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In the News - Friday, October 8, 2010


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

Pot 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, Oct. 5.
   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

at 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 the road.
   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.

  “My 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

on 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).

  “There 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 fire.”
   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.

  “If 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 drainage.
   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.

  “We 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 the vegetation.”
   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

Winter Concert Series

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 Presbyterian Church.
   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 Colburn.
   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 holiday songs.
   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 Artist.
   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 be missed.
   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).

Customer appreciation:

River 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.

  “We’ve 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 View.
   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 specials:
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 and evening.
   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 disturbing diners.
   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 discount prices.
   For more information, call the River View at 561-2211.

Changing of the board (photo caption)

   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
Anniversary potluck

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 community.


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 a few.
   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, Mom!
   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.
   Bon Appetit!


You can use whole wheat flour or any other flour instead of white.

4 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¾ cup buttermilk
Olive oil
1 swiss roll pan (cookie sheet with ½-inch sides will do)


  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 using)
Salt, freshly ground pepper, a pinch of sugar, and 1 tablespoon each of freshly chopped mint, thyme, parsley, lemon balm, marjoram, and basil

Heat 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.


Easy recipe but oh so good!

Flour or corn tortilla
Grated Oaxaca string cheese (closest equivalent is mozzarella)

  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.


Fred Monson
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 Rivers.
   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.

Dede Lafferty
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 Rivers.
   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 Kirby.
   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.



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