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In the News - Friday, October 15, 2010


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

Hiker's body recovered

near South Fork trail


  The body of Stanley Robert Garcia, 52, of Hanford , was recovered from along the river about one-third of a mile up the Ladybug Trail on Saturday, Oct. 9. Apparently, Garcia was hiking alone on the trail near the South Fork Campground in Sequoia National Park when he suffered a heart attack that, according to the results of an autopsy, was the cause of death.

  According to the incident report, the victim often hiked in the area. Although Garcia had left his home on Monday, Oct. 4, it was unknown how long he had been in the park. The park's dispatcher received a call Friday, Oct. 8, that Garcia was missing after his car was located by friends or family members in the trailhead parking lot at South Fork Campground.

  Park rangers and Tulare County Sheriff's deputies with six dogs initiated a search the same day. A search-and-rescue team came upon the victim's remains the following day. Further routine drug and alcohol test results are pending that might provide additional details relative to the incident.


Kaweah PO celebrates 100 years


By Brian Rothhammer


  When a revered institution reaches its 100th birthday, it's certainly a cause to celebrate with some good old fashioned fun. And that's just what's in store for all who visit the Kaweah Post Office on Saturday, Oct. 23, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  It will be a day of food, fun, music, and history. And, best of all, the centennial event will help raise funds for the preservation of the historic post office. A wholesome experience awaits all who attend this Centennial Celebration where past and present meet.

  The TRUS seventh-grade class will have a lemonade and cider stand. There will be activities for the kids: hands-on crafting with Kacey Fansett, coloring, balloons, and more. Adults, too, can join in with Kacey's watercolor art.

  Antoinette's Coffee & Goodies will offer muffins and other treats, Flora Bella Farms will have fresh apples and pears, and Odwalla energy bars and Matthew's Honey will also be available.

  Local artists will present their homespun fare, including photographers Jean Mayer and Tom Marshall's Country Bear Originals; commemorative cards and other artworks by Nadi Spencer, Kacey Fansett, Jana Botkin; crafts by Mary Famisaran and Shirley Keller; and handmade all-natural soaps by Charlene Natoli.

  Music fills the Kaweah zip code as Jesse Belman and company share fine acoustic renderings starting at 10 a.m. followed by the old-time folk music of Mankin Creek at 1 p.m. The classic sounds of Julie Doctor and Friends round out the musical menu from 3 p.m. till the close of festivities.

  There will be a pick-a-prize raffle, vintage Model A Fords, living history with Joyce Campbell as past Postmistress Ida Purdy, and Jim Barton with his historical memories. Kathleen McCleary, the current postal operator and provider of the historic property, will read and share excerpts from her “Autobiography of the Kaweah Post Office.”

Three Rivers Postmistress Lori Ontiveros will represent the United States Postal Service with a commemorative postal cancellation to mark this historic occasion. Special postal cachets, an official postmark made exclusively for the centennial event, will be available for sale as a collectible souvenir.

  What a great day and a great way to support the venerable Kaweah Post Office. At 100 years young and with ongoing community support, the Kaweah Post Office may continue to serve for decades to come.


In brief…


Farewell Gap webcam

now online

  Take a virtual visit to Mineral King everyday by viewing the new webcam that began operating earlier this month and offers an unimpeded south-facing view of Farewell Gap in the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park . The webcam was placed into service by Glenn Cunningham, a technical specialist who serves on the board of directors of the Mineral King District Association.

  For a link to the Mineral King webcams, which also have views of Timber Gap (in operation since 2006) and Faculty Flat (since 2005), log onto www.mk-webcam.net or use the link on the home page of this site.


Sequoia-Kings Canyon

lift fire restrictions

  With the onset of the season's first significant rainfall, officials in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have lifted the fire restrictions that have been in place since summer. Campfires are again permitted in backcountry areas below 6,000 feet; barbecue and wood fires are allowed in the Hospital Rock and Ash Mountain picnic areas.

  That's good news for backpackers who often take late-season trips in the lower elevations, especially along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River . But park rangers are reminding all who are seeking backcountry permits to keep an eye on the weather and be aware of specific fire regulations that prohibit campfires year-round in many backcountry areas.

  Contact the wilderness office with questions about your destination by calling 565-3761.


3R resident honored

for green leadership

  Lew Nelson of Three Rivers was this month at the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint Regional Policy Conference in Modesto . Nelson received the Darrell Hildebrand Blueprint Leadership Award for the leadership he has demonstrated in resource conservation and renewable energy.

  Nelson, director of Public Works for the City of Tulare , was nominated by his employer for the prestigious award. The nomination also detailed his efforts as public works manager with the City of Visalia from 1997 to 2003. The nomination made note of the fact that Nelson was instrumental in directing new development toward existing communities and had a successful working relationship with the Tulare County Redevelopment Agency.


Hume Lake upgrade

utilizes stimulus funds

  Sequoia Forest officials plan to replace a valve on the Hume Lake dam that has been leaking for the past 20 years. Plans for the project were announced two weeks ago by officials of the Giant Sequoia National Monument and the Hume Lake Ranger District.

  Funding for the project will be provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as a part of the stimulus package enacted by Congress in February 2009 to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

  Once water levels have dropped significantly work will begin to replace the valve on the historic dam. Forest engineers are anticipating work to begin by the end of the month and be completed before winter weather arrives.


Halloween candy for kids:

Donations requested

  When an entire community's ghouls and goblins, princesses and cowboys, and pirates and ballerinas descend upon one small neighborhood for their annual ritual of a fright-night full of candy collecting, the residents' big bowls of Butterfingers can really take a hit.

  The Cherokee Oaks area has become the traditional Halloween hangout in Three Rivers, but the residents don't seem to mind and many actually go above and beyond.

  It's a community affair, however, as each year residents from throughout Three Rivers donate bags of candy to their Cherokee Oaks neighbors in exchange for the residents providing a safe, fun place for the local children to trick-or-treat. From now until Friday, Oct. 29, unopened bags of candy may be dropped off at the Bank of the Sierra during business hours. The candy will then be distributed throughout the neighborhood by volunteers prior to Halloween night.


Three Rivers Woman's Club

kicks off new year


  The Three Rivers Woman's Club celebrated its annual “Welcome Back” luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 6. An assortment of delicious salads, breads and desserts was catered by Antoinette's Coffee and Goodies.

  The meeting was called to order by this year's president, Kathy Bohl. Ninety-three unified women populated the club prior to this meeting and several more have now joined.

  Membership is accepted any time throughout the year. Regular membership is only $15/year.

  The Three Rivers Woman's Club provided $24,700 in scholarships and to various organizations in the last fiscal year. Shopping at The Thingerie thrift shop, located in the Village Shopping Center , provides the proceeds to make these donations possible.

  The next meeting of the club is Wednesday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m. , at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. Feel free to visit or join the club.

  Information: 561-4490.


Scandals and classical music


By Bill Haxton


  Bill Haxton is writing on behalf of the Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute, which will be hosting a series of monthly concerts from November to May.

  It's commonly believed that classical music composers, musicians, and audiences are a buttoned-up bunch of people who repress their emotions and constrain their behavior until they resemble nothing so much as cardboard cutouts of real humanity.

  Nothing could be further from the truth. Take Beethoven, for example.

Beethoven wrote music of breathtaking tenderness and magnanimity, yet his personal life was a mess. His sudden rages and tearful euphorias are matters of legend. In one tale, possibly apocryphal, he is described rising from his piano bench during a recital and with a wild, arm-waving charge he chased the entire audience from the room because two people weren't paying close enough attention to his music.

  Johannes Brahms for most his adult life was head-over-heels in love with his best friend's wife, Clara Schumann. Clara liked Brahms as a friend but did not love him back. For Brahms, love was a gift akin to holiness.

  Meanwhile, like something out of reality TV, Brahms's musical archrival Richard Wagner went through illicit affairs like a man possessed. Wagner had love for no one but himself.

  Worse for Brahms, Wagner wrote music Brahms detested but the public loved. None of this happened in secret. All of it was out in front of a public just as addicted to the sordid side of classical music as we are today with steamy gossip about movie stars.

  One of the weirdest music stories has a Three Rivers connection, actually two connections if willing to stretch some.

  It involves a murdered French baroque composer named Jean-Marie Leclair, who lived from 1697 to 1764, mostly in Paris . Leclair was a good composer and a superb violinist. Much of his music, tuneful and emotionally rich, was written for the violin prior to his untimely demise.

  At this year's Opening Night concert on November 6 we are going to hear Leclair's touching Sonata in D Major, Opus 9, No. 3, performed by violin virtuoso Mayumi Kanagawa. That's the first connection.

  Here's the second, the stretcher. Since Leclair was one of the leading violinists of his era, he had no trouble arranging to purchase a rare Stradivarius violin not long after it came out of the master carpenter's workshop in 1721, a violin tinted red by some combination of wood grain and 18th-century varnish.

  At about this time, Leclair's second wife, the engraver Louise Roussel, took over management of Leclair's business affairs, which were considerable. Leclair was in high demand as both a composer and a violinist.

  And so things went for the next 25 years, until 1758, when his beloved Louise left him. Shattered, Leclair fled to a slum-ridden and dangerous neighborhood in Paris , retreated into his small apartment and from then on was seldom seen. In fact, two months passed in 1764 during which no one saw him at all.

  Finally, a housekeeper managed to open the door to Leclair's apartment and found his body lying face up on the floor clutching his Stradivarius to his chest. He had been stabbed in the back, probably while practicing with the violin. Local authorities figured the second wife had something to do with the stabbing, or perhaps Leclair's nephew, but there were few clues and no charges were ever brought.

  As I said, the Three Rivers connection is a stretch. Here it is: Of the four Stradivarius violins from 1721 known to have survived to this day, two are famous for having strange red colorations — Leclair's (which by the way bears a dark stain where his hand lay across it) and the famous Red Mendelssohn violin that was the subject of the 1998 movie starring Samuel Jackson. The Red Mendelssohn is currently owned by violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn who teaches under Robert Lipsett and alongside our own Danielle Belen at the Colburn School of Music.

  The Jean-Marie Leclair violin, as it is now known because of the stain, is on loan to Guido Rimonda, Italian violinist and conductor. Rimonda has repeatedly complained that he is not haunted by Leclair's ghost.




Ballymaloe Cookery School


Part Seven: Conclusion


This is the final installment in a continuing series about the author's two-week visit this past summer to the renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School in rural County Cork , Ireland . Previous installments may be read on this website at Newspaper Archives, September 3, 10, 17, 24, October 1, and 8, 2010. Information about the school and its classes may be found at www.cookingisfun.ie.

* * *

  Ballymaloe House is a different place altogether from the school. The house was originally the home of Myrtle and Ivan Allen, which they purchased in 1948. They had six children who were raised there.

Myrtle later opened the house up for guests traveling from around the world.

  When I was invited to have dinner with the Allen family, I knew I was in for a stupendous experience. This was where my parents often came for their holidays, and it was the last place they visited in Europe before their passings.

  Dinner was at eight, but I arrived early to enjoy a walk around the grounds. When I entered the home, it felt like something out of a Jane Austen novel.

  Classic and timeless, the furnishings were simply beautiful. High ceilings, portraits gracing the walls with remarkable stature, chairs and couches dressed in Old English fabrics, and floors that creaked with sounds of the past. This home is a landmark, and I was excited to learn its history.

  I sat down in the living area and marveled at the activity. Seating areas filled with guests from the house, I wondered where they were from and who they were.

  A young woman dressed in serving attire asked me if I'd care for a drink. I preferred a nonalcoholic drink, so she offered me elderflower water, which I knew was a delightfully delicious drink that's often served at the school.

  She brought me a tall, thin, frosted glass filled with sparkling elderflower water with a slice of lemon on the top edge and a linen coaster underneath. Absolute elegance!

  Tim Allen, Darina's (Ballymaloe Cookery owner) husband arrived and greeted me. I followed him into the family dining room, passing the other dining areas in the home.

  Each room was stylish and classic with just as much beauty as the first room in which I sat. A waiter approached to seat me. I love fine dining!

  In came the other family members, one by one filling up the very long and grand table. It reminded me of the dinner table I had grown up around. I now understand why my mother loved this place.

  Buffet-style is the way Sunday evening dinners are served at the house. Off we went to fill our plates.

  What a feast. There were so many appealing dishes that it was hard to decide. I figured I'd go for seconds if I had too.

  Our meal was enjoyable as much for the cuisine as the company. We got acquainted, talked, and ate, and the time passed all too soon.

  I am blessed to have been in a place as beautiful and fulfilling as Ballymaloe House, which holds a place in history as where the Slow Food Movement of Ireland got its start.

  In the beginning, Myrtle Allen wasn't a cook, but she had a vision and a will to bring her family the freshest foods with the abundance that was provided to her.

  My hope in bringing the experiences of Ballymaloe Cookery School over the past seven weeks was to share some wonderful recipes and stories to support and encourage slow-food cooking.

  Bon Appetit!



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