officers. In the last three years, Weatherly has been arrested several
times for public intoxication.
In 2005, during a convention of Hell’s Angels in Three
Rivers, Weatherly threatened several of the bikers and had to be forcibly
removed from town for his own safety.
Because of the circumstances in this case, Weatherly is expected
to be charged with a misdemeanor, but if convicted could be required to
register as a sex offender.
Oak falls, disrupts power
A fallen oak tree, one-quarter mile east of the Three Rivers
Arts Center on North Fork Drive, caused a widespread power outage just
before midnight on Friday, August 10. SCE linemen cut the damaged lines
shortly after the outage was reported and had power restored to most areas
by 2 a.m.
Several local customers reported intermittent outages and
surges throughout the night and the next morning. Power was restored to
customers in the immediate vicinity by noon Saturday.
Several oaks or their large branches have fallen in the Three
Rivers area this summer. Because last winter was exceedingly dry with
no significant precipitation in the region since March, the local oaks
are changing color and dropping their leaves earlier than usual.
Drought brings on stress in trees. Stressed trees grow slowly
and become susceptible to insect attacks and diseases that cannot successfully
attack healthy trees, so the long-term consequences of a drought are harmful.
Stress factors may be more frequent and severe near roadways
and homes where trees are often subjected to disturbances associated with
human activities. These stress factors often weaken trees so much that
they succumb, sometimes suddenly, to the root killing and girdling actions
of insects and diseases.
Since a large oak can drink up to 300 gallons of water per
day, soil moisture rapidly becomes depleted under drought conditions.
Oaks, like other trees, respond to drought with their own built-in defense
mechanisms. Premature leaf drop is one of these techniques.
Since it is the leaves of the trees that provide the demand
for soil moisture, shedding foliage is a method trees use to reduce this
demand and lessen the possibility of totally running out of water.
But usually the progression of decline is slow, occurring
over several years, not just one dry winter. Experts say that most oaks
that have currently dropped their leaves will recover during the winter
and leaf out as normal next spring.
TRUS, WHS: Fall
begin next week
Classes for the 165 students enrolled in the Three Rivers
K-8 school are set to start Wednesday, Aug. 22. The new semester marks
the 81st year that classes have been held at the district’s Sierra
The local district’s high school in Woodlake begins
its new school year Monday, Aug. 20, as the two education partners share
bus schedules to transport Three Rivers students. John Crabtree, who recently
retired as maintenance supervisor at TRUS will continue to serve as a
Teachers and staff-- At Three Rivers School,
two new teachers have been hired to fill vacancies created when Stacy
Thornburg (sixth grade) and Debra Cruz (fourth grade) accepted positions
elsewhere. Both teachers commuted to Three Rivers daily, so it was advantageous
for them to find positions down in the Valley.
Rika Pearson, who relocated to Three Rivers from Houston,
Texas, a couple of years ago, was hired as the new fourth-grade teacher.
She formerly managed The Cabin, a popular coffee emporium, prior to returning
to the classroom.
Kristine Axtell, who is the wife of Craig Axtell, superintendent
of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, will take over the sixth-grade
teaching duties. She brings an outdoors orientation to the classroom and
the experience of living and working in gateway communities to national
parks similar to Three Rivers.
James Irwin of Visalia has been hired to take over the maintenance
and custodial duties at TRUS. He has local ties to Three Rivers and hopes
to one day relocate closer to his new workplace.
Cafeteria-- The Three Rivers School lunch
menu is set for the month of August, but it won’t be distributed
to students until the first day of school (Wednesday, Aug. 22). So to
help parents and students plan for the first week of meals, the following
is the menu:
Wednesday, Aug. 22— Hot dog, French fries, Teddy Grahams,
fruit, and milk.
Thursday, Aug. 23— Waffles, sausage, hash browns, oranges,
Friday, Aug. 24— Pepperoni pizza (vegetarian: cheese
pizza), carrot sticks with ranch dressing, graham crackers, fruit, and
Three Rivers School provides free and reduced-price lunches
for students who are determined eligible under certain household size
and income criteria. In addition, students who receive Food Stamps, CalWORKS,
or other specific government assistance are automatically eligible for
Applications will be distributed to all students and are
also available at the TRUS office. There is no deadline to submit an application;
it may be submitted at any time during the school year.
For more information, call TRUS, 561-4466.
Sports-- TRUS begins volleyball and flag
football competition in a new small school athletics league.
Pam Kambourian of Three Rivers will return as the varsity
volleyball coach and Jesse Wittenstein of Three Rivers will assist with
the junior varsity girls program.
The boys’ flag football program is currently looking
for coaches to fill the vacancy created when Jeff Beck of Three Rivers
took a football coaching position at Woodlake High School.
Anyone interested in applying to be a walk-on coach should
contact the TRUS office, 561-4466.
Special delivery: 3R organizations
displaced by fire
On Sunday, Aug. 5, a fire at a trailer park in Woodlake destroyed
four homes and damaged two others. A total of 20 people were left homeless,
including children ranging in ages from 10 months old to 17.
this past week, Three Rivers community members have scrambled to collect
clothing and household items to assist the families who lost all their
Presbyterian Church was made aware of the tragedy and church members contacted
The Thingerie. Instead of selling the necessary items at the thrift store’s
normally low prices, The Thingerie, operated by the Three Rivers Woman’s
Club, donated everything from toasters to a baby stroller to clothing
in specific sizes.
No local issues on November ballot
Three Rivers voters will not be going to the polls for the
Consolidated Districts Election, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007.
That’s because no new candidates filed the necessary paperwork to
run for the available local government positions.
Because some incumbents did not file for candidacy by the
Friday, Aug. 10, deadline, the deadline was extended to Wednesday, Aug.
15. This is in accordance with the California Elections Code.
Three Rivers Community Services District— Three seats
are up for grabs on the Three Rivers Community Services District so that
means four would have had to file to run for the contest to appear on
the ballot. Elected officers Tom Sparks, Dennis Mills, and Vincent Andrus’s
terms are expiring. Dennis Mills and Vincent Andrus filed as incumbents.
Tom Sparks — who is dividing his time these days between the Three
Rivers Village Foundation and a TCAG (Tulare County Association of Governments)
appointment — did not file for reelection.
So the board will appoint someone to fill the vacant seat.
Most likely that will be David L. Mills, who submitted his declaration
of candidacy one day before the August 10 deadline.
Three Rivers Memorial District— Two board members’
terms are expiring, one veteran and one non-veteran seat. Robert Zapoli
(Veteran-Seat #5) filed to run again, so he will retain his position.
Incumbent Shirley Conway (Non-Veteran-Seat #4) did not file within the
nomination period, so the seat will remain vacant until a replacement
is appointed by the board.
Sequoia Memorial District— This Lemon Cove entity has
three seats available that were previously vacant and for which no one
again chose to file.
Additional upcoming elections— The State of California
has completed a comprehensive review of the state’s voting equipment
in preparation for the upcoming Presidential Primary Election, which will
be held Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2008, four months earlier than the June primaries
of the past.
The Presidential General Election will be held Tuesday, Nov.
For information on how to file to be a candidate for office,
call the Tulare County Elections Office at 733-6275 or visit www.tularecoelections.org.
BOS looking to a
countywide ambulance service
At the Tuesday, Aug. 28, meeting of the Tulare County Board
of Supervisors, there is an agenda item that could have tremendous impact
on the future of ambulance service in the foothills communities of Three
Rivers and Springville. A resolution is expected to be passed directing
staff to look at the feasibility of adopting a single ambulance contract
extending paramedic service countywide.
Currently, only the more populated areas of the county are
being served by paramedics under the existing county contract. According
to local ambulance volunteers, the resolution would be an important first
step down a road we must go.
think some people are under the misconception that the Three Rivers Ambulance
is staffed 24/7, and that simply is not the case,” said Tom Sparks,
who as president of the Three Rivers Village Foundation has been in lengthy
discussions with the county to upgrade the local service. “The EMTs
[emergency medical technicians] do a great job when they are able to respond
but there is no longer enough trained personnel to furnish consistent
The adoption of the countywide service would mean that a
paramedic would be on duty full-time in Three Rivers. Currently, the nearest
paramedic-staffed ambulance is Exeter and, if that unit has not been dispatched
to another call, the extra 20 to 30 minutes in response time can make
the critical difference if a patient lives or dies.
Sandy Owen, president of the Three Rivers Ambulance Association
and a 30-year ambulance volunteer and EMT, has been telling the county
for several years that the existing service requires an upgrade. She has
said publicly that her pleas to county officials have been largely ignored.
Sparks said that the ambulance service and several other
hot topics will be on the agenda at the next Three Rivers Town Hall Meeting.
Supervisor Allen Ishida will attend that meeting, which is scheduled for
Monday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m., at the Three Rivers Memorial Building.
SNC schedules workshops
for grant applications
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is hosting a series of workshops
this month and two web conferences in September to familiarize prospective
applicants with upcoming grant opportunities. Grants will be available
for a variety of projects related to protecting and restoring natural
resources; preserving working landscapes such as ranches, farms and forests;
reducing fire risk; improving habitat; and promoting sustainable economic
activity in the Sierra Nevada.
Funding for these grants comes from Proposition 84, the Safe
Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coast
Protection Bond Act, passed by California voters in November 2006.
The workshops are not conveniently located for southern Sierra
residents; they are being held in Auburn, Bishop, Mariposa, and Susanville.
However, the web conferences are being provided for those who cannot attend
The focus will be on the preparation of an application and
the elements of a successful project proposal. All parties interested
in seeking a state SNC grant for the above-mentioned types of projects
are encouraged to attend one of the workshops or web conferences.
workshops allow Sierra residents to have direct interaction with SNC staff
so that they are well equipped to submit successful applications,,”
said Jim Branham, SNC executive officer. “The SNC has a broad mission
aimed at improving environmental and economic wellbeing in the Sierra,
and these grants are important in helping us meet our mission.
The SNC is currently accepting proposals for “Strategic
Opportunity Grants” for projects that assist communities and organizations
with outreach and education, critical research, planning activities, and
The second phase of grants, which are the subject of the
workshops, will address land acquisition (including easements) and on-the-ground
site improvements or restoration activities.
The SNC grants web conference dates and times are: Tuesday,
Sept. 4, 1 to 3 p.m.; and Wednesday, Sept. 5, 6 to 8 p.m. Participants
must register in advance to reserve a spot.
For the SNC grants workshops schedule or for more information,
Sequoia’s Willow Fire persists
The Willow Fire, a lightning-caused fire discovered July
21 in the backcountry of Sequoia National Park, is currently at 165 acres.
It is located two miles southwest of Big Arroyo in southern Sequoia, burning
in a foxtail pine forest above 10,000 feet in elevation.
Park fire managers report that fire behavior has increased
as the fuels continue to dry and the blaze could experience “significant
growth” in the upcoming weeks.
Wildfire prevention— The UC Master Gardeners this week
recommended that foothills residents create two zones on their property:
home defense (30 feet) and property defense (100 feet).
The general concept is that trees should be kept furthest
from structures, with shrubs closer, and bedding plants and lawns closest
to the house.
In other words, the landscape conditions should not support
the spread of fire to other vegetation or to a building or structure.
Learning co-op for preschoolers
organzes for fall session
It’s back-to-school time for most Three Rivers children,
including the Three Rivers Learning Group Co-op for preschool-aged kids.
Founded last year, the co-op is currently recruiting for the new session.
The parents or caretakers run their child’s readiness
program in an effort to be a part of their children’s learning process.
Not everyone is inclined to take such an active roll, however, the fun,
safe, structured environment provided for learning with one’s own
parent or other loved one makes for a unique experience that has made
so many co-ops thrive.
opportunity is priceless, and the possibilities are endless,” said
Bertha Garza Smalley, one of the organizers. “We are truly humbled
by the generosity of the Community Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers
as they have granted us a place where a preschool once thrived and of
which many have fond memories. The location couldn’t be more perfect!”
Parents and caretakers must stay and be willing to teach,
play, clean, prepare food, fundraise, be around young kids, and be friendly
There is no enrollment fee. The only cost is for food and
materials used, and if you feel so inclined, a donation may be made to
the church for utilities expenses and use of their facility.
The cost is very minimal, and the children love coming together
and anticipate their learning/playing experience.
Every preschool-aged child in Three Rivers now has the opportunity
to prepare for school — emotionally, intellectually, and at almost
no cost to the parents, just a commitment of time and energy.
Our goals of preparing the children for the challenges of
beginning elementary school include:
them socially by providing them a consistent interaction with a group
of children and teachers in a learning environment.
character traits of attentiveness and respect.
an opportunity to do simple group activities (gross and fine motor skills).
in the beginning fundamentals of reading by doing ABC activities through
flashcards, writing, singing, and videos.
in the beginning fundamentals of math through 1-2-3 counting and activities.
Other activities and skills taught will be language focus,
science and cultural focus, arts and crafts, introduction to musical instruments,
music and dancing, physical movement, beginning sign language and Spanish,
food preparation, and horticultural study (gardening).
The days and times of the upcoming co-op session will be
determined based on the parents who are involved.
For more information or to enroll a child, call 561-3028
Horse champ-- Kacie Fleeman, 12, of Three
Rivers has won Reserve World Champion in Trail (13 and under) on her horse,
CR Painted Dream, an eight-year-old registered paint gelding.
The World Paint Show was held June 24 to 29 in Fort Worth,
Kacie also finished sixth in Reining (13 and under) with
her horse Color Me Doc Com and ninth in Reining with CR Painted Dream
for two top 10 finishes.
For her efforts, Kacie came home with a silver buckle, show
vest, patch, $100 gift check, and lots of ribbons.
Currently, Kacie is in second place in California for 13-and-under
for Best All-Around.
East travels-- Matt Owsley, who graduated Three Rivers School
in June, was treated to an educational tour this summer as a reward for
his 4.0 grade point average.
Matt traveled to Boston, Mass.; Virginia; Pittsburgh and
Philadelphia, Pa.; New York City; and Washington, D.C. He visited such
historic sites as the Liberty Bell, George Washington’s grave, the
World Trade Center site, Empire State Building, U.S. Capitol, White House,
and many more.
Matt is the son of Amy Wheeler. Carl and Kay Wheeler of Three
Rivers are his grandparents.
really enjoyed the trip and made many new friends,” said proud grandma
The following are California residents killed in Iraq during
the past three weeks as announced by the governor’s office:
U.S. Marine Corporal Matthew R. Zindars,
21, stationed at Camp Pendleton, died Tuesday, July 24, while conducting
combat operations in Diyala Province, Iraq.
U.S. Army Specialist Jaime Rodriguez Jr.,
19, of Oxnard, died Thursday, July 26, as a result of wounds sustained
when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Saqlawiyah,
U.S. Marine Corporal Sean A. Stokes, 24,
of Auburn, died Monday, July 30, as a result of wounds suffered while
conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
U.S. Army Specialist Daniel F. Reyes, 24,
of San Diego, died Tuesday, July 31, as a result of wounds suffered from
enemy indirect fire in Tunis, Iraq.
U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Cristian Vasquez,
20, of Coalinga, died Thursday, Aug. 2, as a result of wounds suffered
while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
U.S. Marine Sergeant Jon E. Bonnell Jr.,
22, stationed at Camp Pendleton, died Tuesday, Aug. 7, as a result of
wounds suffered while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province,
U.S. Marine Sergeant Michael E. Tayaotao,
27, of Sunnyvale, died Thursday, Aug. 9, as a result of wounds suffered
while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.
Total U.S. deaths in Iraq—
3,701 (as of Thursday, Aug. 16)