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In the News - Friday, August 30, 2013


FRIDAY, AUG. 30, 2013,






Business forecast 2013:

Open with a chance of busy


  Three Rivers businesses depend on the summer tourist economy to make a living. It’s the foot traffic during these sweltering months that determines if a local enterprise will sink or float.


Cider Mill rises from the ashes

  It’s been less than 15 months since the old Cider Mill restaurant was destroyed in a tragic fire, and now the new Cider Mill is on the threshold of its grand reopening. The rebuilt Three Rivers landmark is on schedule to be completed by the end of next week.

  The reconstruction of the 2,800-square-foot building has to be some kind of record in the modern era when so many agencies present layer upon layer of regulations and red tape. The success of this project is due to the vision and fortitude of Efrain Ponce.

  “After we install the sinks and refrigerators, the building will be complete,” Ponce said. “The county inspectors are coming, and I’m waiting on the electricity.

Ponce said it looks like dealing with SCE might be the last hurdle.

  “The new restaurant is rebuilt on the same footprint of the former building but the former attached residence will now be banquet rooms,” Ponce said.

  So what’s the secret to the success of the Cider Mill rebuilding? Ponce, who is an accomplished construction contractor, rolled his sleeves up and did much of the work himself.

  “In the eight months since I started this project full-time, I only missed seven Sundays and have been working mostly dawn to dusk,” he said.  


B&B owners soon ‘gone with the wind’

  Plantation Bed and Breakfast, Kaweah Country’s Gone With the Wind-themed accommodations nestled in a Lemon Cove orange grove, reported recently that the sale of the property is in escrow and expected to close by October.

  The undisclosed terms of the deal should afford Scott and Marie Munger a well-deserved retirement in Panama. Scott reports that the past several months have been the highest occupancy rates and best overall revenue since the inn began operating in 1996.

  “The spike in revenue couldn’t have come at a better time and helps make up for some of our losses after the crash in 2008,” Scott said.


Dry Creek Deli under new ownership

  The roadside restaurant on Highway 198 at the Woodlake turnoff in Lemon Cove has new owners. Blake and Amy Davis recently relocated from Orange County to join Drew’s folks who live in Badger. The popular deli will feature the same, great comfort food, shakes, and baked goods but are now open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

  Drew and Amy bring flair and an inviting hands-on style to the eatery that will be instrumental in its future success. There are daily specials like a killer chimichanga or the scrumptious pastrami burger.

  Plans for an upscale coffee klatch with Wi-Fi and new healthy options on the menu prepared by a bona fide chef are in the works.


Super Taco spices up Visalia

  The popular Woodlake taqueria now has a second location west of Riverway Sports Park on Riggin at Mooney in Visalia. Owner Armando Huerta did his homework on choosing the new location.

  “We haven’t had a day we weren’t busy since we opened on August 18,” Huerta said.

  The majority of customers in the Visalia store are first-timers who never even heard of Super Taco in Woodlake. Armando’s best estimate is that the new store will be outperforming the Woodlake location in a few weeks.

  Super Taco in Visalia will be celebrating their grand opening all weekend long on September 6 through 8 with a coupon-giveaway of their renowned asada taco.


 Yelp me find Three Rivers  

  The online customer-satisfaction rating service publishes a weekly Yelp, a newsletter for subscribers. The current Bay Area edition features “Weekend Trip: Sequoia National Park.”

  An astute recommendation, especially in light of the fact that Yosemite this year is the great American smoke-out.

  “Sequoia National Park is where savvy travelers go to marvel at Yosemite-caliber sights while skipping the crowds.”

  And to help plan that getaway  year-round,  the e-newsletter gave a shout-out to a few of Three Rivers’s accommodating establishments: Rio Sierra Riverhouse, Buckeye Tree Lodge, Silver City Mountain Resort, Sierra Subs and Salads, and Reimer’s Candies.


Fires to the north, south, east…

But not in Kaweah Country!


  Even though most of Yosemite National Park remains unaffected and relatively smoke-free from the Rim Fire, thousands of visitors are staying away. And according to park officials and some business owners, many of those folks are looking elsewhere to spend the Labor Day holiday weekend.

  The latest information on the Rim Fire (as of Thursday, Aug. 29), already being touted as the fourth most destructive fire in California history, is that it has now consumed more than 193,000 acres, 100 structures, and is 30 percent contained.

  Here are some of the Yosemite area closures: the Big Oak Flat Road (the continuation of Highway 120 inside the park); and the Tioga Road portion of 120 from Crane Flat to Yosemite Creek. Access through to Tuolumne Meadows is restricted to 120 west from Highway 395.

  The only access to the Yosemite Valley is via Highway 140 from Merced or Highway 41 from Fresno. The Merced and Tuolumne groves of giant sequoias are closed but are not in imminent danger.

  There are lots of campground and trail closures, including a section of the Pacific Crest Trail. For Yosemite National Park information, call (209) 372-0327.  

  In Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, there are two small fires — the Windy Peak Fire in Kings Canyon (40 acres), and the Chagoopa Fire (20 acres) in the backountry of Sequoia. Both  are actively being worked by Park Service fire crews.

  South of Sequoia National Park, there is the potentially dangerous Fish Fire burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness portion of the Sequoia National Forest. The backcountry blaze has grown to 2,000 acres and is 25 percent contained with suppression efforts underway.

  There is some smoke from the Fish Fire drifting up the Kern Canyon portion of Sequoia National Park. The Hockett Fire, near the southern boundary of Sequoia’s backcountry, has been contained; closures in that area have been lifted.

  A Cal Fire spokesperson, who refers to the Kaweah Canyon as “Asbestos Canyon” because of its apparent insulation against any major wildfire this season, says that the bottomline this Labor Day weekend is “Three Rivers and Sequoia Park are a pretty good place to be but, please, no campfires.”


TRUS alumni donors wanted


Foundation prepares for annual fall fundraiser


  The Three Rivers Union School Foundation is currently in the planning stages of its annual fundraiser: Fall Dinner and Auction. As has been the norm this time of year for more than two decades, Foundation board members are depending upon the generosity of the community to stock its tables with silent and live auction items.

  A special feature this year will be hand-created items donated by TRUS alumni. Any former student of Three Rivers School who wishes to donate a specialty item or service will be identified as a former TRUS student.

  So, TRUS alum from the 1930s through 2013. Show your talents and your Eagle Pride all at the same time by supporting your elementary alma mater. The Foundation is depending on you.

  Equal opportunity fundraiser— Now this is not to say that the rest of you talented folks are off the hook just because you didn’t have the good fortune to attend TRUS as a youngster. It’s not your fault, so the Foundation won’t hold that against you. Your donations of goods and services are just as appreciated as they have been every year.

  All donations may be dropped off at the Three Rivers School office during regular hours. For more information or to arrange for a pick-up, call your favorite  Foundation board member (see list at the end of this article).

  Save the date— This year’s Fall Dinner and Auction will be held, appropriately, on the first day of fall: Sunday, Sept. 22, from 4 to 8 p.m., in an outdoor setting at the Lions Pavilion. Tickets are $40 per person ($45 at the event).

  This year will have a western theme. Dress the part or leave the spurs and chaps at home; it’s up to you.

  Down-home cooking— Dane and Allison Millner of Sierra Subs and Salads will cater the dinner. On the menu is shredded barbecued chicken and red chile shredded beef, homemade green chile macaroni and cheese, barbecue beans, garden salad, western coleslaw, and assorted seasonal fruit.

  Beer and bids— Prior to dinner, there will be appetizers and wine and Brewbaker’s beer, all included in the ticket price.

  Also during this social hour-and-a-half, bidding begins on the silent auction items, which include many handmade items from local artists and craftspeople. Be prepared for some competition and frenzied bidding wars.

  For more information about the Foundation, to provide an auction item, or to purchase dinner tickets, call Three Rivers School at 561-4466 or any Foundation member (Lee Crouch, Mark Hirni, Kathleen McCleary, Barbara Merline, Pam Lockhart, Linda Mutch, David Sherwood, Linda Warner, Karen Holland, Kristina Roper Graber, Sarah Elliott).

  Follow the money— All of the proceeds go toward the excellent cause of supplying the Foundation with the funds necessary to provide support to Three Rivers School. Most recently, the Foundation has provided funds for technology upgrades, the continuation of the band program, new playground equipment, a floor scrubber for gym, summer music camp scholarships and SCICON tuition, the renovation of the equipment shed and snack bar on the upper athletic field, and so much more.




THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
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