In the News - Friday, September
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
on location in 3R
It’s not Hollywood, but the events
of the past weekend certainly confirm what locals
and Kaweah Country visitors already know. Three Rivers
has some great scenery.
Last Sunday, Aug. 29, Travis Cluff, director
and independent filmmaker from Fresno, brought his
crew to Three Rivers to shoot some scenes for his
new feature film “Gold Fools.” According
to location scout Scott Sargent, the crew was looking
for riverfront locales and after checking out the
South Fork, shot some footage in the vicinity of the
Edison swimming hole along Kaweah River Drive.
The crew was also spotted checking out
the Three Rivers Post Office to film a scene but Sargent
said that site wasn’t quite big enough for what
Cluff had in mind. The crew hopes to return sometime
after Labor Day weekend to shoot some more footage.
Cluff said the plot of the story centers
around a guy who loses his job and decides to go panning
for gold near Sonora.
an adventure film about a dream the main character
has, but he’s been warned not to go to far off
the beaten path in his search for gold,” Cluff
said. “When he does, the story takes an unexpected
Last year, Cluff appeared on an episode
of Wipeout on ABC television. In addition to directing
his new movie, he also wrote the screenplay, Sargent
Parks brace for summer’s
By Friday evening, Sept. 3, every campsite,
RV spot, and lodging room will be occupied or reserved
for late arrivals as a throng of visitors descend
on Kaweah Country for summer’s last holiday
weekend. The focus of all this activity is a visit
to nearby Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
so expect some lines at the entrance station but only
a maximum of one-half hour delays for road construction
on the Generals Highway.
The Crescent Meadow Road will be closed
to private vehicles for the holiday weekend, but shuttles,
wilderness hikers, and those with disability placards
will be permitted to drive to the popular attractions.
To hear Karen Taylor-Goodrich, superintendent
of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, tell it,
a little inconvenience goes with the territory.
know the road construction delays are frustrating
right now but an improved roadway will eventually
be an attraction and bring additional visitors to
these parks,” she said. “The recovery
act money we are spending is an investment in our
future and critical to ensuring the sustainability
and longevity of the Generals Highway.”
When Taylor-Goodrich assumed the top
job at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in
February among the first things she noticed was the
deteriorating condition of the historic roadway. She’s
made it a priority to get the highway fixed and the
As to the current regulations that prohibit
vehicles over 22 feet from entering the construction
zone, Taylor-Goodrich said it’s the Federal
Highway Administration’s decision and park rangers
must enforce the regulations. She expects, she said,
with the cooperation of the weather, the current phase
of construction to be completed by November and give
everyone a break from road construction and restore
the “not advised” policy for vehicles
over 22 feet.
The superintendent has also made it a
priority to get to know as many of the park employees
as possible including the hundreds of seasonals who
work from May to September.
the dedicated seasonal, we could not do the job,”
Taylor-Goodrich said. “We have an incredibly
diverse and committed group of people here.”
One indicator of their collective performance,
Taylor-Goodrich said, is that she gets to read every
letter that is received by the local parks.
compliments far outweigh the complaints, especially
for our search-and-rescue teams,” Taylor-Goodrich
said. “The best rangers in the service come
here because they know they will get to use their
full complement of skills. With 1,400 square miles
that is nearly 97 percent wilderness, there is always
This Friday, while the mjority of travelers
will be jostling for a site in the front country,
Taylor-Goodrich will be making her way to Crabtree
Ranger Station to visit with her backcountry staff
at one of the parks’ prime places under the
southwest flank of Mount Whitney.
“I want to get to know our East Side partners
too,” Taylor-Goodrich said. “The tourism-friendly
hubs for Mount Whitney, at Three Rivers, and along
Hwy. 180 are all important to enhance the experience
for our millions of visitors.”
3R man’s death ruled suicide
Steven Meyers, 59, was found dead in
Cinnamon Canyon near an access road north of South
Fork Drive on Thursday, Aug. 26. A Tulare County Sheriff’s
Department investigator from the Coroner’s Office
determined that the victim died from a self-inflicted
According to an investigative report,
the victim had been dead for several days before his
body was discovered by two local residents who were
visiting an area residence. Meyers had recently been
a tenant at a South Fork apartment.
Sheep Fire surpasses 3,000
Infrared mapping earlier this week made
confirmed the latest acreage totals of the Sheep Fire,
which has been burning since mid-July after being
ignited by lightning. The fire has now charred more
than 3,000 acres and continues to show “slow
fire growth and behavior,” fire managers say.
The majority of that acreage is in Kings Canyon National
Park south of Cedar Grove.
it’s been a little smoky for visitors to the
Cedar Grove area,” reported Deb Schweizer, NPS
fire education specialist. “The cooler temperatures
helped slow the fire and our back-burning operations
should improve conditions for the busy Labor Day weekend.”
Schweizer said another small fire, dubbed
the Marvin Fire, has burned 12 acres of rocky terrain
near the Marvin Pass area of the Jennie Lakes Wilderness
of Sequoia National Forest. That fire was started
by lightning during July and is creeping along. It
is also being managed as a resource burn.
These managed lightning fires, Schweizer
said, limit the size and severity of subsequent fires
by reducing the amount of fuel on the forest floor.
not if these areas are going to burn but when,”
Schweizer said. “We [park fire managers] believe
the short term impacts due to some smoky conditions
are preferable to any wildfire disaster.”
For Sheep Fire updates, visit www.inciweb.org/incident/2059.
WELCOME TO MY FOOD COLUMN
Ballymaloe Cookery School
By Tina St. John
I recently returned from a three-week
escapade in Ireland, where I had the unique opportunity
to work at a professional cooking school that my mother
also attended 24 years ago. The school, Ballymaloe,
is situated in East County Cork at the southern tip
of Ireland, two miles from the Celtic Sea.
Years ago, the owner of the school, Darina
Allen, stayed with my parents when she was in the
states and did a cooking demonstration at my mother’s
school, Le Bonne Cuisine in Denver.
That’s where my connection to this
school began. I remember my mother talking often about
Ballymaloe and how glorious it was. In fact, she thought
it to be the most beautiful place she had seen.
Not only did I believe my mom to have
impeccable taste, she was Belgian and had traveled
to many places in Europe and abroad. The South of
France had always been a favorite of hers, particularly
Nice and Provence.
So that’s why I had always wondered,
how beautiful can this place be? I have always wanted
to travel to Ireland and see for myself.
About a year ago, I wrote Darina Allen
to ask if she would consider allowing me to come to
Ballymaloe to work for room and board. The school
is, as one might say in Ireland, “not scrappy.”
In other words, my pocketbook at this particular time
would not have been able to fund such a jaunt.
Six months passed, and I’d figured
Ms. Allen had not favored my request. However, shortly
thereafter, I received a wonderful email from her,
gladly welcoming me to Ballymaloe. Turns out she encourages
people who are willing to come for “work experience”
in trade for room and board.
I might add, the accommodations are quite
charming and the food is beyond expectation. A fair
shake indeed, but as I found out, the work is not
for the fainthearted.
Without any idea of what was ahead, I
took off on an adventure that I will say has given
me an appreciation for a culture and people who take
well to preparing and eating food along with the warmest
of hospitality. At the school, which farms a 100-acre
organic garden, the food is all fresh.
Very few of the prepared dishes, if any,
are refrigerated, because once food is refrigerated
it begins to lose its taste and value. So everyday
the produce, salad greens, herbs, vegetables, fruits,
eggs, and milk are brought in fresh.
Darina’s intent when starting the
school in 1983 was to bring to Ireland a Slow Food
Movement, just as Alice Waters has done in America.
In fact, it was no surprise when I learned the two
women are close friends.
Along with the work that was expected
of me to “earn my keep,” I was fortunate
enough to attend some demonstrations. I’d like
to share with you some favorite recipes that I prepared
while at Ballymaloe. Over the next several
weeks, I will present a series of traditional Irish
and international dishes and some cooking and presentation
tips that are easy and loads of fun in the kitchen.
With some of these recipes, keep in mind
the Irish have very different eating habits than we
Californians. The climate is much cooler, and the
workload that most of the country folk engage in is
long and labor intensive.
If I were asked to describe Ireland in
only two words it would be: butter and cream. So whether
you decide to incorporate these recipes into your
daily eating or use them for entertaining and special
occasions, enjoy and then go for a long vigorous walk.
If interested, you’re welcome to
visit my blog, which I updated daily and where I posted
pictures of Ballymaloe. The address is www.emeraldlight33.blogspot.com.
The cooking school’s website is: www.ballymaloe.com.
Sweet White Scones
Makes 18-20 scones using a 3” cutter
8 cups plain white flour
1½ sticks butter
3 free-range eggs
Pinch of salt
¼ cup castor sugar or fine sugar
3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
2 cups milk
GLAZE: Egg wash and granulated sugar (Whisk
1 egg with a pinch of salt. This will help the scones
brown nicely in the oven.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Sift dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl.
Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour mixture,
and rub in the butter. Make a well in the center.
Whisk the eggs with the milk, add to the dry ingredients
and mix to a soft dough. DO NOT OVER MIX and
mix in one direction with your hand in a claw position.
Turn out onto a floured board. Do not knead but shape
just enough to make a round. Roll out to about 1”
thick and cut into scones. The first cut scones are
the best so get as many cut out as possible. Cut as
close to the end as you can. No need to grease a baking
pan. Put them on and brush with egg wash and dip the
egg-washed end in sugar. Bake in a hot oven for 10-12
minutes. Serve with butter and jam or jam with whipped
FRUIT SCONES: Add ¾ cup plump
golden or regular raisins or cranberries to the above
mixture when the butter has been rubbed in.
POPPY SEED SCONES: Add 5 tablespoons
of poppy seeds to dry ingredients after the butter
has been rubbed in.
CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES: Add 4 ounces good
quality chocolate chips to dry ingredients after the
butter has been rubbed in.
Orange Butter for Scones
3 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
1¾ sticks butter
1¾ cups confectioner sugar, sifted
Cream the butter with the orange rind. Add the confectioner
sugar until fluffy.
The recipe states,
“Tangy lemon curd can be made in a twinkling.”
This is delicious smeared over scones. I added a garnish
of real whipped cream on top, which was a nice contrast
to the lemon.
stick of butter
½ cup baker’s sugar
Juice and rind of two lemons
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
On a very low heat, melt the butter, then add
sugar, grated rind, and juice. Stir in well beaten
eggs. Stir carefully over a gentle heat with a straight-ended
wooden spoon until the mixture coats the back of the
spoon. Draw off the heat and pour into a bowl or sterilized
jar (the mixture will thicken as it cools). Cover
when cold and store in the refrigerator. Best eaten
within a week.