In the News -
Friday, AUGUST 25, 2006
The longer traffic delays in the construction zone that were
announced to begin August 21 failed to materialize this week, and the
throng of Sequoia National Park tourists encountered only brief, intermittent
delays during daytime hours prior to 4 p.m. Those delays, according to
Force Traffic Control, averaged only five to 10 minutes, and most motorists
were not even stopped.
hearing now is that the signals that will allow traffic to pass on the
hour from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays won’t be operational until
Wednesday [Aug. 30],” said Rosemary Stimpel, who heads up the flagging
crew. “So the delays will remain at a minimum for now. Up to a 20-minute
delay is possible but unlikely during the next few work days.”
There is no work scheduled for weekends or holidays. If the
hourly delays do begin next Wednesday, the plan is to shut down for the
Labor Day weekend at noon on Friday, Sept. 1.
This past week, workers were wrapping trees with plastic
fencing and installing culverts in the one-and-a-half-mile construction
zone on the Generals Highway from Big Fern Springs to 300 feet below the
parking area at Amphitheater Point. This section of highway consists of
several steep and winding curves.
Some insiders in the project believe there may be even more
scheduling changes as project engineers await final approval from the
Federal Highways Administration relative to a dry stack wall that partially
sloughed away this past spring. That historic structure will be removed
piece by piece and then reassembled to preserve its original appearance.
“It's really hard
to say what has kept the rock buttress from just coming down after all
these years since the schist was stacked there in the 1920s,” said
one estimator working on the Generals Highway project. “I guess
what’s left there is testimony to how well it was built the first
This time plans call for numbering each rock prior to its
removal then building a substructure that will essentially be holding
the slope in place. The rocks will then be placed back on the slope to
preserve the original appearance of the historic highway that was completed
For the most up to date road construction information, visitors
may call the park’s automated 24-hour phone message (565-3341, ext.
941) or inquire during business hours at the Three Rivers Visitor Center
in the local museum. Driving time from the Three Rivers Historical Museum
to the Ash Mountain entrance station is 10 minutes; from the park’s
entrance it takes another 20 minutes to reach the road construction zone.
Backpacker’s body found
She had been missing since Thursday, July 31, when she was
last seen by her husband at the edge of the San Joaquin River. After a
lengthy search, not a clue was found regarding the fate of Linda Salness,
56, of Hershey, Penn., but she was presumed drowned.
That presumption became reality three weeks later when, on
Thursday, Aug. 17, National Park Service rangers recovered Salness’s
body from a section of the river in the northernmost portion of Kings
Canyon National Park.
The victim was spotted by a Sequoia-Kings Canyon National
Parks helicopter pilot during a spotting trip. She was about a half mile
downriver from where she was last seen, but the body had only recently
become visible due to the receding water levels common at the end of summer.
Salness was on a backpacking trip with her husband and another
couple. They had embarked on the John Muir Trail at Florence Lake and
were camped at Aspen Meadow when she went missing.
This is the second fatality in Sequoia-Kings Canyon this
year. On Wednesday, May 31, another woman, Patty Rambert, 57, of Laguna
Hills, fell to her death on Mount Mendel in Kings Canyon National Park.
During 2005, 11 people perished in the parks, all of whom
were male. Two were fall victims, two were struck by lightning, and one
succumbed to hypothermia.
The leading cause of death in Sequoia-Kings Canyon is drowning.
Six men lost their lives in park waterways last season.
Sierra fire activity simmers
Last weekend and for several days on either side of it, smoke
filled the Middle Fork canyon each morning. This was a result of the Tamarack
Fire, a lightning-caused fire burning south of the Mineral King area in
the Golden Trout Wilderness and being managed as a “wildland fire
use” project by the Sequoia National Forest (not Sequoia National
Currently burning in Kings Canyon National Park is the lightning-caused
Roaring Fire, which as of Wednesday, Aug. 23, had burned 468 acres. The
fire, discovered July 23, is located south of Cedar Grove.
Park fire monitors have currently taken up posts to watch
the fire closely as it creeps toward Cedar Grove. The fire is burning
about 40 acres a day.
Campers who are sensitive to smoke are advised to stay somewhere
besides Cedar Grove. Although the Park Service is working with the San
Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District to minimize its
impacts, smoke is currently settling in the Cedar Grove area during the
Two other fires are also burning in Kings Canyon park. The
Ridge Fire is less than one acre and smoldering just southwest of the
Roaring Fire. The Burnt Fire has been burning since July and is at nine
In Sequoia National Park, firefighters suppressed a fire
located on the northeast slope of Paradise Peak in the Kaweah’s
Middle Fork canyon.
Access county services online
After navigating the revamped Resource Management Agency
(RMA) planning website, Deborah Kruse, an assistant director with Development
Services, told the members of the Tulare County Planning Commission that
county planners are really making some important improvements. Kruse’s
update was part of Wednesday’s Planning Commission agenda.
“One way we can
measure the progress we are making is that for the past few years we are
receiving less complaints,” Kruse said.
At present, county staff at the permit center of the Development
Services branch might have an average of 70 customers per day and some
days more than 100, Kruse said. It’s now possible to do a lot of
the preliminary services online, she said, because of all the recent updates
to the county website.
Forms can be downloaded and questions may be emailed that
save legwork and makes it unnecessary for most visits that the applicant
has been required to do in the past.
possible to log onto the site and research the history of land use for
any given parcel,” Kruse said. “Maps and aerials are also
available. All the applicant needs to get started is the APN [assessor’s
Kruse cautioned that even though applying for a permit is
more streamlined, the project review division consists of four separate
entities — the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission, the
Zoning Administrator, and the Site Plan Review Committee. Each of these
bodies is required to conduct public hearings on certain projects, and
a single development could be considered at more than a dozen meetings.
George Finney, assistant director of Long Range Planning,
reported that the county supervisors had recently completed study sessions
on five components of the Tulare County General Plan. Their review of
the draft plan must be completed before the plan can go to the Planning
Commission for the first round of public hearings.
County planners also said the RMA website is useful for tracking
the progress of the General Plan. A newsletter is also available with
General Plan information at:
The RMA and the county permit center are located at 5961
S. Mooney Blvd., just southeast of Mooney Grove Park. To log onto the
county’s website, go to:
Stanley T. Albright died Friday, Aug. 18, 2006, in West Linn,
Ore. He was 74.
Stan was born in Oakland and was raised in Bishop on the
east side of the Sierra. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean
War. He graduated from UCLA in 1958 with a degree in biology.
His first job out of college was as a fire lookout located
on Bald Mountain in the Inyo National Forest. He also worked on the ski
patrol in Yosemite National Park.
He was a park ranger at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and,
in later years, was appointed superintendent there. He was the business
and concessions manager at Grand Canyon National Park and superintendent
of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico.
By the 1970s, he was the state director of Alaska, overseeing
the planning process for new national parks in that state.
On Oct. 31, 1975, Stan began his duties as superintendent
of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This was during the height
of the Mineral King controversy, when the Disney Corporation was proposing
to build a ski resort in the valley. Stan remained at Sequoia-Kings Canyon
until September 1977; the Mineral King area was added to Sequoia National
Park in 1978.
Stan moved on to Washington, D.C., where he was the associate
director for management and operations. He returned to the West Coast
as the regional director of the Pacific West Region, based in San Francisco.
In 1997, Stan accepted the position of superintendent of
Yosemite National Park in order to guide the park in its rehabilitation
challenges following a devastating winter flood.
In 2000, he retired from Yosemite and the National Park Service.
His Yosemite successor was Mike Tollefson, who is also a former Sequoia-Kings
Stan is the nephew of Horace Albright who, with Stephen Mather,
founded the National Park Service in 1916. He followed his uncle into
the Park Service, devoting 42 years — through 10 presidents, a dozen
Interior secretaries, and 10 NPS directors — to park operations,
management, and its politics.
Stan suffered a stroke in February 2005 while on vacation
He is survived by his wife, Kris, and their two sons, Sean
of Walnut Creek and Jon of Lake Oswego, Ore.
Donations may be made to the Stanley T. Albright Scholarship
— which will make it possible for underprivileged youth to visit
national parks — at the Yosemite Institute (P.O. Box 487, Yosemite,
CA 95389; phone: 209-379-9511; www.yni.org).
No services are planned.
Three Rivers Senior
1924 ~ 2006
Margaret A. Wood, a former resident of Three Rivers for nearly
40 years, died Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006, in San Pedro. She was 82.
Margaret was born June 27, 1924, in Caldwell, Kan. She and
her husband, John, and their children moved to Three Rivers in 1965.
John and Margaret owned and operated the Kaweah Korral restaurant,
today a private residence near the east end of Lake Kaweah.
In the 1980s, the couple was instrumental in the creation
of the Three Rivers Senior League.
In May 2002, after living in their Three Rivers home for
37 years, the Woods were the first of six families to receive final notice
from the federal government that they needed to vacate their home to make
way for a larger Lake Kaweah, a result of the raising of the Terminus
“At first, we were
thinking of moving to the apartments behind the Village Market,”
said Margaret in a 2002 interview with The Kaweah Commonwealth. “But
I just wouldn’t be able to drive by this place without thinking
of all the memories. I don’t think I can even come back to visit.”
John and Margaret relocated to Southern California.
Margaret was preceded in death by a son, Ronald.
Margaret is survived by her husband of 63 years, John; of
Harbor City; sons Stephen and wife Christy of Three Rivers and John and
wife Linda of Woodlake; daughters M. Cheryl and husband Tony Cerasani
and Rani and husband Jim Fish; nine grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Margaret was laid to rest at the Green Hills Memorial Park
in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Iraq war veteran, firefighter
1984 ~ 2006
Sgt. David “Q” Ernest Smalley Quintero of Three
Rivers died Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2006, due to injuries suffered in a car
accident on Sunday, Aug. 13. He was 22.
David was a member of the California Army National Guard,
1072nd Transportation Company, based in Fresno, and served a tour of duty
in Iraq. He was decorated with a Bronze Star medal in 2005 for his service
and had just been promoted to E-6 staff sergeant.
Since 2005, David was also a seasonal firefighter with Sequoia-Kings
Canyon National Parks’ Crew 91.
David was preceded in death by his grandmother, Nancy Smalley,
and mother Kelli Smalley (1963-2004).
He is survived by his father, Terry Quintero; sister Amber
Quintero of Sparks, Nev.; his grandfather, Ernest, of Canada,; grandparents
David Smalley and Peggy Blanchard of Three Rivers; his great-grandmother,
Doris Smalley, of Orange; and several uncles, aunts, and cousins.
Donations may be made in David’s name to the Wildland
Firefighter Foundation (www.wffoundation.org).
Sequoia Gifts celebrates
For gift shop owner Scott Mulliken, his inaugural year in
Three Rivers has really lived up to his expectations and more. There was
a surprise or two but he has thrived during his transition from Orange
County commuter to Kaweah Country business owner.
not a day I get up in the morning that I don’t look forward to coming
to work in my Three Rivers shop,” said Scott. “I look forward
to just see what’s going on and have enjoyed meeting my customers
and making this business work.”
Scott admitted that while he was employed all those years
by FedEx in Orange County there were days when he dreaded going to the
corporate workplace. He realized it was time for a change.
That change came to fruition on August 5, 2005, when he opened
Sequoia Gifts & Souvenirs in the remodeled building between Chumps
and Three Rivers Market.
From the outset, Scott has made a commitment to becoming
involved with his customers and the Three Rivers community. He attributes
the fact that he hit the ground running in local business in part to his
training at Sequoia National Park.
“Prior to opening
I attended the same weeklong training sessions that the NPS interpreters
get before they start the summer season,” Scott said. “It
really helped me to be able to provide more accurate information about
the park,” Scott said.
The training, Scott emphasized, is available to any business
owner who wants to learn more about how the local parks work and what
they have to offer.
tell you all the park visitors who ask what are the best things to see
and do in the time they have to spend,” Scott said. “The training
has really helped me to give them good advice.”
One of the surprises has been the yearlong support he has
received from so many locals, Scott said. The visitors who shop in the
gift store for souvenirs have been the proverbial icing on the cake.
“I would have predicted
just the opposite,” Scott said. “Being an authorized UPS shipping
outlet has also helped because it gives everyone another reason to come
into the store.”
In its first year, Sequoia Gifts & Souvenirs has been
very supportive of local fundraisers and donated lots of merchandise for
raffles and auctions. Scott has also presented the Three Rivers School
Foundation and the Sequoia Natural History Association, two local nonprofit
organizations, with cash proceeds generated during his grand opening ($200
each) and anniversary celebrations ($325 each).
Scott also serves as a board member with the new Sequoia
Foothills Chamber of Commerce to help improve the overall business climate.
involvement is a way of giving something back and saying thank you to
all who have visited the shop,” Scott said. “I look forward
to meeting even more of you in this next year.”
Music students perform
At this month’s Sierra Traditional Jazz Club concert,
six high school musicians performed on stage with the High Sierra Jazz
Band. This was their jazzed-up way of saying thanks to the club that sponsored
them at this summer’s Sacramento Trad Jazz Youth Camp, held July
30 to August 5 in the foothills east of the capital city.
Each year, the Three Rivers jazz club pays the fees for local
musically-inclined teens to attend the week-long camp. This year’s
musicians are: Kylie Castro (vocals), an Exeter High junior; Tian Newman
(alto saxophone), a 2006 graduate of Exeter High; Kayla Conover (clarinet),
also an EUHS junior; Niko East (trombone), a Woodlake High junior; Tim
Stone (trombone); and Max Carter (trumpet).
Kylie and Tian attended for the second consecutive year.
At the STJC concert, held Saturday, Aug. 12, each student
played a song of their choice with the band. One of the main focuses of
the camp instruction is improvisation, so High Sierra, of course, tested
them on their expertise in this field of study.
Everyone joined in for the finale of, what else?, “When
the Saints Go Marching In” with each student performing a scat chorus.
Financing students for the jazz camp each year is made possible
by funds raised during Jazzaffair.
“We owe a lot to
all who support our Jazzaffair,” said Lou Christensen of Three Rivers,
the STJC Jazz Camp coordinator. “Without you, we couldn’t
afford to do this.”
And “this” is a commitment by the local club
to ensure that a knowledge, love, and appreciation of jazz is passed on
from one generation to the next.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS— Jazzaffair is scheduled for Friday
through Sunday, April 13 to 15. Support youth in jazz by attending the
34th annual event, featuring High Sierra and six other bands, or send
a donation to the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club, P.O. Box 712, Three Rivers.
Plaque dedication will
honor Woodlake veteran
Tiffany Valdez of Visalia was raised by her grandparents
in Woodlake and now wants to give something back. She has rallied friends
and family members to raise funds for a plaque in honor of her grandfather
and received the necessary permission from the City of Woodlake to place
it in the community’s park.
Robert Haro (1931-2004) is a decorated Korean War veteran.
He was raised and educated in Woodlake.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 19 and fought in
the Korean War. He received several distinguished service medals, two
Purple Hearts, and other citations for bravery.
A story published in the Woodlake Echo newspaper in the 1950s
told of Haro’s heroism when he saved his fellow soldiers by throwing
rocks at the enemy after he ran out of ammunition.
He succumbed to leukemia in October 2004. He is buried in
the Woodlake Cemetery.
His medals and war memorabilia are housed in the Tulare City
The dedication ceremony for Robert Haro is scheduled for
Saturday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend.
By Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent
The students returned to Three Rivers School on Monday, Aug.
21. It was a great beginning to a new school year!
All the staff at TRUS looks forward to the return of the
kids. That’s why we’re here; that’s why we do what we
do: it’s all about the kids.
The new Eagle Booster Club organized a “Welcome Back
Coffee” for parents on the first morning as they dropped off their
kids. It was a nice opportunity for parents to reconnect after summer
Many parents gathered on the stage for coffee and pastries.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new tradition at TRUS.
A school is a complex organization with many levels of activities.
As we were preparing for the beginning of the new school year, our list
of things to do grew and changed while completed tasks were happily crossed
off. There is a never-ending list of chores to keep our school looking
nice, and limited resources with which to do that.
Enter the parents! I have said before that one of the aspects
of TRUS that makes me most proud is our wonderful parent involvement.
Parents never cease to amaze me as they step forward when
they see a need and try to help. So, on Friday afternoon, Aug. 18, Ginger
Curtis came to me and asked if I could come up with a list of things for
people to do to help spruce up the school.
She said she would call parents and thought we could get
10 or so here on Saturday, Aug. 19, to help out. We agreed that she would
ask parents if they could be here from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
I came up with a list of a variety of both gardening and
general cleanup tasks. When I arrived at 8:50 the next morning, there
were already parents and kids waiting to be put to work.
Little by little more help arrived. Before too long, Three
Rivers School was a beehive of workers.
There were people shoveling sand, blowing blacktop, pressure-washing
sidewalks and blacktop, clipping bushes, pulling weeds, pruning roses,
picking up trash, cleaning the upper field restrooms, cutting and removing
downed trees, cleaning and organizing the audio-visual room, and doing
whatever task they were assigned. I am not sure I got everyone on my list
who came to work but I am sure there were at least 20 parents and kids
here working cooperatively throughout the day.
It was incredible! No task was too big or too tedious. The
last parent left about 3:30 p.m. I was truly amazed!
Thank you, parents, for all you do! Thank you, students,
for making our jobs meaningful and fun!
Thank you staff for your dedication and commitment to our
Three Rivers school family! Thank you to the community for your ongoing
and positive support!
It is a privilege and honor to work with such a great group