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In the News - Friday, October 19, 2012




Three Rivers receives

first rain since April

Long-range forecast says conditions ripe for El Nino

  The recent rain that passed through the area on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 11 and 12, dropped .48 inches of precipitation at Lake Kaweah. The rain had little effect on the dwindling pool, currently at 11,909 acre feet.
   Three Rivers received .59 inches (Oct. 11-12) after 160 days without a significant rain. The last significant rainfall (1.14 inches) occurred April 25-26, 2012; one month later it rained .06 for a season total of 16.41 (July 1 to June 30).
   Snow fell at elevations above 7,500 feet. It has since mostly melted but intensified the fall colors in the high country.
   Weather prognosticators are only certain about one thing. The average global temperature is gradually increasing and for many areas that will mean some volatile weather in the short term and a changing climate over time.
   Consider these snippets from the National Weather Service. The globally averaged temperature for September 2012 tied with 2005 as the warmest September since record keeping began in 1880. The most recent September also marks the 36th consecutive September and the 331st consecutive month with a global temperature average that exceeded the 20th century average.
   Those places on the planet (and it was mostly everywhere) that experienced the most dramatic higher-than-average monthly temperatures were central Russia. Japan, western Australia, northern Argentina, Paraguay, western Canada, and southern Greenland. Curiously, far eastern Russia, western Alaska, southern Africa, parts of the upper Midwest and southeast U.S., and much of China were quite a bit below average.
   In the Arctic, the extent of sea ice averaged 1.39 million square miles, the all-time lowest extent on record. More than 4.57 million square miles of ice was lost in 2012 – that’s the size of the entire U.S. and Mexico combined.
   On the opposite end of the planet, Antarctic sea ice reached its all-time daily extent on record on September 26. The globally averaged ocean temperature tied with 1997 as the second highest for September behind 2003 at 0.99 degrees above the long-term average.
   The higher global temperatures coupled with warmer water in the equatorial Pacific usually mean an El Nino. The year 1998 was a strong El Nino and in early 2013 most climate models are predicting a strengthening of one that is already characterized as a “weak El Nino.”
   In Kaweah Country, El Nino is expected to translate to a wetter than average season with plenty of precipitation.
   A typical forecast might read “extended periods of rain, heavy at times” with two to three feet of snow falling during a single storm event.

Joe the Drummer cited,

scheduled to appear in court

By Holly Gallo

  For the past five years, it was not uncommon to see the flashing lights and hear the thundering sound of Joe Parisi and his traveling trailer percussion kit. When Joe played — solely in the name of the two things he loves most: music and nature — his mobile stage was frequented by kids and their parents, tourists from local hotels, and curious passersby.
   When he first arrived in Three Rivers during the summer of 2007, Joe was like a kid in a candy store. Here amidst the gorgeous Kaweah canyon scenery, he could play his drums outdoors for everybody or nobody — the playing of his novel drum setup is admittedly good therapy and his raison d’etre.
   A few weeks ago, after concluding a jam session at 10 p.m. near the Three Rivers Post Office, Joe was packing up when he received a visit from a Tulare County Sheriff’s deputy. The deputy aimed his spotlight on the drummer and informed him that there had been a complaint.
  “In the all the time that I’ve lived here, I’ve had a few complaints,” Joe said. “But usually I just give the people my phone number and ask, ‘What day works for you?’ or ‘Tell me what time you need me to stop playing’ or ‘If you don’t want me to play at all, I’ll find somewhere else to go.’”
   Joe says his rapport with the local deputy and everybody in town has always been good.
  “I never had a serious complaint,” Joe said.
   That was until three weeks ago.
  “I always quit playing at 10 p.m.,” Joe said. “When the time changes and it gets dark earlier, I’ll quit at 9 or even 8. It was never my intention to disturb anybody.”
   Joe has talked to Jim Fansett, Three Rivers resident deputy, about his options.
  “I told Jim to talk to the guy who filed the complaint,” Joe said, “to ask him if I could work it out with him. I can play softer, or at a different time. The guy can call me if it’s not working out.”
   Last Friday night, two weeks after the initial complaint, Joe received a citation after the Sheriff Department’s dispatcher fielded another complaint about his drum playing. He is scheduled for a court appearance on the morning of October 31.
   Joe said that he was “really upset, really bummed out. The guy wants nothing to do with compromise. He wants me gone.”
   Since receiving the ticket, Joe hasn’t played his drums. He’s attempted to circulate a petition but wonders what, if any, effect that would have on the judge.
   Joe said he has also inquired of the county clerk’s office about what’s involved in getting a permit to continue playing. When Joe realized he needed the property owners’ permission where he was playing, he encountered resistance and red tape.
  “I had the verbal okay, but when I tried to make it official, I lost it,” Joe said. “It was too much responsibility and liability.”
   The situation that Joe is in is a delicate one. There is no county noise ordinance, and each situation is handled case-by-case. For now Joe’s fate, ironically to be determined on Halloween, is in the hands of the judge.

3R teen travels worldwide for rapid education

by Holly Gallo

  Chasen Hauber would have spent the last six weeks like any other junior at Woodlake High School, but his educational career took a rapid turn for the unconventional when he was accepted into the World Class Kayaking Academy, based in Trout Lake, Wash.
   Hauber’s typical day now consists of an early 6 a.m. workout, three two-hour long classes, followed by “On Water Training.” For the last month-and-a-half, Hauber’s kayaking and class work took place on the rivers of Whistler, B.C. After a brief break back at home in Three Rivers, he and his new classmates departed for Nepal on this past weekend.
  “It’s a pretty amazing experience for school,” he said.
   Hauber also reflected, “Schooling is actually harder at World Class Academy” than at a public school because “you have to learn much faster, and you have a shorter amount of time to do homework and projects. But it’s a really good school, and it’s a lot of fun.”
   Chase first learned about WCA when students and staff came to Three Rivers for a brief tour in the spring of 2007. The now 16-year-old has been kayaking on the Kaweah since he was 11, and WCA seemed an appropriate group to join.
   Now a relatively seasoned WCA student, Hauber said that the best part about the experience is being able to travel and see new cultures.
  “It’s the first time I’ve traveled to another country,” he said. “Nepal is going to be a completely different experience altogether.”
  “You make friends [at WCA] that you’ll never make anywhere else,” he continued. “I’ve known them only six weeks now and I feel like I know more about them than my friends at   Woodlake because you do everything together; We cook our own meals, are responsible for our own school work… you’re dependent on the staff for traveling and organizing, but otherwise you really have to support yourself.”
   As students typically stay with WCA for only a semester or two, Hauber is already thinking about potential scholarships and funding that would support him in continuing his whitewater education in the spring. Next semester, the classes will take their students to Chile and the US West Coast.
   After he completes high school Hauber is, perhaps needless to say, considering a professional kayaking career. This will still include a college degree, as he learned that an athlete’s chances of corporate sponsorship or succeeding in the professional kayaking world are greatly increased when they have video editing and photography skills.
   WCA even offers extra classes to teach students the skills necessary to document their river ventures.
   If a degree in video editing isn’t on the horizon, Hauber’s second choice for the future is high-tension power line work.
  “I’ll be able to spend all my time outside, and I could get a lot of time off to travel,” he said.

Prescribed fires planned for parks

  While much of the West burned all summer, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Sequoia National Forest were virtually free of fire. But following the first rain of the season, park fire managers are planning two separate prescribed fires that could be ignited as soon as this weekend.
  “It was too dry and hot to burn the past two months,” said Deb Schweizer, parks’ fire education specialist. “Now with the shorter days and cooler temperatures we are looking at a couple of low-risk burns – one in Circle Meadow in the Giant Forest and one in Grant Grove near Muir Lodge.”
   Deb said the recent rains dropped .70 inches of rain in Mineral King and .50 in Giant Forest and the Grant Grove area. That moisture was a welcome relief from the tinder-dry conditions of the past two months.
  “We still need to be cautious so we’ll attempt to ignite in Giant Forest in an area that has been burned before,” Deb said. “This is the other half of a burn we started in June but never completed.”
   The 40-acre Circle Meadow unit is located near the Alta, Circle Meadow, and Washington Tree trails and will be ignited on Saturday, Oct. 20.
   The area has been the focus of several burn projects over the past 30 years.
   The goals on the planned 22-acre Lodge Prescribed Fire in Grant Grove are to provide John Muir Lodge and the front-country community more defensible space. The plan is to complete this burn in one day.
   If weather conditions permit, the Lodge fire could be ignited Sunday. This burn unit is in the vicinity of Crystal Springs Campground and Panoramic Point Road. There will be smoke in the vicinity of both burns and some trail closures.
  “We like to burn this time of year when there are fewer visitors in the parks because there will be less impact from the smoke,” Deb said.

Comment period open

for parks’ Wilderness Stewardship Plan

  If you have an opinion on topics such as campfires, food storage, pack stock and grazing, human waste, signs, trails, bridges, campsites, and such as they relate to the backcountry of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, then now is your time to voice it. The local parks management is seeking public input on the preliminary draft alternatives for a Wilderness Stewardship Plan.
   The comment period will continue through Monday, Nov. 19. Comments may be submitted at parkplanning.nps.gov, scroll projects to “Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks,” then continue to the project page for instructions. Comments may be also mailed, hand-delivered, or faxed to: Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Attn: Wilderness Stewardship Plan, 47050 Generals Highway, Three Rivers, CA 93271; (559) 565-4202 (fax).

Halloween candy drive
underway for Cherokee Oaks

  It’s an annual tradition that trick-or-treaters roam for sweets in the Cherokee Oaks neighborhood on Halloween night. It’s also a tradition that Three Rivers inhabitants who are off the hook on Halloween due to their long driveways, far-flung locations, and hidden retreats assist the Cherokee Oaks folks by donating candy.
   If you are so generously inclined to share in the spirit of the haunted season, drop off unopened bags of candy at the Three Rivers branch of Bank of the Sierra from now till Halloween (Wednesday, Oct. 31). The candy will be distributed to Cherokee Oaks residents.

Recycling more of a challenge in Three Rivers

Do you ‘bag the wet’?

  While Visalia, Porterville, Exeter, Lindsay, and other incorporated cities receive curbside recycling bins or segregated waste containers as part of their trash service, Three Rivers has a relatively unique trash disposal program.
   Three Rivers participates in what the Tulare County Solid Waste Department calls the “bag the wet” program. Residents are responsible for bagging their refuse while leaving recyclables loose in the trash container, and trash-collection services deliver the commingled waste to a materials recovery facility where the recyclable objects are sorted on-site.
   This type of program is generally more cost effective for both county resources and residents compared to other programs that provide segregated cans for trash and recycling.   However, as residents are usually less familiar or aware of “bag the wet” programs, it can be less productive than segregated services.
   Residents who are more inclined to recycle on their own time will find their closest recycling services in Woodlake, on the corner of Magnolia Street and Lakeview Avenue.
Disposal centers for household hazardous waste materials, such as electronics and appliances, batteries and household products, can be found in almost every town and city neighboring Three Rivers. For a full list of locations and acceptable materials, log onto http://www.ci.visalia.ca.us/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?blobid=3668.
   For local information about refuse collection, call Three Rivers Disposal / Waste Connections Inc. toll-free at (800) 300-6106.



THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
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