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In the News - Friday, September 17, 2010


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

Fires burning in Kings and Kern canyons,

but not the Kaweah

Canyon Fire (Kern)
   After an unprecedented run of smoke-free days, Three Rivers residents awoke Wednesday and Thursday mornings to the all-too-familiar smell of wood smoke. The origin of the smoky particulates was mainly the fast-growing Canyon Fire, a wildfire that started Sunday and is burning in the Sequoia National Forest southwest of Lake Isabella.
  The dangerous blaze was human-caused, has already burned more than 6,200 acres, and temporarily closed Highway 178 near Lake Isabella from Sunday to Monday morning. On Thursday, more than 100 Tulare County-based firefighters were dispatched to assist hundreds of Kern County personnel already battling the blaze.
   As of Thursday morning, Sept. 16, the fire was 65 percent contained, however, 250 homes were still threatened.
   This incident is Kern County’s fourth major fire of the season. The recent Bull Fire, north of Kernville that started on July 26, scorched more than 16,000 acres before it was officially contained on August 10 after destroying eight homes and six outbuildings.

Sheep Fire (Kings)
   The Sheep Fire, a lightning-caused prescribed burn, continues to smolder in areas of Kings Canyon National Park and the Sequoia National Forest between Cedar Grove and Horse Corral Meadow. The latest infrared mapping for September 13 shows that the blaze has consumed nearly 6,000 acres.
   Deb Schweizer, Sequoia-Kings Canyon fire education officer, said some of the smoke in the Kaweah canyon could also be a result of the Sheep Fire, which has been burning for two months.
   There are still 95 firefighters assigned to this blaze with about half the crew from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The expected containment on the Sheep Fire is October 31 or after a significant rain event, whichever occurs first.

Measure V debated at Town Meeting

   Provide local voters with more information on how the money will be used and why it’s needed and they will pass Measure V, a local school district special assessment that’s on the November 2 ballot.   That seemed to be the sentiment of the majority of audience members who asked questions or commented at Monday night’s (Sept. 13) Town Hall Meeting, sponsored by the Three Rivers Village Foundation.
   The questions were put to Sue Sherwood, Three Rivers School principal and superintendent, and four (Kristina Roper Graber, Scott Sherwood, Bob Burke, Bobbie Harris) of the five (Valerie Abanathie, absent) Three Rivers Union School board trustees who took a seat up front to show their support for Measure V. Sue Sherwood painted a bleak picture of the school’s declining enrollment and revenues.
   But among the positives of the 154-pupil school are its excellent test scores that have been consistently above 800, the state’s achievement standard, on the API index.

  “At Three Rivers School, we provide education excellence and now we need your help,” Superintendent Sherwood told the audience.
   Sue explained the help is needed because the State of California has made two consecutive annual revenue reductions of 18.55 percent while federal dollars have been slashed by 20 percent.
   The money — about $100,000 annually for five years — that is expected to be generated from Measure V will be used for support of the single-grade classrooms; extracurricular activities like art, music, sports, and field trips; and ensuring the technology lab keeps a paid position to manage the program.
   Sue made it clear that the district has been making all the possible cuts, but without the special assessment of $56 per parcel the school district would no longer maintain its autonomy. This school is too important to this community to allow that to happen, she said.
   Gerald Avants, who owns eight parcels in Three Rivers, said that he wouldn’t mind paying the annual assessment of $448, but would like more specifics as to how the money will be used.

  “Paying even an extra $56 on top of what some people are already paying can be a burden,” Avants said.
   Jim Barton, who attended Three Rivers School in the early 1930s when there were only three teachers, said keeping the tax money local is critical and voting “yes” on Measure V will be at the top of his voting priorities on November 2.
   Supervisor Allen Ishida was also present to furnish an update on the countywide ambulance service. So far, it is working and we have a better-than-average response time over what there was three years ago, he said.

  “Overall, the countywide and local coverage is better,” Ishida said, “and one of the side benefits of the rotating companies stationed at Lemon Cove is that Woodlake gets better service.”
   The next Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 4. The discussion will feature river access issues as Nina Dong, deputy county counsel, will return with answers to questions posed at the June meeting. For information, call Marge Ewen, 561-1234.

Injuries minor in MK Road head-on

   Take a narrow, winding mountain road with steep cliffs and add some unfamiliarity and reluctance by some to drive on one’s own side of the roadway and it’s an accident waiting to happen. The most recent mishap occurred Friday, Sept. 10, on the Mineral King Road about 13 miles from its intersection with Highway 198.
   Ironically, this is actually the widest portion of the 25-mile route, but also consists of a long series of blind curves above Lookout Point. That part of the historic roadway can be mesmerizing with its sweeping views of the East Fork canyon.
   According to Karl Pearson, Mineral King subdistrict ranger, a 2005 Honda Pilot, driven by a 62-year-old Glendale man up-canyon, collided head-on with a rented Nissan Altima driven down canyon by a 23-year-old man from Orion, Mich.
   The stunned motorists left the vehicles in situ and called for help. After Ranger Pearson arrived on the scene he interviewed the victims and determined that nobody was seriously hurt.

  “It was easy to see that the Pilot was driving in the center of the road and was the cause in this accident,” Pearson said.
   The driver of the Pilot was cited for failure to drive on the right side of the roadway. The occupants of both vehicles declined any medical treatment.
   The Mineral King Road is dangerous even to the most experienced so drivers should proceed with extra caution up or down, Pearson said. The shoulders are extremely overgrown with vegetation so that makes certain sections appear to be even narrower and there are many miles of steep drop-offs that cause some drivers to be reluctant in staying to the right side of the road, which is inherently important on this narrow roadway.
   To report an accident on the Mineral King Road, call 911. All non-emergency calls should be directed to the Mineral King Ranger Station during regular business hours.
   The Mineral King Ranger Station will remain open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the month of September. To call for backcountry permits or for Mineral King information, call the ranger station at 565-3768.

Broken pipe spills sewage in Marble Fork

   Maintaining infrastructure, whether it’s roads or pipelines in the high country of the Sierra Nevada requires constant maintenance. Just ask Dan Blackwell, chief of maintenance and facilities at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
   Last Saturday, Sept. 11, when a sewer pipe failed that crosses the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River just below Lodgepole Campground, Blackwell said he wasn’t all that surprised. The excessive runoff earlier this season severely weakened a connection that Blackwell said was poorly engineered in the first place.

  “We’ve been monitoring that connection for leaks and trying to come up with an interim fix,” Blackwell said. “It’s on our list of priorities to be replaced and is in our proposed budget for next year.”
   The most recent spill, which caused approximately 6,000 gallons of sewage to enter the river, occurred after the system was backwashed, Blackwell said. It’s never good for any untreated sewage to enter the river, but park officials did not document any major impacts on the water quality.
   In response, a four-mile section of the river was temporarily closed to fishing and swimming in the Lodgepole area down to the Crystal Cave road.

  “Due to the small size of the spill relative to the volume of water in the river, as well as the aeration effects of the moving water, we are confident that impacts were limited to the vicinity of the spill,” Blackwell said.
   Park sanitation staff has continued to monitor water quality, especially in the area of the Log Bridge portion of Lodgepole Campground that was served by the failed pipeline. Campers in that section were relocated to other sites.
   Blackwell also said that the Mineral King Road bridge, in the upper Mineral King valley, is also scheduled to be repaired in next year’s budget after approval of a new design by the Federal Highway Administration. The bridge is currently under a weight restriction that prohibits standard propane trucks from making deliveries to the cabin community above the bridge.

Going to pot: The battle rages

against illegal cultivation

It's pot-harvest season,

so use caution in these hills

  If you stumble upon a suspicious structure or makeshift camp while hiking in a remote section of the local foothills or mountains, don’t investigate. Instead, hightail it out of there and call the appropriate law-enforcement authorities.
   In the past decade, marijuana growers have ventured onto local national park lands and plowed fragile land, spread fertilizer and herbicides, and dammed nearby streams to irrigate their crops.

  “These people slip in and out of their camps for supplies, tend and vigorously defend the marijuana crop that can be worth millions of dollars if it gets to market,” said Mary A. Bomar, National Park Service director. “And anyone who stumbles on their operations is in real danger.”

   With harvest time now in full swing for illegal marijuana gardens, and the increased potential for conflict because of the growing influence of drug-trafficking organizations, hikers, anglers, hunters, and employees of these federal lands must use caution when traveling off-road and off-trail in and around Three Rivers and in Sequoia National Park.
   Now more than any other time of the year, those charged with overseeing the pot plantations are extremely protective and violent. Unlike pot growers of the past who had smaller gardens, today’s growers may have large gardens of 1,000 to 10,000 plants or more, as well as armed guards.
   The daily sound of helicopters in the skies above Three Rivers is most likely related to the ongoing efforts by the National Park Service and Tulare County Sheriff’s Department to eradicate these pot-growing operations on local federal lands and remote sections of private property.
   Last year, law enforcement seized $1.3 billion in marijuana plants in Tulare County, a small fraction of what was actually harvested, however.

   The isolation and limited access to remote areas of the foothills and forest lessens the likelihood of detection, but there is potential for visitors to accidentally stumble upon an active illegal marijuana garden, especially at this time of year when harvesting may be occurring. There is more invested in these gardens than just dollars by Mexican drug-trafficking organizations; people who typically live in these gardens may have been told that if they lose the marijuana, someone will threaten their families at home.
   Many of these people tending the illegal gardens have been provided with firearms and have a propensity to take a shot at the snap of a twig, whether due to their fear of wild animals, to poach food, or to protect their plot from detection.
   Most of the pot is harvested in September and into October. That coincides with hunting season, meaning a hunter could become the hunted if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

   National parks budgets are stretched far enough without having to deal with illegal marijuana-growing operations, said Bomar. For instance, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks now hire protection rangers who must include in their duties “marijuana cultivation suppression operations” and regular participation in “helicopter missions.”
   These marijuana patrol rangers’ primary duties are to proactively patrol the park for signs of illegal marijuana cultivation and take the lead on organizing site-cleanup missions. The job description continues, “They will work both day and night shifts, routinely hike in 95-plus degree temperatures and often be exposed to poison oak. Prior special operations experience, Spanish language skills, and helicopter experience preferred. The rangers will occasionally be assigned to traditional frontcountry patrol operations...”
   A K-9 (dog) handler is also a permanent, full-time position whose primary duties are “drug interdiction and proactive patrol work.” The Sequoia National Park police dog is a Belgian malinois, a sheepherding breed popular also for police and military work.


  “And the price we pay to deal with marijuana-growing operations goes well beyond law-enforcement costs,” Bomar said.
   To clear the ground for marijuana, growers remove all plant matter, including rare and endangered plant and tree species. They terrace hillsides, impound, streams, and introduce chemicals to pristine mountain water.

  “They don’t carry out human waste or their other garbage,” Bomar said. “And they build and camouflage living quarters.”
   Rehabilitation work to eradicated or abandoned sites costs up to $15,000 per acre, and the land takes years to heal from damages growers can inflict in a single day.

   Here are some clues that you may have come across a marijuana-cultivation site:

  —Think you smell a skunk? The smell of marijuana plants, especially on hot days, is similar to that of skunk spray.

  —See PVC (plastic) pipes? Hoses or drip lines will be located in unusual or unexpected places.

  —See unusual hiking trails? Is there a well-used trail where there shouldn’t be one?

  —Hearing voices? Are there sounds coming from an unusual place in the forest?

  —Are people loitering? Did you see people standing along a road without vehicles present or in areas where loitering appears unusual?

  —Did you spot an elaborate mountain camp containing cooking and sleeping areas with food?

  —Did you spot numerous small propane bottles? Growers use them to avoid smoke from a wood fire.

  —Did you see hikers with very heavy packs? Did you see fertilizer, weapons, garbage, or dead animals in camp?

  —Visiting isolated areas? Typical marijuana plantations are found in isolated locations, in rough, steep terrain, typically between 5,000 to 6,000 feet elevation (high enough to tap into a year-round water source; low enough to avoid freezing temperatures at night).
   Stay alert no matter where you are, however, because growers are always working to stay one step ahead. A new marijuana plant, an import from Afghanistan that grows at elevations up to 9,000 feet, can withstand the colder temperatures of the high country, allowing for a longer growing season. It can also be harvested as many as three times a season, compared with standard plants that produce one harvest in six months.

   As soon as you become aware that you have entered a marijuana-cultivation site or have encountered any of the above-listed situations, immediately reduce the threat by removing yourself from the area. Walk, crawl, or run out the way you came in and make as little noise as possible.
   The growers may be present and may or may not know that you have found their operation. They have been instructed to defend the site.
   As soon as possible, contact the nearest law-enforcement officer, ranger station, or sheriff’s department and report as much detail about the incident as you can recall.
   Here’s something to ponder before you head to the polls in November. PROPOSITION 19 will be on the ballot, an INITIATIVE TO LEGALIZE, CONTROL, AND TAX CANNABIS IN CALIFORNIA. Approval of this measure could effectively reduce or altogether eliminate the assault on California’s public lands by cutting of the funding to drug-trafficking organizations, while reducing law-enforcements costs and generating billions in revenue for the cash-strapped State of California. This proposition is certainly worthy of further research before casting your ballot. --sbe

TRUS supporters

invited to dinner, auction

   The 19th annual Dinner and Auction, hosted by the Three Rivers Union School Foundation, will take place this Sunday, Sept. 19, from 4 to 8:30 p.m., at Lions Arena.
   The event is the main fundraising event for the Foundation and is a great opportunity to give back to the community through bidding on objets d’art while visiting with friends and neighbors and meeting new people. With music playing in the background, wine and dine on great food and drink and stroll the grounds while viewing art and other items.
   Many local artists and businesses have donated art, merchandise, and services. Where else could you find an oversized oil print by Rev. Msgr. John Griesbach or an exquisite mosaic table created by Pamela Lockhart? Auction items will also include a pottery candy dispenser created by Nancy Jonnum especially for this event; a gorgeous, hand-painted lamp by Wendy McKellar; jewelry by Tina St. John; miniatures by Kacey Fansett; and a handcrafted, one-of-a-kind bench by Sal Natoli and another by Dave Sherwood.
   Too numerous to list here, local businesses have anted up with gift certificates, gift baskets, wine, food, dinners, overnight stays at local lodges, a cave tour, a weekend stay in a Hartland cabin, a cord of wood with free Three Rivers delivery, and so much more. Door prizes will also be given away.
   For dinner, choose from three entrees: tri-tip beef, chicken piccata, or roasted veggies and pasta with Alfredo sauce. For dessert, there will be chocolate cake and carrot cake.
   Music will be provided by Jesse Belman on guitar and Tony Rohrkemper playing flute. The TRUS Foundation exists solely to supplement and enrich the lives of Three Rivers Union School kids. Last year, the Foundation provided funds to resurface the tennis courts, purchased new bleachers for the upper field, assisted an Eagle Scout landscaping project, and dedicated the upper field to Maile Peck, a longtime supporter of the school.
   This year, the Foundation plans to continue upgrading the computer lab by purchasing new computers, will fund the 2010/2011 art program, and supplement the band and music program and provide scholarships to summer band camp. There are several long-term projects also in the works.
   Strong schools build strong communities. Strong communities build strong schools. Three Rivers Union School is one of the top-ranked schools in Tulare County (based on API scores). Let’s keep it that way.
   Tickets are $50 per person; $75/couple. Contact Lee Crouch (280-4628) or Mark Hirni (280-6787) for tickets or more information. Or drop by the TRUS office.


Chump’s wants ‘em

by Jeremy Cormier  

“Put down that Xbox controller and do something constructive with your time!”
   I know I heard it plenty growing up...
   Well, now’s your chance to do something constructive! Enter your own original drawings in the Chump’s Monster Contest and show off your skills for the town to see.
   Anyone can submit a drawing. Three levels of entry — beginner, intermediate, and advanced — will ensure fair judging for all with a winner at each level.
   The rules are simple: All entries must be created by hand (no digital art) and must be PG-13 and under as they will be on display for everyone to see. Entries must have the artist’s name, age, and contact number on the back and the monster’s name on the front.
   Deadline is Thursday, Sept. 30. All entries will be on display at Chump’s Videos & DVDs beginning October 1 in preparation for a town judging where the three winners will be selected.
   The winners will receive three free video rentals and have their drawings framed and hung on the walls at Chump’s for all time. All submissions will be scanned and added to the Chump’s Facebook page in the “Monster Contest” album.
   With art programs being discontinued at schools throughout the country, we need to do our best to encourage creativity in our lives and the lives of youth. This is why Chump’s developed the Monster Contest. After all, where would we be without art and creativity?
  Jeremy Cormier is co-owner of Chump’s Videos & DVDs in Three Rivers.

‘Coolest Small Town’

winners announced

   In Budget Travel magazine’s fifth annual celebration of hometown escapes throughout the U.S., the magazine revealed the results of a summer contest that highlighted 31 nominees, including Three Rivers.   In the magazine’s September 2010 issue, the 10 winners are spotlighted.
   After receiving nearly half a million votes during the online poll, here are the ultimate winners:

1. Ely, Minn. (pop. 3,470)
2. Brevard, N.C. (pop. 6,716)
3. Saugatuck, Mich. (pop. 954)
4. Bandon, Ore. (pop. 3,295)
5. Cloverdale, Calif. (pop. 8,454)
6. Cuero, Texas (pop. 6,571)
7. Nyack, N.Y. (pop. 6,737)
8. Egg Harbor, Wisc. (pop. 1,194)
9. Medicine Park, Okla. (pop. 385
10. Kennett Square, Penn. (pop. 5,273)

Environmental Weekend event

focuses on food, farming

by Mona Fox Selph

   How would you survive if suddenly there were no grocery stores? If that thought has ever occurred to you, on Saturday, October 2, you might get insights from the presentations at the Green Faire at Three Rivers Arts Center on North Fork Drive.
   The Spanish explorers who first saw Central California’s great valley and foothills described the area as a place of abundance. The land and waters were overflowing with life, and flying bird migrations looked like shadows moving across the sky.
   The ecosystem supported a large Indian population of many tribes, yet most did not have to work extremely hard to survive. They knew the land intimately and availed themselves of its bounty with time left over for games, dances, decorative arts, and storytelling.
   This was especially true of the Yokuts tribes who dwelled in the river drainage of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Although there was trade with the tribes of the coast, the Central Valley, and the eastern Sierra, the Yokuts ate mostly locally from abundance.
   In the early 1980s, I produced two murals for the Indian Room at the Mooney Grove Museum. The first is a reproduction of a large pictograph now under Lake Kaweah, for which Richard Burns graciously loaned me his slides.
   The second is a distillation of various tribes’ stories of creation and their spiritual connection with the earth. In doing the research for this, I became very interested in how they lived. Some groups used “rabbit sticks” with burs on the end that they would insert into the rabbit’s burrow and twist into the fur to pull the rabbit out.
   The Tulare Lake people lived on and fished from reed boats for days at a time. With a strong fishing line tied with the femur of a deer as hook, they would catch the eight-foot long sturgeon that dwelled in the shallow waters, then let it drag the boat around for many hours until it was exhausted. Then, without great effort, they could haul in the giant.
   These early peoples lived in relative balance with nature. Their footprints on the land were light.
   Thinking of this now, where are the clouds of birds, the antelope, and the streams swollen with fish? In this community we call home, much has changed in the last several hundred years.
   Most fortunate Americans may not feel the brunt of it, but there is an ever-growing crisis in the world. The crisis is us.
   There are too many people and too few resources to go around. Not enough water, not enough food, not enough farmland, and not enough consideration for the inevitable result that as our own numbers expand, the numbers of other species contracts.
   We are part of an interdependent web of life. In the long term, we must make the moral decision to limit our own numbers so that “the right to life” may apply to other living forms as well. That will be an act of courage and an act of love, which we must face up to.
   Our present course is unsustainable. In the short term, we are finally recognizing the impact we are having on our planet’s water, air, and soils, the source of all life. Using earth core research in the African Sahil to interpret dust emissions over long time spans, scientists have established that in the last 150 years of modern farming and plowing, vast quantities of top soil have been lost and, in the process, this has significantly affected the climate.
   The same has happened everywhere to varying degrees relative to moisture and winds. Increasingly now, farmers are using techniques to disturb the soil less.
   Chemical fertilizers expand food production, but do little or nothing for the living soil itself. More small farmers are returning to natural fertilizer and compost to preserve and enrich the soil’s structure and nutrients.
   Water conservation techniques are in every farmer’s thoughts. A company called Re:Char is working in Africa using biochar, a charcoal created by pyrolysis to enrich and stabilize the soil while at the same time sequestering carbon dioxide almost indefinitely.
   Most of our great-great-grandparents were farmers or at least backyard gardeners with a few chickens scratching up bugs and worms. During the expanding industrial revolution of the past 150 years, as corporate farming combined with the flowering of capitalism and obsessive consumption, most of us divorced ourselves from the land.
   Now we are looking to relearn what we have forgotten, to reconnect with stewardship of the land, conservation of resources, and responsibility for our food choices. Gardens are growing everywhere: on walls, on roofs, on sides of buildings.
   A few hens live in backyards, people plant more fruit trees, and neighbors with pasture keep some cows and sheep. The more of our own food we can produce locally, the smaller our footprint on the planet.
   Hopefully, things are turning as we again become more aware of our interdependence with the land. On Saturday morning at the Green Faire, speakers Don Mosley and Paul Buxman will tell us about grass-fed beef and organic gardens and farming.
   Following their presentations, a new short film, Artists of the Great Western Divide, will be shown.
   Beginning at 2 p.m., the California Native Plant Society will feature archaeological researcher Mary Gorden, who will present a program on local Native Americans and plants that dwelled here 600 years ago.
   Kristina Roper Graber, archaeologist and instructor of anthropology at CSU Fresno, will elaborate further on challenges faced by early peoples procuring food and how this changed over time.
Save the date for those presentations and more features, including the attendance many of well-known area writers and artists.
   The weekend continues on Sunday, Oct. 3, with the Three Rivers Green Home Tour, part of the National Solar Tour, the world’s largest grassroots solar event. Call 561-4676 for a reserved spot on Sunday’s tour and check out www.nationalsolartour.org.
   Mona Fox Selph is an organizer of the Three Rivers Environmental Weekend.


Ballymaloe Cookery School

by Tina St. John


   This is the next installment in a continuing series about the author’s two-week visit last month to the renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School in rural County Cork, Ireland. Previous installments may be read by clicking Newspaper Archives in the menu on this page, September 3 and 10, 2010).

* * *

  It goes without saying that the salads made at the Ballymaloe Cookery School are as fresh as fresh can be. My very first job at the school was making a green salad.
   This was not an ordinary green salad with a few different greens and herbs I was used to making at home. First of all, the size of the salad was abundant and the wooden bowl it was all going into was sufficient as well.
   The two-inch thick bowl was three feet by three feet, give or take a few inches. There were 35 students plus a large staff that had to be fed.
   One of the gardeners brought in trays of various heads of lettuce plus a tub of several different herbs and other specialty greens. Each had been picked minutes before arrival.
   I could smell the dirt that was still lingering on the tiny threads of roots. The morning dew dripped from the leaves and down my arm as I transferred each bunch.
   The aroma from the herbs was intoxicating. I found myself frequently taking deep breaths to absorb the freshness of the pungent scents. My thoughts wandered, “What if this scent were bottled?”
   Well, I’m sure that in some Parisian market it’s been done already. I felt happy and anticipated lunchtime with excitement.
One of the head cooks had asked me if I knew how to make a good dressing.

  “Why sure. I’ll make my own,” I said.
   As it turned out, my simple dressing became a lunchtime favorite at the school.
   Owner Darina Allen had come in that morning when I was halfway finished washing and mixing the greens and herbs together. She explained to me that eating the combinations of greens is excellent for any digestive system and to not tear apart the lettuce leaves too small.
   With her beautiful Irish accent, she said, “Keep them larger so one can enjoy the different textures and keep the nutrients intact.”
   One day I made a fruit salad where the grapes had to be peeled. That’s right, peeled.
   In fact the instructions said, “There is no simple way to peel grapes; the best thing to do is to make a cup of coffee, sit on a high stool, and listen to something riveting on the radio.”
   That’s just what I did except for the radio part and began to peel more than 100 grapes. It was a very Zen-like experience.
   But, as the recipe explained, the taste of peeled grapes enhances every other fruit in the salad. After eating the salad, I had to agree this is true.
   Salads are an incessant flow in daily menus aside from the regular green salad. Because of the size of gardens and all the different vegetables and fruits grown at the school, there never seemed to be a shortage of salad dishes.
   Being the Californians we are, I‘m certain you‘ll find the salad recipes that accompany this column not only appealing and healthy, but useful and delicious for your eating pleasure.
   Bon Appetit!

Grape, Melon and Mint Salad
   The honeydew melon is not the most flavorful of the melon family, however, this recipe turns it into a delicious salad. The flavor of the grapes and melon with mint is immeasurably better if the grapes are peeled.

2 cups of grapes
1 small melon
2 oranges
1 lemon
1 tablespoon fine sugar, optional (I cheated and used only a very tiny bit because I don’t think fruit needs any sugar)
2-3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint

After peeling the grapes and cutting the melon into small pieces, squeeze the juice from the orange and lemon and pour over fruit. Toss gently with the mint.

Summer Fruit Salad
   I was surprised by how much sweet geranium leaves are used in cooking. I had no idea they are edible and delicious. This recipe can be made in the winter as well by using frozen berries.

1 cup raspberries
1 cup loganberries
1 cup red currants
1 cup black currants
1 cup small strawberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
Syrup for berries
1 ¾ cup sugar
2 cups water
6-8 sweet geranium leaves

Put in saucepan and boil for only 2 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Cool for 5 minutes and then pour over bowl of berries. Allow to macerate for several hours. Remove the geranium leaves. Serve chilled with softly-whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or alone. Garnish with a few geranium leaves.

Tomato, Red Onion and Mint Salad

6 very ripe firm tomatoes
1 small red onion
Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and sugar
Fresh mint or basil

I want to give you an idea of what went into the green salad everyday. The list:
Red Leaf, Green Leaf, Romaine, Butterhead, Tango, Arugula, Red Oak, Chervil, Sorrel, Dandelion Greens, Red Beet Leaves, Kale, Mustard Greens, Mizuna, Sorrel, Curly Parsley, Frisee, Edible Flowers; Marigold Petals, Nasturtium, Borage, Chive Flowers, and Arugula Flowers.

1/3 cup balsamic or white wine vinegar
2/3 cups cold-pressed olive oil
Dash of salt
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 tablespoon of honey

Mix and shake well.


Ray Shields
1931 ~ 2010

   Ray Shields of Three Rivers passed away Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 78.
   Ray was born December 9, 1931, in Van Nuys. He was one of nine children.
   In 1976, he married his wife, Karen. They resided in Canoga Park until they moved to Three Rivers in 1990.
   Ray was a carpenter for 52 years until he retired in 1999. He loved to stop by any job site he could find to talk to the crew about what they were building.
   Ray was an active member of the community, loved to talk to everyone and anyone, and never in all of his years passed up an opportunity to tell a joke. He was a member of the Three Rivers Lions Club for 18 years and volunteered at the Visalia Senior Center for eight years. He was an avid bowler and spent 50 years on various bowling teams. He loved to travel and took trips with his wife, including cross-country road trips and several cruises to various countries around the world.
   Ray is survived by his wife of 34 years, Karen; his three children, Rusty, Tina, and Jonie Shields; and three grandchildren, Erica Aviles, Tarrance Vickers, and Alisha Shields.
   Funeral services were held yesterday (Thursday, Sept. 16) at Three Rivers Cemetery.
   In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Ray’s name to the Kings County Commission on Aging, Alzheimer’s Fund, 680 N. Campus Dr., Suite D, Hanford, CA 93230.


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
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