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In the News -
Friday, AUGUST 24, 2007
Searchers find body
Kings Canyon NP
Search teams looking for a backpacker who disappeared in
Kings Canyon National Park more than two weeks ago found a body matching
Henry Nguyen, 39, of Garden Grove, was reported missing Monday,
Aug. 6, when he did not return from a solo backcountry trip in the eastern
portion of the park. Family members said he often backpacks on his own
off-trail but leaves them a detailed itinerary and gets in touch when
he finishes hikes.
Late Thursday, Aug. 16, searchers found a body that matched
Nguyen’s description in the Dusy Basin. Nguyen is described as five
feet, nine inches tall, 125 pounds, with black hair and glasses.
Rangers believe the experienced backpacker died in a fall from Isosceles
Peak, a 12,321-foot peak south of Bishop Pass. The Fresno County Coroner
will positively identify the body and determine Nguyen’s cause of
Remains of second
The remains of what is believed to be the second of four
crewmen who died while in 1942 while on a training flight were found by
hikers last week on a remote glacier on Mount Mendel in Kings Canyon National
Park. The body was found 100 feet from where another body was found on
Oct. 16, 2005, by an ice climber.
The first man was later identified as Leo Mustonen, 22, one
of four fliers aboard an Army Air Corps AT-7 plane that took off from
Mather Air Force Base on Nov. 18, 1942, and was never heard from again.
After Mustonen’s body was found, searchers scoured
the area, looking for other remains, but were hampered by the snowpack.
Unconfirmed reports state that the current remains were found
by a hiker who was in the area to conduct research for a book he will
be writing about the incident. The body was likely exposed because of
the lack of snowfall during the previous winter and the lateness of the
current season, causing the snowpack at the site to recede.
On the rocks
On Tuesday, Aug. 21, a driverless delivery truck nearly missed
taking out a portion of the Mountain View Realty building up-canyon from
Three Rivers Market. The cause of the runaway ice-service truck was believed
to be a faulty parking brake.
Back to school:
administrators switch chairs,
new teachers on staff
At the end of the last school year, when Steve Tietjen, Woodlake’s
superintendent, informed the elementary and high school boards of his
decision to take a new position in Los Banos, the vacancy set off an unprecedented
chain reaction. Rather than hire an outside candidate, trustees chose
to promote from within: Tim Hire, principal at Woodlake High School for
the past two years, was appointed to succeed Tietjen as district superintendent.
Principal— Nicole Glentzer, Woodlake
High alum and former assistant principal under Hire, was promoted to be
Woodlake High School’s new principal. At 34, she may be the youngest
to ever serve as top administrator at the 91-year old high school.
a baby due next month, I would never have contemplated a career move,
but everyone involved was convinced that my upcoming leave will work out
just fine,” Glentzer said. “I’m fortunate because my
husband is so supportive and has been a primary caregiver with our first
child. My doctor thinks I can be back at school in four to eight weeks.”
Nicole formerly taught Spanish and served as the principal
at Cutler Elementary for two years before returning to her alma mater.
The main difference this year, she said, is the number of responsibilities
where the buck literally starts and stops with the principal.
the assistant principal, I supported what the principal did and was assigned
students that were referred to me,” Glentzer said. “Now, in
addition to all the calls and emails that are directed to the principal,
I need to be aware of school spending and all the staff needs.”
In the first weeks of her tenure, Nicole has hit the ground
running. She will be able to make what she thinks will be a smooth transition
because Tim Hire always kept her in the loop, especially when it came
That experience, Glentzer said, served her well throughout
the hiring of the seven new teachers at the high school that has a current
enrollment of 814 students.
very fortunate to hire each one of these new teachers because they all
could be elsewhere but chose to be at Woodlake,” Glentzer said.
“I think that says a lot about the reputation of our school and
Assistant Principal— Tony Casares,
the former athletic director, who came to Woodlake last year from Golden
West, has been named the new assistant principal. He will fill in for
Nicole during her maternity leave.
Casares, 51, graduated from Mt. Whitney in 1974, and later
completed the administrative internship program at Fresno State. He said
that over the years, the job description of assistant principal has changed,
but not the kids.
we use a lot more creativity in dealing with students,” Casares
said. “The days when we could just take out and use the ‘board
of education’ are long gone.”
Tony describes himself as a disciplinarian, but not an intimidator.
He said he prefers to lead by example and, foremost, be a counselor, understanding
“that the things we do as teens are not necessarily who we are or
who we are going to grow up to be.”
Athletic Director— Raul Quintero,
who came to Woodlake in 2004 as a physical education teacher and baseball
coach, will serve as the new athletic director. He has also coached cross
country and boys frosh basketball during his tenure with Tiger athletics.
It was reported that Frank Ainley, longtime athletic director,
who retired in 2006, recently visited Mr. Quintero in his office to offer
advice and give a few pointers.
NEW TO WOODLAKE HIGH but not necessarily to Woodlake are
seven newly hired teachers:
Drivers’ Education— Bill Corliss
started a Visalia drivers’ education company 12 years ago to help
that school district instruct teen drivers. He formerly coached football
at Woodlake for two seasons under Leo Robinson and returned to Woodlake
because he likes the daily one-period schedule that leaves the rest of
day free for his other passion: playing golf.
IET (Intensive English Training)—
Eddie Dominguez lives in Visalia where he formerly was a substitute teacher
and coached varsity girls’ basketball at El Diamante High School.
He attended both Fresno State and National University before being hired
Social Science and History— David
Flores comes to Woodlake after teaching two years at Farmersville High
School. He graduated from Mt. Whitney High School in Visalia in 2000 and
attended U.C. Davis where he earned a B.A. in History with a minor in
In 2005, he also earned a teaching credential from U.C. Davis.
Coach Flores has also been hired as the head junior varsity football coach
Performing Arts and Guitar— Barbara
Hallmeyer is not new to Woodlake but will be assuming more responsibilities
in the arts department. A 1973 Woodlake High alum, she’s been involved
with the PTA, 4-H, Presbyterian Church, and has been a valuable liaison
with the Woodlake community.
She has worked at Woodlake High since 1999 in performing
and theatre arts. This year, she said, drama students will take an exciting
trip to New York City where the entourage will experience Broadway productions
and interact with some of the most successful actors in the industry.
Spanish— Andrew Jensen has formerly
substituted for both the Woodlake and Visalia school districts. He attended
College of the Sequoias in Visalia and Fresno State before completing
one year studying abroad in Madrid, Spain.
His specialty, he explained, is helping non-native speakers
to speak like natives. He was asked to apply for the position at Woodlake
High after substitute teaching for another Spanish instructor.
Mathematics— Antonio Lopez is another
Woodlake alum, class of 1999, who aspired to return home and teach at
his alma mater. He received his B.A. in Mathematics from Fresno State
and formerly worked at the Woodlake Family Resource Center.
He will begin his career at Woodlake High teaching Algebra
I and II.
Special Education— Kristina Mellow
is a Mt. Whitney graduate who attended COS and then earned a B.A. in Liberal
Studies from Fresno State. She also completed received a Master’s
degree in Special Education through Point Loma Nazarene University.
She previously taught for three years in Orosi and a year
in North Sacramento. At Woodlake, she’ll begin teaching classes
in basic English and U.S. History.
Physical Education— Tammy Range has
followed a similar track to Woodlake as her predecessor Dina DaSilva.
She, like DaSilva, is from Tulare, where she graduated from Tulare Union.
She attended COS, then received a B.S. in Kinesiology from Fresno State.
Tammy was a part-time instructor and assistant swim team
coach at COS. At Woodlake she will coach the cross country and swim teams.
Food Pantry to
At a meeting this month with representatives from First Baptist
Church and Community Presbyterian Church, it was decided that a complete
reorganization of the Community Food Pantry is warranted.
Several decisions were made at the meeting that will be pursued
in the near future, including that the Food Pantry should expand cooperation
with other community groups and local merchants, be offsite of church
grounds, obtain a federal tax identification number, and become a nonprofit
Anyone who is interested in the future of the Community Food
Pantry is invited to attend an organizational meeting Monday, Aug. 27,
7 p.m., in Harrison Hall at Community Presbyterian Church to discuss this
vital entity and volunteer to assist as part of the organizing committee
or a member of the board of directors.
When hundreds turn out for a regular Lions Club meeting it
must be a special occasion. That’s exactly what the evening’s
program organizer, Glenn McIntyre, had in mind when he invited the entire
Three Rivers community for a special Lions Club dinner on Thursday, Aug.
16, to salute retired resident CHP Officer Greg Fox.
Fox retired August 1 after 23 years with the California Highway
Patrol, the last seven of which were spent patrolling Three Rivers. His
remarks to the huge gathering were filled with lots of memories and humor,
an indispensable trait that Officer Fox said helped him cope with the
mundane part of the job day in and day out.
the speed limit is not 65 [mph] around the lake, contrary to what most
of you folks might believe,” Fox said. “I’ll continue
to do 54 when you see me driving around the lake. That’s my style…
to lead by example.”
If you ask any driver who has had an encounter with Officer
Fox they’re going to miss his style that in many cases included
a stern warning and maybe a lecture but not always an expensive ticket.
didn’t believe that wreaking havoc on somebody’s insurance
rates was always the best policy,” Fox said.
But Officer Fox did believe in safe driving and getting every
motorist to slow down and obey the law. While Fox patrolled the local
roads, the statistics demonstrated that the highways were safer.
With errant teen drivers, part of the Fox strategy was to
contact the parents to head off a potential problem or devastating tragedy.
that, and just being you, all of Three Rivers thanks you,” said
Glenn McIntyre, who was the evening’s host on behalf of the Lions
Fox is not retiring altogether but has taken a new job with
ISG Electric in Three Rivers. He is also available to consult on highway
grant projects like the new flashing lights that are being proposed for
the Three Rivers School crosswalk.
hasn’t all been serious these 23 years with the CHP,” Fox
told the crowd. “It’s been fun, too, and whether you know
it or not, some of the fun has been at your expense.”
The Three Rivers Village Foundation has identified a federal
grant program that could lead to some flashing lights at the Three Rivers
School crosswalk and a solar-powered speed-feedback sign. More than $100
million in federal funds is expected to be made available nationally to
schools and to local governments who encourage youth to walk and bike
The so-called “Safe Routes” program will be administered
locally by Caltrans. A request for proposals is expected to be announced
A foundation committee headed by Fred Picavet is currently
preparing a proposal that would then be submitted by Three Rivers School.
Sparks said the two additions to the highway would make the
road safer for pedestrians, as well as slow down traffic through town
and the upper canyon. In 2005, a Woodlake High School student was struck
and seriously injured in the TRUS crosswalk.
Since that accident, community groups have been looking for
ways to make the busy highway more pedestrian friendly. The grant would
seek about $50,000 for the improvements.
a win-win for Three Rivers,” Sparks said. “The highway would
be safer and by slowing down visitors on their way to Sequoia Park, they
might pay more attention to what we have right here in Three Rivers.”
The next Town Hall Meeting to discuss this project and other
hot topics like the local ambulance service has been rescheduled for Monday,
1928 ~ 2007
Mary Gessner of Three Rivers died of cancer on Saturday,
Aug. 18, 2007. She was 79.
A memorial service will be held today (Friday, Aug. 24),
11 a.m., at the First Baptist Church in Three Rivers. Stan Coffelt will
lead the service.
Mary was born Jan. 1, 1928, in Taft to Claude and Irene Fulwider.
She attended Maricopa schools, graduating from Maricopa High School in
In 1949, she graduated from San Jose State College. Following
graduation, she taught at schools in San Jose, Redwood City, Sacramento,
In 1951, Mary married Jim Gessner. The couple recently celebrated
their 56th wedding anniversary.
Mary was active in her church and in “Friendship Bible
Coffees,” as well as a supporter of Christians in Action. She had
a great interest in spreading the Gospel worldwide.
Mary is survived by her loving family: husband Jim Gessner;
son Christopher Gessner; daughter Marjorie Gessner and husband Robert
Drotos; and brother William Fulwider.
A private burial was held at the Three Rivers Cemetery prior
to today’s memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Mary
to Hospice of Tulare County, 900 W. Oak St., Visalia, CA 93291.
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