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In the News - Friday, September 13, 2013



Pair on multi-state crime spree

apprehended in 3R

  Due to the quick action of some Sequoia National Park visitors, Thomas Moore, a 34-year-old male, and Keely Patrick, a 27-year-old female, were taken into custody on Saturday, Sept. 7, after being pulled over by National Park Service rangers in Three Rivers. The crime spree started to unravel for the couple from Everett, Wash., just before 2 p.m. when they allegedly smashed the window of a parked car and removed purses and an iPod at the Indian Head parking area just inside the Ash Mountain entrance station.
   Visitors in the area saw the broken car window after the duo left in a rental van and summoned park rangers. Rangers immediately issued a be-on-the-lookout alert for the suspect vehicle.
   Minutes later, park rangers were in pursuit of the U-Haul van, and the driver ultimately pulled over on Sierra Drive just west of the North Fork Bridge in Three Rivers. Inside the van was incriminating evidence including burglary tools, drug paraphernalia, several backpacks, and personal identification and credit cards from at least 35 additional victims.
   Throughout the traffic stop and subsequent interview by investigators, the suspects were cooperative. They told officers at the scene that they were here for the same reasons everyone else comes: to see the wonders of Yosemite and the giant sequoias.
Moore was found to have multiple out-of-state felony warrants. The duo also faces new charges including burglary, possession of stolen property, making a fictitious check, unlawful use of access cards, petty theft, possession of burglary tools, conspiracy to commit a crime, possession of a controlled substance and smoking devices, and driving without a valid license.
   Moore remains in custody at the Tulare County Main Jail; Patrick was being held in the Bob Wiley Detention Center. The case remains under investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department in conjunction with the National Park Service.
   The items stolen from victims at the Indian Head parking area have been returned.

Scammers are on the prowl

  Y’all know by now not to trust an email, a text message, or a phone call from someone who is asking for your personal information. In this day and age of technological overload, rule number one is to never trust anyone who is making that type of request.
   It is said that the elderly are a target. Listen up: If you are a senior citizen, that does not mean you left your brain behind at age 50. The older one gets, the more savvy they should become. Don’t become a victim of Internet crime or phone scams.
   It’s called “phishing.” That means that hundreds, thousands, even millions of messages are going out looking for that one victim who might recognize a name, from Amazon to Zappos, from the U.S. Postal Service to UPS and Fed Ex, from Bank of America to Bank of Zurich.  If you think it might be for real, then contact a representative of the company, either in person or by calling.
   Recently it was reported that some Three Rivers residents received a text message saying:
“This is an automated message from Bank of the Sierra. DEBIT/CARD reactivation is required. Please call our 24hr line: (559) 725-1565.”
   A call by an alert Three Rivers resident to Eileen Rafter at Bank of the Sierra revealed what they suspected. It was a fraudulent message.
   Bank of the Sierra has since put up a notice on its website to warn customers, stating: “A growing number of bank and credit union customers around the U.S. have been receiving automated phone calls in an attempt to steal debit and credit card numbers... These calls are not from Bank of the Sierra. They are an attempt to defraud you.”
   In fact, if the number is called, you will eventually be asked for your credit card number.
   The warning continues: “Bank of the Sierra will never ask for a card number or any other personal information during an unsolicited or automated phone call. If this happens to you, please hang up immediately.”
   Southern California Edison recently warned of a phone scam as well. This one is targeting utility customers, telling them they are behind on their electricity bill and they need to pay immediately or their power will be turned off.
   This, too, is a phishing scam. Hundreds of calls might be made before they find the person who really is behind on their bill and will give their credit card number to the caller to avoid a discontinuation of service.
   Those who are attempting to defraud you are hoping you feel guilty, are desperate, or get flustered. Then you’re an easy mark.
   Again, the best thing to do in this situation is hang up the phone and call the company directly.
   Online scams are prevalent, and they go in waves. Currently, there is a PayPal hoax that says “Your account will be limited if you not confirm it. Please click here to confirm your information.” (Yes, a word was left out of the first sentence in the email, which often is a telltale sign that it is not valid.)
   As soon as you “click,” the phishers know they have a live email address. From there, several scenarios are possible. Your computer could become infected with a virus, you could be inundated with more illegitimate offers, you could be prompted to submit personal information, or your email address could be hacked.
   And you would never fall for this, would you? “My late father inheritance multi-million-dollar business proposal... I want to compensate you with the sum of $400,000...”
Don’t even think about contacting this person. Even though the email was signed “Pastor Samuel Harrison.”

Big rig collides with SUV on Hwy. 198

  A Freightliner big rig collided with a 2005 Chevy Tahoe hauling a boat bound for Lake Kaweah at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11. Apparently, the commercial truck was attempting to make a U-turn on Highway 198 just east of the Woodlake turnoff (Highway 216).
   Both vehicles were eastbound at the time of the accident. The driver of the big rig was Jorge Del Toro, 34, of Fresno; he was uninjured when the SUV collided with his truck.
   The driver of the Chevy Tahoe, Lucas Valverde, 42, of Visalia sustained cuts and scrapes.  He had two family members who were passengers in the vehicle. They were all transported by ambulance to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
   The cause of the accident has not been officially determined. From evidence at the scene, it appears that Del Toro will be cited for an unsafe U-turn.
   ANOTHER COLLISION OCCURRED just east of Lemon Cove in the early afternoon hours of Friday, Sept. 6. Although no report was filed by the CHP, this accident appears to have been a vehicle versus large animal.
   From the remnants on the highway, it appears that the animal lost. Which is a good segue to provide a reminder to drive slower at this time of year when the days are getting shorter and animals are active at dawn and dusk. Plus, it is necessary for animals to cross the highway for water as the seasonal sources went dry months ago.



By Sarah Elliott

Printable/shareable copy

  Rolling around this month is yet another birthday for me. That is always cause for reflection and review of where I am in my life.
   I like to have some arduous physical feat on the calendar, which usually consists of something high up on a Sierra mountain. Nothing on this front planned yet, but know you’ll be reading about it when it happens.
   However, I have given myself a new challenge, one that will last for one year, at least. It begins this month and has the goal of simplifying my life while adding to its quality.
   If we take the time to soul-search, most would realize that today we are beings of excess: too much stuff, too much food, too much technology, too much driving, too much inactivity, too much convenience.
   For the next 12 months, I’ll be conducting a personal experiment that I am calling Life  Without. It will be my way of finding out what’s truly necessary. I will be testing the boundaries of my wants and needs.
   Life Without is based on the premise that I will go an entire month without one thing I do regularly. Everything I give up will be to the benefit of my overall health and longevity and/or for the betterment of the planet.
   I’ll give up something for a month, then evaluate whether it is something I enjoyed giving up and whether it’s worth, or even possible, leaving out of my life permanently.
   Some of these months without will be significant sacrifices. Others will be difficult but necessary. And some are habits I’ve already been working toward eliminating and will actually provide me with more joy, better health, or more free time.
   Feedback about this project is welcomed. Better yet, join me on this quest. I hope this series will inspire you to subtract something from your life that will, in exchange, add more happiness and satisfaction.

MONTH 1: Life Without Sitting

  Have you heard the news? Sitting is the new smoking.
Isn’t that just great? That means since technology has taken over our lives and most of us are required to sit all day at a desk and computer, we have been an experiment, and the result is our health is failing due to sitting.
   But it’s okay. I work out… a lot… almost every day.
   Doesn’t matter, say the experts. Study after study has linked time spent on your rear end to diabetes, heart disease, depression, cancer, and early death.
   Scientists suspect that the longer the large muscles of the legs and trunk stay immobile, the more harmful blood fats and sugar build up in the bloodstream. Prolonged sitting also reduces circulation to the brain, diminishing creativity and mood.
   Numerous processes of the musculoskeletal system are negatively affected by sitting: back muscles weaken, chest muscles tighten, the spinal ligaments loosen, the glute muscles atrophy, blood fats increase, and the hip flexors stiffen.
   That’s right. No amount of exercise can offset the time spent sitting.
   Let’s see. I’ve had full-time jobs that have required desk bondage since I was 26 years old. For the past 18 years, I have worked full-time on this newspaper, regularly putting in several 10 to 12-hour days each week and sometimes working at my desk seven days a week. That can’t be good.
   In fact, I knew it wasn’t good. But I thought I was offsetting the sitting with daily physical activity. Turns out, that’s not good enough.
   A growing body of research shows that people who spend many hours of the day glued to a seat — commuting, deskbound, TV-watching — die at an earlier age than those who sit less, even if those sitters exercise. It is still possible to be in the sedentary category even if meeting the current physical activity guidelines of exercising 60 minutes a day, three or four times a week.
   It’s just like smoking. Smoking is going to kill you even if you exercise. So is sitting.
   That’s why I have given up sitting. I made a monetary investment in this endeavor by purchasing an adjustable workstation. It allows me to work while standing or sitting as the entire work surface moves up and down with me as needed.
   I’m into my second week of standing while I work. Each day, I am able to stand for longer and longer periods of time. At the end of my workday, when I leave my home office and take a well-earned sit break, it is a reward to collapse into a chair.
   This week, I had a doctor’s appointment, and the receptionist who checked me in told me to “go ahead and have a seat.” I obeyed her, then remembered my mission to sit less.
   I got up, went to the large open space in the room, and paced back and forth while getting some work done on my iPad. In the exam room, I stood while waiting for the doctor. Waiting to get my hair cut, I stood. Cumulatively during those two appointments, I eliminated an hour-and-a-half of sitting.
   Sitting has become the norm in our society. But I, for one, will not be sitting much this month. This is a habit that I intend to keep long after September has passed.

WHS football kicks off with new coach,

new stadium, but same old rivals

  When first-year coach Jose Del Rio took over the head coaching job at Woodlake High School, he knew that his system and style would take some time to translate to wins. To beat a perennial Division 4 power like Exeter (2-0), the Tigers (1-1) must play tough and minimize mistakes.
   Last Friday night, before a near-capacity crowd at Robinson Field, the Tigers played tough but it was three critical mistakes that were their undoing and the Tigers fell to the Monarchs 34-22.
    “I’m proud of all you guys tonight,” Coach Del Rio told his team in the post-game huddle. “We surprised them and really threw a scare into them the way we played the game.”
   Two key turnovers deep in Woodlake territory and a botched punt kept the Tigers from doing something they haven’t done in the last 11 meetings — coming out with a victory against their neighboring rivals. But the game was actually closer than the score indicates, and it also marked the emergence of John Kulick, a junior fullback and linebacker from Three Rivers, who was clearly Woodlake’s player of the game.
   Kulick’s 16-yard run with a screen pass with 2:33 left in the first quarter broke a scoreless tie, and an extra point made it 7-0. That lead lasted until right before halftime when a botched punt gave the Monarchs field position that led to an easy touchdown.
   The extra point knotted the score at 7-7 and at halftime had the Tiger faithful and the players feeling pretty good about their prospects.
   But the Exeter offense, which sputtered in Tiger territory in the first half, came out firing after intermission. Austin Cardoza, the senior Monarch tailback finished with 208 yards on 32 carries; junior QB Javier Brito threw for two scores, but still the Monarchs had difficulty putting the Tigers away.
   Another touchdown pass of 24 yards to Kulick followed by a two-pointer brought Woodlake within 21-15 with 1:01 remaining in the third. Kulick seemed to be loose or free on almost every play because the Monarchs had to key on senior running back Elijah Cunningham.
   When you are the nephew of NFL star quarterback Randall Cunningham and have blazing speed to the outside, it follows that you might get the attention of the defense. So while Cunningham, who broke some impressive runs of his own, attracted the crowd of defenders, Kulick found the holes.
   The Tiger defense, led by senior middle linebacker Jimmy Rios, made two impressive fourth down stops deep in Woodlake territory. Both times, errant passes on the ensuing series were intercepted by Monarch defenders that led to easy scores.
   Those two interceptions were the difference in the game.
   So what’s in store for the Tigers this Friday night at home against the Farmersville Aztecs (0-1)? Coach Del Rio said Farmersville is a good team with a scary QB who can make plays.
    “The guys will bounce back from that tough loss,” Coach Del Rio said this week. “They had a great week of practice, and we will be prepared for the Aztecs.”

  Tigers have a remodeled home: If you’ve ever wanted to be a spectator at a Woodlake High School football game, this is the year. The Tigers are playing on their new field, surrounded by a new track, with new home bleachers, snack bar stand, and entrance.
In addition, the majority of the team’s games will be played at home this season to make up for last year when the stadium construction required them to play all their games on the road.

FALL FUN: A bounty of October events being planned

  The town is waking up from its summer hibernation, a season when community events are few and far between due to the heat that settles in for a few months. Well, obviously, everyone is back from vacation, feeling rejuvenated and creative, because there are lots of gatherings being planned this fall.
   The scuttle around town is that there will be a Raven Festival occurring the entire month of October. And the nonprofit service organizations have all heard about this because many are planning functions to coincide.
   Here is how the Raven Festival is described on the 1st Saturday website:
   This October, 1st Saturday in Three Rivers will host the inaugural Raven Festival, a month-long fall celebration honoring one of the smartest and most intriguing birds in the world, and one common to the Sierra Nevada and Three Rivers.
   Events, in addition to 1st Saturday (which includes a $600 Gift Basket Raffle), include Raven Run, Black Tie with Mask Progressive Dinner, Children’s Writing Contest, Children’s Art Contest, and Rave’n About Ravens at the Three Rivers Public Library.
   The Three Rivers Union School’s Halloween Carnival, held every year on the last Saturday of October, will cap the month of festivities, with Raven art and gifts (in addition to a huge selection of other donated items) available at the Pick-A-Prize raffle.
                                                             * * *
   Here are a few brief descriptions of events that are coming up next month:
   Sierra Wonders Book Debut and Art Show— Karen Kimball of the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers took on a monumental task of leading the way to creating a spectacular coffee-table-style book that features literary selections and works of art in various media. The result is a stunning publication that will enhance any collection as well as portray all that’s best about the southern Sierra Nevada from Yosemite to Sequoia-Kings Canyon national parks.
   The Book Debut with accompanying Art Show will be held Friday, Oct. 4, 5:30 to 8 p.m.   The Art Show will continue on Saturday, Oct. 5, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    An Evening with Dr. Guy McPherson— The author, activist, and climate scientist will give a presentation in Three Rivers on Saturday, Oct. 5, 7 p.m., at the Three Rivers Arts Center (not specifically a Raven Festival event). Tickets are currently on sale (available at Chump’s DVDs) for $12 with proceeds benefiting the Three Rivers Bread Basket.
Guy is a professor emeritus at the University of Arizona. In 2009, McPherson left the university to prepare for the collapse of society due to the industrial economy and global climate change. He now lives in an off-grid, straw-bale house where he puts into practice his lifelong interest in sustainable living.
   Rave’n Run— A charity fun run combining the traditions of Hash House Harriers and New Orleans Second Line will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, 9 to 11 a.m., at Lake Kaweah’s Horse Creek Bridge parking area.
   Here is how the press release describes the event: During the Rave’n Run, sponsored by Three Rivers Bed and Breakfast, Community Presbyterian Church, and Chump’s DVDs, the Second Line will follow the First Line or the “hounds,” who will follow Lauren Elliott (Family HealthCare Network-Three Rivers) who is the “hare” or “fox.” She will create a long and hilariously confusing trail in the dry lake bed. During the Run, all participants, especially those in the Second Line, are invited to sing, play music, dance, and wear costumes linked to the Rave’n About Three Rivers theme.
   Registration is $5 for adults (free for children; Lake Kaweah day-use fee will be waived).  Proceeds benefit Three Rivers Bread Basket. Preregister at Chump’s or call 561-4270.
   Veterans and Community Members Information Event— The Three Rivers Memorial District will host several agencies and organizations that will provide information on topics such as Social Security benefits, employment assistance, health care, veteran services and  more.
   The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
   The Central Valley Blue Star Moms will also participate (www.cvbluestarmoms.org) as part of their annual “Remember the Troops” donation drive. The goal of the donation effort is to create at least 350 care packages for local members of the U.S. military who will be on overseas deployments during the holiday season.
   Needed items include non-perishable snack foods, toiletries, small recreational items, and cash donations to defray mailing costs. Names and addresses of deployed service members are also being sought and can be provided to the Blue Star Moms at the information event.   Donation bins with a wish list of items attached will be at Village Market and Chump’s through October 8.
   Volunteers are needed to assist with the display and retrieval of flags, set up and tear down of tables and chairs, and in the kitchen with food and beverages.
   For information, call 561-4988 or 561-2222.
   Three Rivers Library Book Sale— The nonprofit Friends of the Library will hold a Book Sale on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Three Rivers Library. Speakers will provide presentations in keeping with the Raven theme. And “The Bubble Man” will be there to entertain the kids (and the young at heart).
   And there’s more— All of the above barely scratches the surface of what will be happening in October. There is also 1st Saturday, of course, as well as the Native Plant Sale, Green Home Tour, and Living History Day.
   Keep an eye on the Kaweah Kalendar for specific dates and times.

Woodlake Library renovated

  The Tulare County branch library in Woodlake reopened this week and is back in service after being closed for remodeling for several weeks. The facelift includes a new circulation desk, contemporary shelving, fresh paint, and new carpet.
   A grand opening on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 3 p.m., will be hosted by County Librarian Jeff Scott. Supervisor Steve Worthley will attend the celebration to welcome patrons to the county’s newly remodeled facility.
   Everyone is invited to preview the changes. Staff will be on hand at the grand opening to explain all the latest library services.
   The Woodlake renovation is part of the Your Library in More Places program of the Tulare County Library Foundation. Similar updates have already been made to the Visalia, Lindsay, Earlimart, and Ivanhoe branches with funds from the Foundation.
   The Woodlake Library is located on the Woodlake High School campus at 400 W. Whitney.
   History of the Woodlake Library— Six Woodlake residents petitioned the County of Tulare for a library deposit station in 1911, and a station with 50 books was placed in John Day’s post office and store in December 1911.
   Between 1913 and 1920, the library was moved to the Schelling Drug Store, the Woodlake school, Mrs. Gordon Day’s house, back to John Day’s store, and to Blair’s Store.
   In 1920, the library moved to the newspaper office (The Woodlake Echo) and telephone exchange.
   In 1942, more space was required, and the library branch moved to a building owned by Roy Davis.
   A couple decades later, Courtney McCracken, a Woodlake philanthropist, offered to donate the money needed for construction of a permanent library building.
   In 1966, the Courtney McCracken Library was dedicated. The building housed the County Library Branch, the High School Library, and a study hall.
   The complete cost of the structure and all furniture was paid for by Mr. McCracken. (rom the Tulare County Library website.)


Loanne Hicks
Van Groningen
1945 ~ 2013

   Loanne Hicks Van Gronigen died at her Visalia home on Friday, Sept. 6, surrounded by her loving family after a courageous battle against acute leukemia. She was 68.
   Loanne was born August 3, 1945, in Oakland, Calif., the daughter of George and Charlotte (Billie) Hicks. The family moved to Three Rivers in 1949.
   They lived in Three Rivers during the school year and in a log cabin in Grouse Valley (located south of South Fork Drive and north of Blue Ridge) during the summer where she enjoyed riding the family horse and hiking.
   Loanne graduated from Three Rivers Union School in 1959. She was the valedictorian of the Class of 1963 at Woodlake High School.
   During her senior year at Woodlake High, Loanne was the league singles tennis champion and competed at the state finals. She attended College of the Sequoias in Visalia.
   During her years at COS, Loanne met Cornelius Van Groningen, and they married on February 6, 1965. She graduated from Fresno Pacific College in 1993.
   Loanne worked for many years as a dental assistant in Visalia. For almost 20 years, she worked at the Health and Human Services Agency for the County of Tulare in various positions, the last as a supervisor.
   Loanne loved to cook and spend time with her family. She received great joy from her large group of friends and spending time with them as well as attending and planning various school reunions.
   Loanne had a strong faith, and she and Cornie have been long time members of First Christian Reformed Church of Visalia. Loanne made a commitment to the Lord at a Billy Graham Crusade while she was in high school.
   Loanne contributed to her community in many ways and particularly enjoyed serving as a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society, driving cancer patients to their appointments. She and Cornie traveled to Costa Rica and South Africa on mission trips.
   Loanne also enjoyed traveling to many other places including Holland to visit Cornie’s birthplace, Australia, Spain, England, and many trips to Hawaii and various other places in the U.S.
   Loanne is survived by her loving husband of 48 years, Cornie Van Groningen; her daughters Lori Williams and husband Ben and Lisa Labogin; and her son Walter Van Groningen and wife Claudia. She is also survived by her cherished grandchildren, JB Williams, Jeremy Williams, Helena Labogin, Jacob Labogin, Lauren Labogin, Daniel Labogin, Jaden Van Groningen, Ezra Van Groningen, and Nathan Thompson; and brothers Lloyd Hicks, Larry Hicks, and Walter Hicks.
   A memorial service was held Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 11 a.m., at the First Christian Reformed Church of Visalia. Burial was at Three Rivers Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to be made to the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org; click Get Involved on the top menu, then Donate Online Now).

Mary Ainley
1925 ~ 2013

   Mary Agnes Ainley, a native of Elderwood, died Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, in Visalia. She was 88.
   Mary was born June 11, 1925, to Ralph and Jessie Ainley. She grew up in Elderwood on the family cattle ranch.
   Mary graduated from Woodlake Union High School in 1941. She attended UCLA and was a graduate of Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash.
   Mary worked as a home economics teacher in Oregon. She also taught at the Elderwood and Woodlake grammar schools.
   Mary later resided in Morro Bay for 50 years. For the past five years, she lived at the Manor House in Exeter; for the past three months she resided at TLC Assisted Living for Seniors in Visalia.
   Mary was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, David Ainley (1923-2006); and her sister, Hope Ainley Burris (1928-2012).
   She is survived by her brothers Dr. Richard Ainley and wife Laverne of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Frank Ainley and wife Barbara of Elderwood; brother-in-law John Burris of Alturas; her nieces Annette Buckley and husband Tom of Ivanhoe, Diane Camacho and husband Sergio of Santa Maria, Cheryl Browne and husband Michael of Santa Maria, Melodee Chapman and husband Willis of Dyersburg, Tenn., and Carolyn Hughes and husband John of Alturas, Calif.; nephews Tim Ainley and wife June of Visalia, Frank Ainley Jr. and wife Lori of Elderwood, Rick Ainley of Santa Maria, and Craig Ainley and wife Ronell of Elderwood; numerous grand-nieces and nephews; and great-grand-nieces and nephews.
   A service will be held at Morro Bay Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m., with a reception immediately following. A private burial will be held at Los Osos Memorial Park.
   In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Foundations School of Discipleship (Tim Ainley, founder), P.O. Box 2671, Visalia, CA 93279.

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
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