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Kaweah Kam

In the News - Friday, OCTOBER 6, 2006

Sequoia goes global:
Park signs sister accord

   It was a day distinguished by many firsts, including the first visit to Sequoia National Park by dozens of Cambodians from the Fresno area. They came on Tuesday, Oct. 3, to give their blessing to a historic signing of a “sister parks” agreement between Sequoia National Park and Cambodia’s Samlaut Multiple Use Area.
   Stephan Bognar, the executive director of the Maddox Jolie Pitt Project, first proposed the partnership between the parks earlier this year. His group, founded by actress Angelina Jolie and named for her adopted Cambodian son, Maddox, seeks to help the people of war-torn western Cambodia and has hired 30 rangers to help protect Samlaut.
   Bognar said that protection of Samlaut’s unique watershed that supplies more than 30 percent of the region’s water is key to the foundation’s Cambodian agenda.

  “To help the people become self-sustaining, we must first protect the forests and rivers of Samlaut,” Bognar said. “The partnership with Sequoia is a natural.”
   The two parks, although located halfway around the world from each other, have among their similarities a cultural connection. At least 7,000 Cambodians live in communities nearby Sequoia and now park officials hope they will visit more often.
   Craig Axtell, Sequoia’s superintendent, presided over the signing ceremony of the five-year agreement from beneath the massive Sentinel Tree in front of the Giant Forest Museum.

  “The whole notion [of this partnership] is to share expertise and to protect our national and cultural heritage,” Axtell said. “The protection of natural resources is a global activity.”
   Cambodia, which has seven national parks, first afforded protection to Samlaut in 1993. The fledgling park consists of 148,260 acres in the remote Battambang Province and is difficult to access.
   Poachers of Samlaut’s unique wildlife — elephants, bears, tigers, and rare Javan rhinos — pose a serious threat, Bognar said. In addition, the region has already lost 40 percent of its timber because local residents use it for firewood and to make charcoal.
   In its role as a new big sister, Sequoia rangers will train their Cambodian counterparts to enforce park regulations and educate visitors to Samlaut’s rainforest.

  “We’re looking to develop Samlaut into a strong national park,” Bognar said. “Here in Sequoia, they have law-enforcement rangers, interpretive rangers, and rangers who are experienced in community development… this experience is what Cambodian rangers will need.”
   Thirty-two other U.S. national parks have sister-parks agreements with 18 nations. It is the first “sister” for Sequoia National Park and the first agreement of its kind for any Cambodian park. Joseph A. Mussomeli, U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, said that this relationship promotes goodwill between the people of “our nations.”

  “The tangible benefit is that under this agreement we will train rangers and build visitor centers,” Mussomeli said. “The intangible benefit is that this relationship will shape all future park policy in Cambodia and protect Samlaut.”
   Mok Mareth, Ph.D., Cambodia’s minister of environment, said the Cambodian people are pleased to join with “our partners” to sign this sister agreement.

  “With the expertise your team has acquired in 100 years of park protection we can improve the environment and benefit our people,” Mareth said. “Together we can build a better future for our children.”
   In 1999, what was left of the insurgent Khmer Rouge regime negotiated a truce and became part of the Cambodian army. This historic event occurred within the boundaries of Samlaut and ended 30 years of bloodshed and much of the region’s plunder.
   Now there is healing among people and nations that must occur and Samlaut, due in part to this agreement, is destined to become an international symbol of that process. Ambassador Mussomeli summarized the historic accord with an ancient Khmer proverb:

  “If the spirit inside the house doesn’t open the gate, the spirit outside cannot come in.”
   On this historic day, Sequoia National Park and its new sister, Samlaut, have opened their gates and invited the world to some very special places.

Village Foundation seeks

support for Measure R

   New taxes that require a two-thirds majority are never an easy sell, especially to folks who believe they already pay too much at the pump. At last week’s Town Hall Meeting, members of the Three Rivers Village Foundation affirmed their support for Measure R, the one-half cent sales tax on the November 7 ballot.
   If approved, a part of the $650 million expected from the measure in the next 30 years would be used to finish road repairs on both North Fork and South Fork drives. Supervisor Allen Ishida, who was unable to attend the meeting, said this week that there is much more at stake in the measure for Three Rivers.

  “At least 14 percent of the money would be used for alternative transportation projects like bike lanes and a new bus transfer/visitor center near the Three Rivers Fire Station,” he said.
   Though a bus center for Three Rivers is only in the talking stages, the center would be an obvious stop for new park shuttles that the City of Visalia is planning to operate in the summer of 2007. As it stands right now, the Visalia city manager said, there are no plans for the shuttles to stop in Three Rivers.

  “The shuttles will stop at the various hotels around Visalia and the hope is that when they depart for Sequoia they will be full,” Ishida said. “It’s inconceivable to think they won’t be able to stop at hotels in Three Rivers.”
   Ishida said next week that he and Mark Tilchen, Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce president, are planning to meet with Visalia officials.

  “There has to be some kind of partnership between the county and the city or maybe there won’t be a shuttle grant,” Ishida said.
   In other news related to the town meeting, Tom Sparks, spokesperson for the Village Foundation, said Caltrans has approved the documentation for Highway 198 to be designated a scenic highway. County planners are currently drafting a corridor protection plan to be unveiled at a public meeting in November.

  “There won’t be any surprises in the plan, only clarification of what ordinances are already on the books,” Sparks said. “We expect the plan to be completed by year’s end and the poppy signs to be installed in early 2007.”
   The Three Rivers designation is the first scenic highway in District 6, the Caltrans region that includes Tulare County.
   The next Town Hall Meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 17, will include a presentation by Tulare County Citizens for Responsible Growth. Supervisor Ishida said he will be in attendance and accompanied by the county’s fire chief to answer questions about the transition of service effective July 1, 2007.


At the seventh-annual National Public Lands Day held at Lake Kaweah, 315 volunteers assisted Army Corps of Engineers staff with several hours of paint-up, fix-up, pick-up, spruce-up, and clean-up. The nationwide gathering occurs each year on the last Saturday in September.

On the ballot:

Proposition education

   Registered voters who have chosen to vote by mail are now receiving their absentee ballots. These ballots may appear very complex, especially because there are 13 state propositions that require a yes or no vote.
   Five authorize the state to sell bonds — totaling almost $43 billion — to spend on transportation, housing, schools, flood control, and water. The other eight deal with taxes, parental notification about abortion, funding of elections, and property rights.
   The Community Presbyterian Church has invited representatives from the Tulare County chapter of the League of Women Voters to present a program about the propositions. It will be held Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m., in Harrison Hall at the church.
   The LWV, as a service to voters, has for many years done detailed analyses of the propositions and arrived at recommendations on which ones should be supported or defeated. These analyses are widely regarded as among the most objective and complete sources of election advice.
   The group is nonpartisan, reflecting the views of no special-interest groups. They seek only to explain what the propositions will really do.
   This year, the propositions can have a great impact on the future of California. Having the League’s information can help make the voting process easier.
   The event is free and open to the public.

By Sally Pace

Love ‘m or hate ‘em: College admissions tests

   Testing has become very important for high school students. Whether you agree or disagree with how many and how often students are being tested, it has become a very important measuring stick for both the student and the school.
   Parents often ask what they can do to help prepare their child for college. One important part of the college entrance academic index are admissions tests including the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and the ACT.
   In order to see how your student will score on these tests they have an opportunity to take the PSAT (Pre-SAT) and PLAN (Pre-ACT) tests. The PSAT will be given on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in most schools to students in eighth through 11th grades.
   This test is also given on Saturday, Oct. 21, at some locations. The PLAN has a flexible testing date and will be given at Woodlake High School on Tuesday, November 21.
   The PSAT at Woodlake High School costs $13 and will cost $14 after October 6, when a late fee of $1 will be charged. The added dollar goes toward renting the Woodlake Veteran’s Memorial Building for testing.
   The PLAN test is free to Woodlake High sophomores, but will cost $10 at schools that do not pay for the test. The PLAN test gives an academic profile that corresponds to the ACT as well as a Career Profile developed from the answers to career-related questions.
   Both tests give the student back their test booklet and a review of the correct answers and their answers. The results of the tests will be reviewed at Woodlake High’s annual Sophomore Counseling appointment as well as in the English classes.
   My suggestion is that college-prep sophomores take both tests so they can have a comparison of the test results. The tests are formatted a little differently.
   The PSAT has Critical Reading, Math, and Writing Skills sections. The PLAN has four multiple-choice testing sections, including English/Composition, Math, Reading, and Science.
   By having a comparison of the two test scores, students can see the test on which they might receive the better score – SAT or ACT – and subsequently take the test that will give them the higher score. For college entrance, students will need to take either the SAT or ACT for California State Universities and most private colleges. The University of California also requires that applicants take two SAT Subject Tests in addition to either the ACT or SAT.
   For the California State University system, test scores for open majors are not as important if a student has a 3.0 GPA or better, but scores are very important for impacted (full) majors.
   For the University of California, test scores are more important. For an idea of what an academic index looks like for different schools go to for the California State University System and for the UC system.
   It is very important for students to understand the academic index for the individual schools and majors they are looking into attending.
   The best method to “study” for these tests is to do well in school and really understand the material being taught. Students who are well read and look up words they don’t understand in the dictionary do the best on the English portion of both tests.
   There are a lot of books that help students study and prepare for the SAT and ACT and give test-taking strategies but there is no substitute for doing well in school. There are also practice tests on the web at or

How the Air District plans to reduce pollution

   Ask anyone in Kaweah Country what the number-one concern is and odds are they would mention air quality. There were significant developments this week that could affect whether the San Joaquin Valley will or won’t meet tough new federal standards by 2013.
   On Monday, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) released a draft plan that seeks to reduce emissions that create ozone, the main ingredient of smog. The 350-page-plus plan will undergo several months of public review.
   Among the more controversial sections of the document is the $7.5 billion it is estimated to cost to replace polluting vehicles. The money, which would come from new government sources, the plan says, is the major part of a strategy to reduce smog-making pollution by 60 percent.
   National findings for 2005 rank the Valley as the third dirtiest air basin in the country behind the Los Angeles and Houston metropolitan areas. Healthcare professionals said that some of the staggering cost to reduce emissions would be offset by saving some of the $3 billion spent annually in Central California to treat air pollution-related illness.
   The first of a series of public workshops to review the new plan is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2 p.m., at the SJVAPCD office, 1990 E. Gettysburg Ave., Fresno The document is posted online at


Carol Baribeault
1942 ~ 2006

   Carol Jean Marie Baribeault, formerly of Three Rivers, died Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006, of lung cancer. She was 63.
   Carol was born Oct. 16, 1942, in Hartford, Conn., to Russell Joseph Earl King and Evelyn Shelden Patterson. On May 8, 1952, she was adopted by Peter Joseph Stone and Laurida M. Stone.
   She was raised on the Stone family farm in Attawagon, Conn. During her school years, Carol was active in 4H, representing Connecticut in 1959 at the 4H Club National Congress.
   In 1976, Carol relocated to Three Rivers. She worked at the Noisy Water Café as a waitress.

  “Mom will be remembered for her war cry, ‘Smack it to the moon!’ at every softball game that Mark and I played,” recalled Carol’s son, Tom.
   In recent years, Carol resided in Mammoth Lakes. She lost her battle to cancer last week in Porterville.
   She had a passion for sports, motorcycles and, above all, animals.
   Carol is survived by her sons, Tom and Mark; three granddaughters, Miranda, 10, Mahlea, 5, and Sommer, 3; and many other family members and friends.

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