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Kaweah Kam


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In the News - Friday, SEPTEMBER 21, 2007


   DURING A U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND Immigration Services ceremony last week, 31 Central Valley residents were sworn in as United States citizens. The USCIS event, held Friday, Sept. 14, and which coincided with Constitution Week, was held at the base of the General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park, the only living National Shrine and the Nation’s Christmas Tree.

  The new citizens, most of whom had never before visited Sequoia or Kings Canyon national parks, were from Mexico, Yemen, the Philippines, Peru, Guatemala, Iran, El Salvador, and Laos.

  As part of the ceremony, the newly naturalized citizens were welcomed by Craig Axtell, superintendent of Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks, and presented with a free annual pass to the parks, a gift from the Sequoia Parks Foundation.

  This is the first time a citizenship ceremony has been held in the local parks.

Two injured in

Highway 198 accidents

   When California lawmakers last week passed a bill forbidding the use of cell phones and all electronic devices for drivers 19 and under, they were definitely on the right track. A recent mishap near Lake Kaweah offers evidence that these distractions cause accidents, injuries and, at times, deaths.
   The latest near-tragedy to occur on the dangerous stretch of roadway around Lake Kaweah happened Wednesday night, September 12, shortly before 11 p.m. Josalin Jones, 18, of Three Rivers was driving eastbound at approximately 60 mph just past the second boat ramp when she attempted to locate her cell phone.
   After taking her eyes off the roadway for only a moment, she realized her 2003 Suzuki Aerio had drifted onto the right shoulder. After applying the brakes, the vehicle struck a rock outcrop, overturned, and careened back on its wheels and onto the shoulder, coming to a stop facing in a southerly direction.
   According to an accident report filed by CHP Officer Hunt, both Jones and her passenger, Rebecca Watkins, 18, of Visalia were wearing seatbelts and suffered moderate injuries. The women were examined at the scene but declined ambulance transport to Kaweah Delta Hospital.
   The vehicle suffered major rollover damage and was towed by Valero Brothers of Woodlake.
   A second accident occurred Saturday afternoon, Sept. 15, and was caused by a driver who failed to react in time to avoid a vehicle stopped in the roadway on Highway 198 near Eggers Drive.
   Johnette Hawthorne, 20, of Visalia was driving a 1992 Nissan Maxima eastbound at 45 to 50 mph and told Officer Howell, a CHP investigator at the scene, that she saw the brakelights ahead but couldn’t stop in time to avoid a collision. Hawthorne applied the brakes, skidded, then rear-ended a 2001 GMC pickup truck driven by Michael Salcido, 58, of Tulare.
   After the collision, both vehicles pulled off the roadway to wait for the CHP. Neither driver was injured but the vehicles suffered some minor damage.

Young bear euthanized

after biting park visitor

   After taking the four-mile hike from Cedar Grove to Mist Falls on Thursday, Sept. 6, a 65-year-old man took a nap on a rock near the Kings Canyon National Park attraction. He was awakened by yelling, which turned out to be directed at him by other hikers who were warning him of a bear’s approach.
   As he sat up, the bear bit him on his right thigh, leaving several puncture wounds. It took the man and several other people to finally scare the bear from the area.
   The man’s injury was treated by park medics. He sought further treatment at a Reedley hospital.
   In the two weeks preceding this incident, rangers had received reports of a small bear approaching people in the Mist Falls vicinity. Rangers posted signs at the trailhead, warning visitors of the possible hazard and also made several trips to Mist Falls in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the bear.
   The bear was a yearling female, weighing about 40 pounds. Normal weight for a bear this age is 60 pounds or more.
   Typically, bears fear and avoid people, but can become emboldened once they find easy food sources. It is probable that sympathetic park visitors had previously provided human food to this bear due to her underweight and seemingly non-threatening size.
   After her aggressive act, park biologists and managers made the difficult decision to destroy the bear. On Saturday, Sept. 8, the young bruin was located, and bear management staff tranquilized and subsequently euthanized her.
   The National Park Service pulls out all the stops in their attempts to educate park visitors and residents of neighboring communities about the detrimental effects of feeding bears or providing them with easy access to garbage, pet food, crops, and bird feed. Please remember: A fed bear is a dead bear.

3R company creates

Boy Scouts memorial urn

   To enjoy the good life, and being able to live and work successfully in Three Rivers, it takes some creative entrepreneurial vision. In most cases, it’s not only about making money but rather fulfilling some higher calling that in the end justifies the means.
   That esoteric vocation couldn’t be more apt to describe the latest coup of United Priority Distributors, a Three Rivers family-owned and operated business that manufactures cremation urns. Earlier this week, the company’s principal, Susan Fraser, announced an exclusive licensing agreement with the Boy Scouts of America to produce a line of memorial urns for scouting families who have lost loved ones.
   The deal is the culmination of a series of events that now has the local company positioned strategically in a burgeoning industry. Scouting, a huge part of the Fraser family history, is also a defining experience in the lives of thousands of families just like the Frasers.

  “When we lived in Orange County, and until we moved to Three Rivers in 2004, my husband, Rick, was a longtime scoutmaster,” Susan said. “Both my sons, Ryan and Tyler, were active in scouting for many years.”
   But tragically for the Frasers, their son, Ryan, who was a senior patrol leader for Boy Scouts Troop 412 in Fountain Valley, drowned in 1995. Susan likened Ryan’s funeral to an incredible Boy Scouts tribute as their fellow scouting families turned out to offer love and support.
   Susan was inspired by the immense show of support and wanted to do something to help all families who had lost loved ones. In 2000, she started United Priority Distributors and has marketed quality urns to provide a reasonable alternative to expensive casket burials.
   With the Boy Scouts deal, Susan is reciprocating to those scouting families who have been there for the Frasers.

  “The company [United Priority Distributors] has helped me cope with Ryan’s passing and is a way that I can give something to others in their time of bereavement,” Susan said.
   Initially, the scouting line will consist of five beautifully personalized urns that will be available to funeral homes starting October 15. Tyler Fraser, a recent graduate of San Francisco State, designed the BSA memorial line.
   Tyler is well-suited for the job, his mom said, because of his own 12-year involvement with scouting. The memorial urns, she said, are ideal for those scouts who are pre-planning or family members seeking to provide a tribute for their dedicated Boy Scout.
   The first licensed BSA cremation urn is being donated to the family of Brig Konecke of Waupaca, Wisc. In honor of Konecke’s love of scouting, the family sat his wide-brimmed “campaign hat” atop the casket at his service.
   There is a personalized dedication on the oak urn commemorating Brig’s more than 30 years in scouting.

  “Our son was beautifully memorialized by our troop upon his passing on Mother’s Day 1995,” Susan said. “Since we are in the industry, we have been aware for some time that these dedicated individuals need to be recognized for their often lifelong efforts in the excellent scouting program.”

Road trip

   Bob Hardison of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, stopped in at the Bar-O Ranch in Three Rivers last month to say howdy to his cousin, Gaynor McKee. Bob is in the midst of his latest adventure — car camping across the USA in his 1914 Model T Ford. To chronicle his incredible journey, “Barefoot” Bob blogs daily on his website:
   Bob’s trip is scheduled to end in July 2008 at the Model T Ford Centennial Party in Richmond, Ind.

Planning underway

for autumn events

   During the long, hot Three Rivers summers, annual events are few and far between. But once the calendar turns to September, community volunteers hop out of the river and come down from the mountains to begin making plans for events that are held each year during more moderate temperatures.
   The Three Rivers School’s Halloween Carnival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27, from 4 to 8 p.m. Currently, the drive is on to collect donations from local businesses and individuals for the popular Pick-A-Prize, as well as the silent auction, and raffle.
Donations valued at under $150 will be featured in the Pick-A-Prize event. Donations of $150 or more will be used as raffle prizes.
   Currently, raffle prizes include an iPod, tickets to Magic Mountain, and tickets to Disneyland or Californialand.

  “This is a great start, but we need everyone’s unique support and it is greatly appreciated,” said Emelou Price, Carnival organizer. “Time is of the essence!”
   All proceeds from this event, sponsored by the Eagle Booster Club, benefit TRUS.
   For more information or to make a donation, call Emelou, 280-2691, or Patty Knapp, 561-3631.
   The First Baptist Church’s Harvest Festival is also in the planning stages and scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 5:30 p.m. Activities will include games, activities, food, and more.
   Drawings will be held throughout the event for prizes such as a bicycle, iPod, original artwork, gifts certificates, and more.
   For more information, call 561-4816.


Rerouted in

Sequoia’s backcountry

A family’s journey

into the wilderness and back

Day 1 (Part 2)
Saturday, July 14
Mineral King to Spring Lake
6 miles

Part one of this series was published in the Friday, Sept. 7, issue or it may be viewed on a page on this website:
                                                            * * *
   Our family of four enjoyed a light lunch near Glacier Pass, having traveled about four miles from the Mineral King valley on the first day of a nine-day backpacking trip into the backcountry of Sequoia National Park. From this vantage point, we gazed across the steep Cliff Creek drainage to the Great Western Divide, which includes Mount Eisen (elevation 12,160 feet) to the immediate north, the aptly-named Black Rock Pass (11,680 feet) — which we would climb the next day on the daunting zigzag of a trail that stands out on the mountain’s south flank — and the bare crags of the Kaweah Peaks Ridge beyond.
   According to contemporary topographical maps, there is no trail over Glacier Pass (11,100 feet elevation). But there used to be and traces remain.
   We had heard that this route could be challenging with even a Class 3 descent (handholds and footholds must be found, tested, and used; usually located on the north side of Sierra passes). This might be the case if there is snow on the north side of this pass, which true to its name is a possibility well into late season, but we were able to easily maneuver away from the stubborn snowfield that remained on the mountain, smaller this year due to the previous winter’s below-normal snowpack.
   As this ridgecrest is approached from the Mineral King side, two small U-notches come into view. The low point on the easternmost side provides the safest access down the other side.
   Immediately upon beginning our descent, there were signs that we were following the old trail, which was blasted from the solid rock of the mountainside. It is easy to see the former route, but since it is now mostly a boulder field, some scrambling is necessary to get over and around some car-sized obstacles.
   A story, handed down to me by my dad, describes the Glacier Pass terrain. His uncle, Nate May, when visiting his sister and brother-in-law (my grandparents) one summer in Mineral King, borrowed a horse from them and went out on a solo ride. He took the horse up and over Glacier Pass and back. Obviously realizing that it was a strenuous trip for both him and his mount, when he returned to the cabin, he asked my grandfather, “Does anyone ever ride horses over to Spring Lake?” When my grandfather, Bob Barton, replied, “No one with any sense,” Nate decided not to ever tell him about his excursion that day.
   Just below the pass is one ledge that required the removal of our packs… and would have been extremely difficult for a horse and rider, although in this ever-evolving landscape, the boulder may not have even been there 80 years ago. We slid our fully-loaded packs down the rock before we assumed the slide position ourselves. If this is the Class 3 portion we were told about, it wasn’t worth mentioning as it is about 12 feet of slanted rock that was an obstacle but certainly not dangerous.
   During the otherwise Class 2 descent (rugged terrain, steep talus), we could see the old trail contouring diagonally on the rugged mountainside far out in front of us, but since we were hopping and scrambling from boulder to boulder anyway and weren’t hindered by snow, we started working our way straight down the slope toward a trail that could be seen meandering through the glade below. Once on this gentler terrain, we followed the creek that eventually takes this hanging valley’s melting snow to Spring Lake.
   Strolling along this faint path was delightful after an entire morning of strenuous climbing. A waterfall changes the creek from calm to frenzied just before beginning its final descent to the lake.
   As we reached the northern edge of this tundra-covered flat, Spring Lake came into view below. The trail begins its descent by contouring the hillside through twisted and weather-sculpted foxtail pines, guiding hikers gradually along the west slope above the lake.
   Spring Lake is beautifully situated in Sequoia’s backcountry. It can be visited via a challenging roundtrip day-hike from Mineral King, as a remote backpacking destination, or a memorable overnight stop when thru-traveling during a multi-day trip.
   As we reached the water’s edge, mosquitoes became a nuisance. This made our decision in selecting a campsite easy even though we could have our pick of the place since there weren’t any other backpackers in the vicinity.
   We settled in above the lake, on its northwest side, on a rocky shelf, instead of utilizing the campsites along the lake’s north and west shores. And the camp chores began…
   Unpacking four packs means about 150 pounds of food and gear gets strewn within the invisible boundaries of the campsite, and although organized into various categorical piles, it more closely resembles a bomb blast.
   This daily chore is essential, however, because everything in the packs is utilized while in camp — from food to clothing to headlamps to matches... If it’s not a necessity that has the potential to be put immediately into use, it should never have been packed.
   While setting up the tents, we concomitantly indulged in our happy hour ritual: sharing a quart of Gatorade made with just-filtered water from an icy-cold mountain stream. After a long day of backpacking this drink is comparable in taste to the finest champagne and as satisfying as a cold beer.
   Next, a delectable dinner was devoured faster than it took to make, consisting of fettucine primavera, garlic mashed potatoes, and sourdough biscuits.
   Just like our happy hour before dinner, we also anticipate “magic hour” at dusk. Tonight, the Great Western Divide and, most noticeably, the soaring white granite headwall that rises precipitously from Spring Lake became painted in a vivid crimson alpenglow.
   The cascading waters dropping from Columbine to Cyclamen to Spring lakes provided the musical backdrop. Airborne trout rippling the glass surface of the lake was the harmony.
   It was quite a show. We settled in for our first luxurious night in the wilderness.


Sandra Satterfield
1947 ~ 2007

   Sandra Lee Satterfield died peacefully in her sleep at her Woodlake home on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2007. She was 60.
   Sandy was born Jan. 2, 1947, to Herbert and Dorothy Satterfield (Pettenger) in Lynwood. She was raised in Three Rivers, graduated from Woodlake High School in 1965, and attended the College of the Sequoias and Porterville College.
   Sandy was preceded in death by her father, Herbert Satterfield.
   She is survived by her mother, Dorothy Pettenger of Visalia; two sons, Don Cumpton and wife Lupe of Fresno and Dustin Satterfield of Visalia; a sister, Robin Hernandez of Visalia; two brothers, Jeff Pettenger of Ashland, Ky., and Mitchell Pettenger of Visalia, and six grandchildren.
   Private services will be held. Remembrances may be sent to the American Heart Association, 7425 N. Palm Bluff, Suite 101, Fresno, CA 93711.

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