In the News - Friday, October
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
seized in Sequoia
It’s the season when high country
pot growers try to harvest one more crop before the
snow flies. So on Wednesday, September 29, as a part
of their ongoing war on growers, Sequoia and Kings
Canyon National Parks rangers raided another plantation
and eradicated more than 13,000 plants that won’t
be a part of this year’s harvest.
The latest haul was estimated to be worth
more than $52 million had those buds reached the illegal
street market. According to a statement issued by
Dana Dierkes, public affairs specialist for the local
national parks, the grow site contained ties to a
Mexican cartel and had the usual fertilizers, pesticides,
herbicides and other hazardous materials that have
caused lots of environmental damage on park lands.
No arrests have been made in connection
with the raid. Details were not released as to the
location but there was a recent report of a gunshot
fired in the vicinity of Crystal Cave on Tuesday,
Last year it was gunfire that led rangers
to other grow sites in the same area along the Yucca
Creek drainage. Pot sites in that vicinity are extremely
heinous because the runoff from grow sites contains
hazardous chemicals that threaten the fragile ecosystem
of the Crystal Cave environment.
Town park plea heard
Town Hall meeting
Gary Cort is no stranger to proposing
an idea or project that might benefit Three Rivers.
He’s been an architect working here for more
than three decades, helping local folks conceptualize
dream homes and civic ventures with an eye on what
might be environmentally friendly and needed down
At last Monday’s (October 4) Town
Hall meeting, Cort revealed his plans for starting
a committee and circulating a petition that he hopes
will culminate in a county park in Three Rivers that
would provide bona fide river access for all users.
The park plan is proposed for an 18.3-acre
parcel adjacent to the Three Rivers Post Office that
is currently being offered for $489,000.
plan is to have 1,000 signatures on a petition by
the November town meeting,” Cort said.
Cort told the gathering that the petition
for the park already had more than 100 signatures
that were gathered at the recent 1st Saturday event.
Supervisor Allen Ishida, who also attended
the Town Hall meeting, told Cort: “…if
you get the signatures he would go after the project.”
Ishida also said that the county has
no money for any acquisitions right now but there
are funds that could become available.
In 2008, Cort worked on a development
proposal with the previous property owner Jim Brucker.
That project contained a transportation center and
a strip of commercial offices and storefronts.
When a consultant for the transportation
hub portion of the project came in with a price tag
of more than $800,000, the parties involved agreed
to put the deal on the back burner. Brucker eventually
sold his interest in the property back to Greg Dixon
who, Cort said, would still like to see some commercial
use on the property.
Cal Fire representatives presented plans
for a 1,500-acre prescribed fire in Grouse Valley
between the South Fork of the Kaweah River and Blue
Ridge to the south. The burn, scheduled for Tuesday,
Oct. 12, would target mostly grassland and be completed
in one day.
According to fire officials, the burn
would help restore blue oak woodlands that no longer
routinely experience fire. There will be some smoke
but the impacts will be short term if the weather
conditions are within prescription.
The next Town Hall meeting is scheduled
for Nov. 1. Inquiries about the meeting or the Three
Rivers Village Foundation, who sponsor the monthly
forums, may be directed to Marge Ewen, 561-0123.
Rain puts damper
prescribed fire plans
For the local parks and their prescribed
fire program, the recent rains were a mixed blessing.
Among the benefits were that the heavier precipitation
on the Kings Canyon side of the parks effectively
extinguished the Sheep Fire complex (9,007 acres).
are still a few hotspots but for all intents and purposes
that fire is out,” reported Deb Schweizer, Sequoia
and Kings Canyon National Parks fire education officer.
“The good news is that our fire map for the
entire Cedar Grove area in now ‘green,’
meaning that enough acreage has burned in recent years
that we are now in good shape relative to forest fuels
and minimizing the danger of a catastrophic wildland
The Sheep Fire and its associated blazes
ended up charring 3,125 acres inside the boundary
of Kings Canyon National Park and nearly 6,000 acres
on national forest land.
that fire, which was ignited in mid-July near Cedar
Grove, was left untouched it would have marched west
and burned all the way to Hume Lake,” Deb said.
“It would have consumed more than 20,000 acres,
cost untold millions more to contain, and been a disaster.”
But with the successful management of
the Sheep Fire now relegated to local fire annals,
Deb said these early rain events have put other plans
on hold for more prescribed fires. In a typical year,
the dry, Indian-summer conditions of October are a
good time to play catch-up in other areas of the parks
like the East and Middle forks of the Kaweah River
While the Cedar Grove fire map might
be mostly green, not so for the Middle Fork, which
is extremely “red,” and the East Fork,
which has both red and green areas. To fire managers,
burning more acreage in these areas is a high priority.
are still wondering what to do in those hazard areas,”
Deb said. “It’s not likely we can even
light any more fires this season unless there is an
extended stretch of warm days that really dries out
If the weather is warm enough, she said,
the parks will proceed with the 1,485-acre Mosquito
burn, which is planned for a block south of the East
Fork between Silver City and Mineral King.
But of even greater concern are several
areas near the Middle and North forks. Park crews
had all the prep work done on another 634-acre burn
in Redwood Canyon near the headwaters of the North
Fork but had to scrap those plans when the Sheep Fire
ignited. Other planned prescribed burns, including
the Cave (310 acres) near Crystal Cave and the Halstead
(685 acres) near the Generals Highway, had to be placed
on hold for this season.
Locals and visitors can breathe a little
easier for the time being, Deb said, because both
the Halstead and the Mosquito burns, if and when they
are ignited, are likely to cause some significant
smoke for Three Rivers.
Tickets on sale for
by Bill Haxton
A lot has happened over the past few
months, since the end of the summer music camp and
concerts last June, all of it good for Three Rivers.
First, we’ve set up a nonprofit
organization called the Three Rivers Performing Arts
Institute and have been awarded tax-exempt status
by the IRS.
Second, the Three Rivers Performing Arts
Institute has begun developing relationships with
superb sources of performing talent, most notably
the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, where
both Danielle Belen and Robert Lipsett
confirmed that they intend to maintain an ongoing
presence in Three Rivers.
Third, after months of planning, the
Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute’s Winter
Concert Series is set and ready to go. The Series
opens Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m., at the Community
Opening Night will feature violin virtuoso
Mayumi Kanagawa. Mayumi performed briefly and brilliantly
at last month’s Concert on the Grass and will
have the entire stage to herself on Opening Night.
Her rise in the violin world has been
meteoric. At the age of seven, she began studying
with Julliard’s legendary Masao Kawasaki and,
more recently, is one of those rare violinists accepted
into the studio of violin master Robert Lipsett at
This is what one writer said of her:
“Ms. Kanagawa has an expressively fluid style
that is uniquely personal, tonally pure, and her flawless
phrasing is touching, intense and deeply emotive.”
For Opening Night, a number of us are
going to dress up, all the way up — tuxedos,
gowns, the works. If you have formal wear, and if
it still fits, or if you are willing to rent it, we
encourage you to dress up, too. Not required, of course;
blue jeans are fine.
That concert will be followed by five
more, one each month until May. There’s a good
deal of variety in the programs.
Ms. Kanagawa’s violin is followed
by an excellent Holiday program on December 11 with
the award-winning COS Chamber Singers under Jeff Seward
presenting both early and middle classical and popular
On January 8, the Three Rivers Performing
Arts Institute hosts the exciting Wyndfall Trio with
Tracy Harris, one of the best flutists anywhere. Tracy
is one of a very select group of flutists worldwide
who have achieved acclamation as a Yamaha Performing
Anyone attending the Concert on the Grass
a few years ago might remember the wondrous moment
at the end of the concert with flute, harp, and piano
sending music up into the evening sky and the huge
flock of redwing blackbirds circling around and around
overhead, captivated by Mozart.
Jennie Jung, the gifted pianist at last
summer’s concerts, returns February 26 with
her very accomplished sisters, Ellen on violin and
Julie on cello to perform Dvorak’s Fm trio,
the composition that won them grand prize at the highly
regarded Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition.
The way they communicate with one another through
their instruments is almost mystical.
An ensemble of Colburn’s best students
will perform on April 2. They may be young, but make
no mistake, they are fully mature musicians. My wife
Anne and I have heard them perform live at the Colburn
School. Many of them have already played with symphonies
around the world. This promises to be a spectacular
evening of music from tomorrow’s stars.
The last concert in the series occurs
May 7 when the incomparable Danielle Belen takes the
stage. Up until now, we’ve only been able to
hear Danielle’s incredible artistry in abbreviated
formats. On May 7, she’s the entire concert.
Her ability to deeply move audiences with her violin
defies explanation. This concert just shouldn’t
Tickets are available now at Chumps Video:
$12 for each performance or $72 for the series. Youth
under the age of 18 are free; tickets for students
older than 18 are $6.
If last June’s concerts are any
indication, tickets will go fast. Don’t wait.
Remember, too, all concerts start promptly
at 7 p.m. cesium time (not Three Rivers time).
View offers weekly dinner specials
by Brian Rothhammer
The River View Restaurant and Lounge
is offering specials from Sunday through Thursday
throughout the winter months. The reason for these
great deals on meals is simple.
been successful here for 14 years,” said Dorletta
Hildebrand, who owns the resaurant with her husband
Rex. “We wanted to find a way to thank our friends
and neighbors who have made all of this possible.”
As we all know, business in Three Rivers
is largely seasonal and things tend to quiet down
after Labor Day. These specials are offered as a thank-you
for the loyal local patrons of the River View and
an enticement for those less familiar to rediscover
The River View is more than just a place
to go in the evenings for beer, cocktails, live music,
dancing, and a great view. Dorletta, Rex, and staff
also serve up breakfast, lunch, and dinner starting
at 7 a.m. every day. All through the day and early
evening, it’s a great place to bring the family
for wholesome food, a warm crackling fireplace, friendly
service, and its namesake, the river view.
Dorletta owned the Three Rivers Drive-In
from 1982 to 1984 and has always valued family above
all else. With three kids and two grandkids of her
own, she said, “Some of my customers still call
me ‘Mom’ from the old Drive-In days when
teens would arrive in the morning saying, ‘Feed
me, Mom.’ I always knew just what they wanted.
Now they’re adults and I see them and their
families here at the River View.”
Here’s a list of the new winter
Sunday starts it off with free play on the billiard
tables all day and night, free snacks, and the River
View Unplugged series of acoustic music presented
by Larry Davis. With so much local talent sitting
in, every Sunday offers a different experience.
Monday follows with half-price pizza,
any size, all day and night (dine-in only). Ask anyone
who’s had one, they’ll tell you the View
makes a great pie.
Tuesday is 2-4-2. Two tacos (meat or
veggie) for $2 all day and night, and from 7 p.m.
on, select beers will be $2 each.
Wednesday is Family Day with an all-you-can-eat
buffet that will change weekly. Emphasis will be on
good ol’ home-style comfort food, and it’s
very affordable at $7 for adults, $4 for ages six
to 12 and 55 and older, and free for youngsters 5
and under. Also, Dorletta will be showing wholesome
family movies from her collection throughout the day
Thursday will finish the specials with
$2 chili and $3 draft beer for the adults.
Friday and Saturday will provide the
usual fare, with music and dancing through the night.
Dorletta also plans to convert a room,
separate from the dining area, into a video game room.
She has 6 video games on order and with the degree
of separation the gamers can have a blast without
As always, minors must leave the premises
by 11 p.m. so the adults can play. Besides, adds Dorletta,
“They should be asleep by then anyway.”
So, regardless of age, the River View
is the place for food, fun, and outstanding winter
For more information, call the River
View at 561-2211.
Changing of the board
Gail Bennett was recognized at the recent
Three Rivers District Cemetery board meeting upon
her retirement after nine years of dedicated volunteer
service to the organization. Current board members
are Vern McDonald, Steve Crigler (general manager),
Gary Whitney, and Jody Hanggi.
Arts Alliance hosts
by T. Leah Spencer
There are more persons per capita in
this mountain community who understand the hours of
preparation and level of commitment it takes to hone
an artistic ability and produce a finished piece of
work for sale or performance than in any other community
I’ve been a part of.
During the last year working with the
Arts Alliance of Three Rivers, and now assisting Three
Rivers Union School’s Carnival committee with
booking musicians for this year’s Halloween
Carnival on October 30, I now understand that this
artistic approach to hard work and dedication in order
to present the best possible finished product extends
into almost every crack and crevice of Three Rivers.
On Saturday, Oct. 16, the Arts Alliance
of Three Rivers will celebrate their 25th anniversary
with a free potluck dinner at Anne Lang’s Emporium.
Members and nonmembers alike are invited to attend
and join us in recognizing the accomplishments and
dedication of so many artists in Three Rivers. Please
RSVP to 561-3315 by Wednesday, Oct. 12.
The people here are like beautiful flowers.
As you lean in closer to partake of their fragrance,
you notice a sparkling glimmer that draws you closer.
Then a whole other dimension opens within the flower,
a crystal palace world, intricate designs, rainbow
light, inspiration incarnate! As an artist, I grow/develop/learn/mature
and hone my skills in ways unexpected through the
process of working with others here in this amazing
WELCOME TO MY FOOD COLUMN
Ballymaloe Cookery School
Part Six: Savories
by Tina St. John
This is the sixth
installment in a continuing series about the author’s
two-week visit in August to the renowned Ballymaloe
Cookery School in rural County Cork, Ireland.
* * *
There wasn’t anything at Ballymaloe Cookery
School that didn’t taste good. With all the
various produce and herbs that grew in the gardens,
the culinary possibilities are endless. Assuming that
this was a school specializing in traditional Irish
cooking, I was surprised to learn about the many international
dishes taught: Mexican, Italian, and French to name
I remember one evening sitting with owner
Darina Allen eating dinner at Ballymaloe House, admiring
a savory dish I wasn’t familiar with, when she
turned to me out of the blue, mentioning that when
the majority of people in a country’s teeth
are good, that means their diet is good. And then
she asked me if I ever noticed the people of India’s
good teeth, suggesting their good diet.
I had never thought of that, but being
the daughter of a dentist I do recall my mother insisting
on healthy food for us kids, which must have been
a contributing factor to my mouth of good chops. Thanks,
And speaking of savory dishes, I learned
to cook some delicious recipes that had the possibility
of being as healthy and hearty as one could imagine.
Soda Bread Pizza, Squash Blossom Quesadillas and Tomato
Fondue were some favorites.
These are dishes much like a blank canvas
waiting for the artist to apply talent and flare.
These dishes are great bases.
So with these recipes allow your own
creativity to craft delicious meals for your family
by adding combinations of seasonal produce, cheeses,
pastas, and more.
can use whole wheat flour or any other flour instead
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¾ cup buttermilk
1 swiss roll pan (cookie sheet with ½-inch
sides will do)
OVEN TO 450 DEGREES
Sift dry ingredients into large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the center. Pour most of the milk in
at once. Using one hand, mix in the flour from the
sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary.
The dough should be softish; not too wet and sticky.
When it all comes together, turn it out onto a floured
board, knead lightly for a few seconds, just enough
to tidy it up.
Brush the tin with olive oil. Roll dough
out thinly to fit the sheet. Cover the dough with
topping(s) of choice. You can add rosemary to the
dry ingredients before you add milk. Any herbs add
a nice flavor.
Tomato fondue is one of Ballymaloe’s
great convertibles. It has a number of uses: as a
vegetable, a pasta sauce, filling for omelettes, or
topping for pizza.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1 clove of garlic
2 lbs. (or 2 14-oz.) cans of tomatoes (peel before
Salt, freshly ground pepper, a pinch of sugar, and
1 tablespoon each of freshly chopped mint, thyme,
parsley, lemon balm, marjoram, and basil
oil in a stainless steel saucepan. Add the sliced
onions and garlic until coated. Cover and sweat on
a gentle heat until soft but not colored, about 10
minutes. Add the tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper,
and sugar. Add herbs. Cover and cook 10-20 minutes
more, or until the tomatoes soften. Uncover and reduce
a little. NOTE: A few drops of balsamic vinegar added
at the end of cooking greatly enhances the flavor.
CHEESE AND SQUASH BLOSSOMS
Easy recipe but oh so good!
or corn tortilla
Grated Oaxaca string cheese (closest equivalent is
Toast tortilla lightly. Sprinkle a light amount
of cheese. Lay half squash blossoms and a few thin
slices of green chilies in the tortilla. Toast until
the cheese is melted. Serve with salsa and guacamole.
1935 ~ 2010
Fred Archie Monson, a former resident
of Three Rivers, died Sunday, Sept. 26, 2010, at his
Pioneer home with his family close by after being
recently diagnosed with cancer. He was 74.
Fred was born October 26, 1935, in Los
Angeles to Archie and Alta Monson. He was raised in
Southern California but traveled with his grandfather
to orchards in Lindsay.
In 1954, while still a teenager, Fred
built a race car that reached speeds up to 157 mph
at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
In 1961, Fred and his wife Lois moved
with their two young children to Three Rivers. Fred
worked for contractor R.B. “Dick” Lang.
Fred was a skilled plumber, electrician, and carpenter,
and his handiwork can still be seen in the timeless
beauty of the custom homes he helped build in Three
After 38 years in Three Rivers, Fred
and Lois moved to Pioneer in 1999, where they built
their retirement home.
For many decades, Fred was a model railroad
enthusiast and a member of the Sutter Creek Railroad
Club. He had an elaborate HO-gauge model railroad
layout in his home and helped many others build their
own over the years.
Fred was preceded in death by his parents.
On April 14, 2010, he was also preceded in death by
his five-year-old granddaughter Khylee, who succumbed
to brain cancer.
Fred is survived by his wife of 52 years,
Lois, of Pioneer; son, Jeff Monson of Pioneer; daughter
Jana Monson and Julie Carlisle of South Lake Tahoe;
grandchildren Katie Sarles and husband James of Visalia,
Todd Monson and wife Jessica of Lemon Cove, and Bailee
Monson of Pioneer; and great-grandchildren Kaia and
Chayton Sarles of Visalia.
The family requests in lieu of flowers,
donations be made to Hospice of Amador (P.O. Box 595,
Jackson, CA 95642), which has been extremely helpful
to the family in the past year.
1935 ~ 2010
Dawn Diane “Dede” Lafferty
died peacefully at her Lake Balboa home on Monday,
Sept. 27, 2010, after a six-year battle with cancer.
She was 75.
A memorial service will be held today
(Friday, Oct. 8, 1 p.m.) at Shepherd of the Hills
Church, 19700 Rinaldi, Porter Ranch.
Dede was born March 28, 1935, in Santa Monica to Harry
and Carol Rutherford. She graduated from Hamilton
High School in Los Angeles and attend L.A. City College.
On December 11, 1954, Dede married Edward
Hansford Lafferty. In addition to being a loving wife
and mother, Diane worked as an escrow officer and,
later, was employed for 20 years in the front office
of the Van Nuys First Baptist Church, which later
became Shepherd of the Hills in Porter Ranch.
A devoted Christian, Dede worked for
and performed in the Living Christmas Tree and Passion
Play productions. She was an avid tennis player, arts
and crafts designer, loved square dancing, horses,
the outdoors, ranch life, and camping during her frequent
waterskiing trips to her favorite location, Three
Dede is survived by her husband of 55
years, Edward, of Lake Balboa; her children, Carol
Lynne Dopko and husband Mike, Edward Hansford Lafferty
II and wife Sharleen of Three Rivers, and Richard
Wayne Lafferty; and grandchildren, Robert Edward Lafferty,
Heather Nicole Henley, Shondra Lynn Nelson, Ashlee
Marie Nelson, Gerritt James Kirby, and Marc Raymon
Dede was preceded in death by her parents;
sister Susan Greterman; brothers-in-law Grady Lafferty,
Charles Lander, Charles Lafferty, Charles Greterman;
sisters-in-law Juanita Lafferty, Sharon LaMonte, and
JoEllen Lafferty; her grandson, Michael Edward Dopko;
and nephew Daniel Greterman.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests
that contributions be made to breast cancer research
or the Wounded Warrior Project.