this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
Imagine this scary scenario.
Your family takes a dream vacation to
America, traveling halfway around the
world, and after arriving in Three Rivers,
check into the Western Holiday Lodge.
At 2 a.m., your party of
four is soundly sleeping and then crash!
There’s a loud thud against the
door, and the next thing you know everything
is blurry as you reel from a blow to the
That’s what happened
to Janne Kaartokallio in the early morning
hours of Wednesday, Oct. 15, in room 51
at the local lodge located at 40105 Sierra
Drive. Kaartokallio was in Three Rivers
with his family specifically to visit
Sequoia National Park.
After being struck by what
appeared to be pipe or similar metal object,
he told a Sheriff’s deputy that
the assailant fled on foot. That’s
when, Kaartokallio, a 39-year-old Finnish
national, called 911 for help.
Hotel phone records revealed
that the emergency call was made at 2:12
a.m. A Sheriff’s deputy arrived
on scene just after 3 a.m. to take the
The deputy’s report
stated that in addition to the occupied
room, five other room doors were kicked
in, but nothing was stolen from the tourists
or any of the hotel rooms. Several guests
reported hearing some commotion in the
property’s east wing but did not
investigate after the noise stopped.
An employee of the lodge,
Nesi Mesman, said there were some conspicuous
circumstances about the wanton vandalism.
The perpetrator may have been surprised
when he tried kicking in the door of Room
51 and, after striking Kaartokallio, he
left the scene in a hurry.
“The guy who did this knew exactly
what he was doing,” Nesi said. “He
kicked in the door of rooms that are usually
not occupied because they are in an area
where there is less light and more remote
than the rest of the rooms on the property.”
Nesi, who works as a desk
clerk, said that the vandalism might have
been aimed at the owners of the property
by a former disgruntled employee.
According to Aysha Hossain,
who with her husband, Jay Hossain, has
operated the lodging property for the
past three years, the victim did furnish
the deputy with a description of his attacker.
But Mrs. Hossain said the deputy didn’t
reveal to the owners the description of
the suspect nor did they ask if they had
any trouble recently with an employee.
The official word from headquarters:
“This case is currently under investigation
by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.”
The damage to the six rooms
was estimated at $400. Anyone with a possible
lead or information in the case is asked
to call the Sheriff’s Department
Cash stolen from
Deputy Jim Fansett said when
he was summoned on Monday, Oct. 13, to
investigate thefts at two stores located
in the Village shopping complex, there
wasn’t much in the way of physical
evidence. What he did have was a report
of missing cash from the drawers of each
of the businesses; Three Rivers Drug reported
$300 missing while The Thingerie noticed
that $50 had been removed from its till.
There were no signs of forced
entry, and it appeared that the thief
had used a key to the drugstore to get
in and knew right where to look for a
spare key to The Thingerie. Deputy Fansett
said he dusted for prints but that the
ones he was looking for might have been
compromised when employees opened Monday
The drug store alarm was
disabled, but no drugs were stolen. Some
of the more valuable items like jewelry
displayed at The Thingerie thrift shop
were also untouched.
The cash thefts occurred
sometime during the weekend after The
Thingerie closed Saturday. Deputy Fansett
said he would appreciate some help in
the case if anyone noticed something suspicious
in the area during last weekend. Anybody
with crime-related information is asked
to call the Sheriff’s dispatch,
day or night, at 733-6211.
Lost hunter found
after two nights
Last weekend was the first
cold snap of the season. Definitely not
the best time to get lost in the Sierra.
But that’s what happened
to Salvador Sanchez, 27, of Orosi when
he became separated from his three-person
party Saturday afternoon.
Sanchez was last seen about 5 p.m. Saturday
near the trailhead to Deer Meadow as he
and another man scouted hunting locations.
He was reported missing at about 10:30
This locale is at 8,200 feet
and toward the end of the Big Meadows
Road in Giant Sequoia National Monument.
The temperature dropped to about 15 degrees
Although the disappearance
was reported to the Tulare County Sheriff’s
Department, the search area was determined
to be in Fresno County. Deputies searched
the area Sunday and by Monday, there were
40 searchers in the area.
By Monday afternoon, Sanchez
reportedly found the ranger station in
Cedar Grove. That most likely means he
discovered either the Don Cecil or Agnew
Grove trails, which descend 3,500 feet
in elevation into the Cedar Grove area
of Kings Canyon National Park.
Sanchez was reported to be cold and tired,
but was otherwise in good health.
Music fest to score
a big hit
The talented music lineup,
catered dinner, an advance ticket sale
approaching 500, and an outstanding venue
has Glenn McIntyre thinking that this
time he’s really got something for
everyone. That’s been his goal along,
he said, to present a crowd-pleaser of
a fall event that’s a great night
But Glenn admits there have
been some ups and downs in the last decade
while the Three Rivers Lions Club has
searched to find just the right event
for just the right October night.
In the 1990s, one Lions club
member and then another tried interpretations
of Oktoberfest. The oompah-pah music was
fun for some but all the parties suffered
from too much fun for adults, but only
limited appeal for families with kids.
That’s when Lion Glenn
McIntyre, owner and operator of the Gateway
Restaurant and Lodge, came on the scene
six years ago. He was convinced that an
October event with good music, good food,
and good company could succeed.
McIntyre called his event
the All Town Dinner Dance, and for several
years running, the latest Lions October
party was successful.
“Some folks who attended those All
Town Dinner Dances told me they hadn’t
danced or enjoyed a night out like that
in years,” Glenn said. “For
a number of locals it was their favorite
night of the year.”
That’s really saying
something considering that Three Rivers
has a long tradition of some really big
celebrations that includes more than 50
years of Team Roping, 35 Jazzaffairs,
and some incomparable Redbud Festivals
staged at Ard Farkles three decades ago
that some Three Rivers folks remember
fondly to this day.
For whatever reason, though,
some of the luster of the All Town Dinner
Dance was lost so Glenn decided to take
this October event up a notch. It’s
been a lot of work, he said, but he’s
really excited about the new and improved
Fall Music Festival and Dinner Dance.
“This Saturday’s festival
is an evolution of everything that worked
so well at the All Town Dinner Dance,”
said Glenn. “But we [the Lions]
also wanted to broaden the appeal to include
visitors and folks down the hill who might
enjoy a night out in Three Rivers.”
As the word gets out about
the great venue in Three Rivers, Glenn
said, he expects a growing legion of out-of-area
visitors to come annually just to enjoy
the music festival. He has hopes that
the fall festival will eventually attract
numbers like the more than 1,000 fans
that come in April for Jazzaffair.
Like Jazzaffair, there’s
some traditional jazz with a western flavor,
but this festival is also about rock,
rhythm and blues, and some soulful music
featuring the classic tunes that still
get the Baby Boomers, and now their kids,
up and out on the dance floor. For a higher
energy change of pace, Wadaba’s
serious African drum jam will give the
audience a taste of authentic roots music.
The musical extravaganza
concludes with an all-star jam (9 to 11
p.m.) when the best players and some special
guests will back headliner J.J. Jackson
to put a memorable exclamation point on
this October fest.
One of those special guests
is Rosemarie Leong, direct from Las Vegas.
Leong formerly sang backup with Motley
Crue, and to hear Glenn tell it, her show
alone is worth the price of a ticket.
The first significant cold
front of the season had temperatures plunging
into the teens at night in the Mineral
King area of Sequoia National Park and
even dropped some flakes of snow.
Live music at Fall
Everybody young and old looks
forward to the annual Carnival at Three
Rivers School. Planned this year for Saturday,
Oct. 25, from 4 to 8 p.m., the Carnival
offers something for everyone at very
affordable prices, and it’s all
for a good cause as 100 percent of the
proceeds are donated to Three Rivers School.
Raffle prizes so far include
an iPod Touch (donated by Citrus Industries),
a $150 shopping spree at Visalia Mall,
a cordless saw and drill set (donated
by Speedy Gonzalez Construction), Disneyland
tickets, Dodgers tickets, Kaweah Marina
boat rental, and more.
The music lineup includes:
In the gym—
5-5:30 pm– TRU Harmony
5:30-6:30 pm– Mankin Creek
6:30-7:30 pm– John Castleman
the upper field—
5-6 pm– Circus of Insanity
6-7 pm– Kaweah Drum Circle
7-8 pm– Steamhammer
The Carnival is a community
affair, so here’s how you can help:
—Large cardboard boxes are needed.
Drop off at TRUS or call for pick-up.
—Homemade baked goods needed. Drop
off at the Sweet Shoppe on the upper field
between 3 and 4 p.m. on Carnival day.
—Cakes needed. Drop off on Carnival
day at the Cake Walk (tennis courts) between
3 and 4 p.m. on the upper field.
—Donations of raffle and Pick-a-Prize
items gratefully accepted.
preservation and politics
Charles Kuralt said, “America
is a great story, and there is a river
on every page of it.” Three Rivers
residents hear, see, and experience rivers
everyday, have a fascination with flowing
water, and understand the wild, scenic,
and recreational values of these unique
The Wild and Scenic Rivers
Act celebrates its 40th anniversary this
month. The legislation, championed by
Senator Frank Church and signed into law
by President Lyndon Johnson on Oct. 2,
1968, protects the free-flowing waters
of many of our nation’s most spectacular
Today, the National Wild
and Scenic Rivers System protects 11,409
miles of 168 rivers in 38 states and Puerto
Rico. Sounds impressive, but in reality
this is just slightly more than one quarter
of one percent of the nation’s rivers.
In comparison, more than 60,000 dams have
modified 600,000 miles, or about 17 percent,
of the nation’s rivers.
In 1987, this region benefited
greatly from the Wild and Scenic Rivers
Act when 81 miles of the Kings River and
151 miles of the Kern River were determined
to “possess outstandingly remarkable
scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and
wildlife, historic, cultural or other
similar values and became designated rivers.
Both rivers flow through Sequoia and Kings
Canyon National Parks and Sequoia National
The Act is notable for safeguarding
the special character of these rivers,
while also recognizing the potential for
appropriate use and development. These
living landscapes are uniquely managed
to protect the public’s enjoyment
of these heritage resources for present
and future generations.
The Act purposefully strives
to balance river development with permanent
protection for the country’s most
outstanding free-flowing rivers. The Act
—Prohibits dams and other federally-assisted
water resources projects that would adversely
affect river values;
—Protects outstanding natural, cultural,
or recreational values;
—Ensures water quality is maintained;
—Requires the creation of a comprehensive
river management plan that addresses resource
protection, development of lands and facilities,
user capacities, and other management
practices necessary to achieve purposes
of the Act.
Currently, there are 16 bills
involving more than 100 rivers before
Congress. It’s not an easy path
to preservation, however, as only three
rivers have been added in the past several
Oregon leads the nation with
48 designated rivers; 40 of those being
added in 1988, the largest addition to
date. Alaska boasts 3,210 miles of protected
So grab a fly rod, load the
kayak on the car, or just head down to
river’s edge and perch on a rock
to savor the beauty of a national treasure.
New law directs
to post caloric content
With a stroke of a pen, California
became the first state in the nation to
have its restaurant chains with 20 or
more locations statewide to post calorie
information on menus. Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger signed the legislation,
introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima),
on Tuesday, Sept. 30.
“This legislation will help Californians
make more informed, healthier choices
by making calorie information easily accessible
at thousands of restaurants throughout
our state,” Gov. Schwarzenegger
said. “By being the first state
to provide this information to consumers,
California is continuing to lead the nation
with programs and policies that promote
health and nutrition.”
The new law will go into
effect Jan. 1, 2011, when all menus of
the restaurant chains will be required
to include the information. But by July
1, 2009, brochures containing either calorie
content or other nutritional information
– such as amount of saturated fat,
carbohydrates, or sodium – will
be at the point of sale and drive-thru
windows for consumers to obtain.
The only Three Rivers restaurant
to be effected by this law is Pizza Factory.
The legislation preempts
local ordinances in order to create a
uniform statewide standard for displaying
nutritional information instead of a patchwork
of local ordinances, although nothing
in the bill would prevent a restaurant
from providing additional information
if they choose.
The Governor also signed
legislation introduced by Tom Torlakson
(D-Antioch), which requires vending machines
on state property to contain at least
35 percent of the food and at least one-third
of the beverages that meet accepted nutritional
guidelines by Jan. 1, 2011.
According to the California
Department of Public Health, Californians
have gained a total of 360 million pounds
over the last decade. One in three children
and one in four teens are overweight or
Second only to tobacco, obesity
is a leading cause of preventable death
among Californians. Since we can’t
seem to control our eating and aren’t
able to motivate ourselves to exercise,
the government has to do it for us for
two reasons: to protect us from ourselves
and to save the state $28.5 billion in
healthcare costs, lost productivity, and
well known for his fitness and nutrition
principles, has put in place some of the
nation’s most innovative and successful
strategies to promote health and nutrition.
He has been specifically
devoted to the state’s youth, removing
junk food and sodas from schools and implementing
physical education standards.
of raw milk
The Three Rivers chapter
of the Weston A. Price Foundation will
host a presentation on the health benefits
of raw milk and raw-milk products. The
featured speaker will be Mark McAfee,
owner of Organic Pastures Dairy Company,
which is located near Fresno and, in 2000,
became California’s first raw milk
dairy with certified organic pastureland.
The presentation will be
held Saturday, Nov. 15, at 3:30 p.m.,
at the Mosley barn, located six miles
up the South Fork. On hand will be samples
of raw milk and information about this
important nutrient-dense food.
There will be a potluck immediately
following the presentation for those interested
in sharing a meal.
Advance registration: 561-3637
The fifth class of student
trainers from the Assistance Service Dog
Educational Center, a Woodlake High School
program, is now in session. The students
and their puppies have been matched according
to personalities, and they now embark
on two years of intensive training to
prepare their dogs to assist people with
special needs to lead more independent