In the News - Friday,
October 23, 2009
stories written by John or
Elliott unless otherwise noted
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
return of the golden eagles to Kaweah Country was
cause for celebration Sunday morning, Oct. 11, when
they put on a great air show at the east end of Lake
Kaweah. A mated pair has regularly come home to this
location in recent years and had been back in the
area for just a few days.
Celebration turned to tragedy that very
afternoon when motorists Chris Heater and Kim Davis
discovered one of the eagles on Highway 198 west of
Horse Creek Bridge. A probable collision with a motor
vehicle had injured the animal, which sat helpless
at the side of the road.
Its mate stood by the stricken bird until
Chris and Kim approached, then flew up and settled
in a tree to watch the story unfold. Chris is an experienced
bird handler, having served as a rescue volunteer
with the Wildlife Foundation in Marin County. They
gathered the eagle in a blanket, covered its head,
and delivered it to the Kaweah Heritage Visitor Center
at Lemon Hill.
Volunteer hosts Pat and Robert Christensen
notified USACE Ranger Michelle Hart, who contacted
the California Department of Fish and Game. DFG recommended
that she contact Critter Creek Wildlife Station, a
nonprofit rehabilitation center for wildlife located
in Squaw Valley near Kings Canyon National Park.
Bruce and Michelle Lowe, Critter Creek
volunteers from Exeter, promptly arrived at the visitor
center to take control of the situation. The Lowes
conducted an examination and discovered injuries to
one wing and paralysis in both legs. Having made sure
that the bird could travel, they drove to meet Louise
Culver to transfer their charge.
Louise is the director of Critter Creek and holds
the permits required to administer care to raptors.
After observing the bird overnight, she delivered
it to Dr. Ken Stocks, a Fresno veterinarian specializing
in wildlife care.
Dr. Stocks determined that the bird was
a male about 10 years of age, a golden eagle in the
prime of his life. But x-rays proved beyond a doubt
that the majestic bird had suffered a broken back
and had to be put down — a sad but merciful
Golden eagles are magnificent creatures.
Their diet consists of a wide variety of land and
aquatic animals, and given the right opportunity —
carrion. As a result, they may be attracted to roadways
for an easy meal.
Like many birds, they are monogamous
and mate for many years — even for life. So
when tragedy strikes, both birds of the pair suffer.
As cooler weather approaches, wildlife encounters
become more frequent. We all need to be especially
careful on the highways and roads of the foothills.
Driving animal-aware can prevent the kind of incident
that can turn a celebration of our natural world into
grief for critter and human alike.
Generally, injured animals or birds should
never be moved except by experienced wildlife handlers.
Report injuries or any incidents to rangers, DFG (559-243-4005),
or Critter Creek (www.crittercreek.org).
Article by Larry Butler,
volunteer host at the Kaweah Heritage Visitor Center
at Lake Kaweah.
unveils new 3R website
the Sequoia-Foothills Chamber of Commerce mixer Wednesday
evening, Oct. 21, in Harrison Hall at the Community
Presbyterian Church board members unveiled the new
website. Tony Moreno, president of the local chamber,
said the website will “go live” Monday
Featured prominently on the home page
is the chamber’s theme, “Discover, Explore,
Enjoy.” Vice-president Arlin Talley said the
aim is to “get people to come to and stay in
Streaming photos at the top of the page
showcase the foothills and draw viewers to information
and local businesses who advertise with banner ads
on the site, Talley said.
Tony Moreno, who along with local programmer
Peter Sodhy, worked to make the site easy to navigate
while incorporating members’ ideas on how to
improve on the old website, created in 2002.
site will help visitors find Three Rivers and is a
valuable local resource as well,” said Moreno.
“For example, the public-access ‘Calendar’
page is meant to fulfill our mission to serve the
community and prevent conflicting events on the same
Moreno said details of any local event
can be sent to Catherine Launey, SFCC secretary. She
will update the online calendar and keep the bulletin
board current at the Village Shopping Center.
Website benefits to businesses, tourists,
and residents include a “Members” page
with listings by category and links to a business’s
A map page was created by Mark Tilchen
showing the relation of the national parks with the
site will expand as we help our community grow,”
said Moreno. “The Chamber requests businesses
and residents review, comment, and contribute to this
work in progress."
Incredible as it may seem, three hikers
were rescued Thursday, Oct. 15, in Kings Canyon National
Park only several hundred yards from the main road
in Cedar Grove and their parked vehicle. All that
stood between the men getting back safely was a treacherous
rock ledge next to a swift, rain-swelled river.
Even when the South Fork of the mighty Kings River
is at it lowest flow, it’s still called Roaring
River for a reason. It’s a tumbling cascade
of waterfalls that is almost deafening for visitors
who venture along its banks no matter what the season.
Add to the Roaring River scenario a rainstorm that
added another eight to 10 inches of precipitation
in less than 24 hours. Imagine the runoff and then
picture this trio of hikers ledged out above all that
high water where one misstep in any direction could
mean certain death.
“These guys did everything right by staying
together and waiting for somebody to spot their location,”
said Adrienne Freeman, public affairs specialist for
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “After
short-hauling the men off the ledge, they were reunited
with family members at Ash Mountain.”
The trio from Southern California, brothers Jacob
and Jordan Zeman and friend Lanier Rogers, began their
ambitious itinerary on Thursday, Oct. 8. Midway through
the hike after scaling Colby Pass, the men decided
to turn back and plotted a cross-country route via
the Roaring River drainage.
When the sudden storm began in the area on Tuesday,
it filled the steep canyon they were descending with
tons of water, flowing in places that could have conceivably
been available for the trek out. With limited options,
the men hunkered down and set up camp to wait for
the storm and high water to recede.
In addition to the weather that hampered searchers
until Thursday, the fact that no permit itinerary
was filed with park rangers means it took even more
time to narrow the scope of the search. At least three
family members hiked out of Cedar Grove on Wednesday
to look for the lost backpackers. This was the party
that was sighted and became the source of a TV newscast
that erroneously reported that the lost backpackers
had been found.
“Hikers need to be more responsible at this
time of year, especially when the ranger stations
are closing and there are fewer rangers on duty,”
Two helicopters and more than 50 searchers were in
the field when the men were finally located and rescued.
indicted in park pot case
brothers were arrested Tuesday, Oct. 6, and indicted
last week by a federal grand jury for growing 3,500
pot plants near Dorst Campground in Sequoia National
Park. Osvaldo Arias-Diaz, Jose Arias-Diaz, and German
Arias-Diaz were charged with one count each of conspiracy
to grow marijuana.
A search of the brothers’ Stockton
residence was conducted when the trio was arrested.
Other evidence linking the men to the pot plantation
was recovered from a clandestine camp in a densely
forested area near the campground.
The case is being investigated jointly
by the National Park Service and the High Density
Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.
has it all in Kaweah Country
As summer around here can at
times be too hot for humans, residents tend to hibernate
till the cooler days (and nights) of autumn. Then
all begin to venture away from the cooler vents and
waterways to their phones, email, and calendars to
begin planning for their fall days filled with events
Here is just some of what’s happening:
Cherokee Oaks candy drive—
Donations are ongoing to assist Cherokee Oaks residents
with their annual hosting of the community’s
trick-or-treaters. Unopened bags of candy may be dropped
off at the Bank of the Sierra during business hours
from now until Friday, Oct. 30. The candy will be
distributed to homes throughout the neighborhood.
TRUS Halloween Carnival—
The Eagle Booster Club of Three Rivers School will
host the annual Halloween Carnival, which takes place
tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 24) from 4 to 8 pm. As it
has for several decades, the event kicks off with
a costume parade for students and the crowning of
two eighth-graders as king and queen, then to a backdrop
of live entertainment by local talent, the kids hit
the game booths, the adults head to the Pick-A-Prize
and raffle tables, and the entire family meets up
later for a homemade dinner in the gym.
As always, admission and parking are
free. Tickets are purchased for the games, raffle,
and Pick-A-Prize; cash and checks are accepted at
the dinner, hosted by the eighth-graders and their
Al Stoppel Day—
Named in honor of a former Three Rivers resident for
his efforts on initiating an annual community cleanup
day, this year’s event will take place Saturday,
Oct. 31, from 7 a.m. till noon, beginning at Community
Presbyterian Church. Volunteer signups are currently
ongoing in an effort to ensure that every area of
the community receives attention.
Trash bags, safety vests, and hats will
be provided as will trash disposal. Residents are
also asked to clean up roadways in the vicinity of
their homes and property.
A complimentary pancake breakfast will
be available to all volunteers.
For information or to sign up to assist,
call 561-4154 or 561-4816.
Handweavers of the Valley show
and sale— For 30 years, this guild
has organized an event to show the wares of members
who participate in the age-old craft of handweaving.
This year’s Harvest of Handwovens will be held
Saturday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Exeter
More than two dozen local weavers will
have their creations on display, which include hand
towels, baby blankets, placemats, clothing, throws,
rugs, and more. There will also be holiday gift ideas
as well as plenty of items in holiday colors to decorate
the home and table.
For those inspired by this unique craft,
there will be hands-on demonstrations throughout the
day of spinning and weaving, so give a loom a try!
annual Career Day:
this difficult economy, there is no greater challenge
for today’s graduating seniors than to find
a career and a good-paying job. That’s why the
annual Career Day is so important as part of the high
school experience at Woodlake.
Since it was started in the mid-1980s,
Woodlake High School’s showcase event has become
bigger and better each year. Carmita Pena, WHS head
counselor and Career Day coordinator, said this year’s
crew of more than 200 students and community volunteers
ensured that everything ran smoothly.
The 2009 Career Day was held on Friday,
Oct. 16, and featured programs, demonstrations, and
a full day of activities to engage Woodlake’s
entire student body of more than 700 students. There
were 144 presenters from law enforcement, military,
media, public service, and private industry representing
almost every imaginable career.
There is also a college and job fair
that runs concurrently in the old gymnasium where
students explore an array of options of what to do
after graduation. College and technical school recruiters
vie with military personnel for the attention of students
who circulate around the room between presentation
The students seem to really like the
opportunity to see what’s out there in the grownup
world and take a break from the fall academic routine.
Some students, who now have returned as presenters,
look back upon Career Day as the time when they first
got the idea to attend a particular college or think
about a certain job that they are now doing.
This year’s keynote speaker was
Rosie Reynoso Cofre, who graduated from Woodlake in
1986. As a senior she was voted Most Likely to Succeed
and Best Personality. Her classmates had her pegged
correctly as today she is a Global Programs Manager
for Cisco Systems.
Rosie gave an inspirational speech, pointing
out that after San Jose State and a graduate degree
from Golden Gate University she now has a successful
career and can work mostly from her home office as
she cares for her three children under age 4.
can do it too,” Rosie told the Woodlake students.
“Set your goals high, work hard, and always
follow your dreams.”
TO MY FOOD COLUMN
all scream for ice cream
Tina St. John
there anyone out there who doesn’t like ice
cream? It’s an all-around treat. It can be eaten
morning, noon, or night and anytime of the year, in
There is such an array of ice creams
that it’s mind-boggling. For me, the best ice
cream is homemade.
My dad once told me, all you need to
make ice cream is ice and cream. That’s why
they call it ice cream.
Then he would add that it was a little
more complicated than that. You need sugar, eggs,
and flavoring too.
I still didn’t think it sounded
that complicated until he described churning the ice
and cream in an ice-cream maker by hand for hours
until the cream was as thick as, well, ice cream.
He also told me it was a “happy
food.” I agreed with him on that.
He said it was impossible to feel sad
when you ate ice cream. I agreed with that as well.
So why didn’t we eat it for breakfast, lunch,
and dinner everyday?
Every Fourth of July he would make ice
cream. He’d start early in the morning to churn
out several batches for everyone.
It was the best ice cream in the world.
He’d mix milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and eggs
in a stainless-steel container that slipped into a
wooden crate big enough to hold crushed ice around
He then would churn it while pouring
rock salt to melt the ice. The process was designed
to turn the cream mixture into ice cream.
All day, it seemed as if we kids could
only think about ice cream. It wasn’t like we
were bored waiting for our beloved bowl of ice cream.
It’s just that it was so good that our minds
were definitely contemplating its debut.
While we waited patiently, he planned
penny dives and shirt races. We had a swimming pool
in our backyard, and several families in the neighborhood
played these games.
For the penny dive, we all stood along
the edge of the pool with our backs to the water.
He would throw pennies everywhere, and we could hear
them hit the water, piercing the surface like arrows
whizzing by. Then he would give us the “go”
signal and in we would jump, swimming frantically
to gather as many as we could. Whoever gathered the
most pennies got the biggest bowl of ice cream.
After the penny dive was the shirt race.
Two teams formed on either end of the pool. Wearing
a T-shirt, each team would swim to the other side,
get out, and holding their forearms together, we would
slip the wet tee onto the next racer. This undoubtedly
would make us laugh so hard the race became almost
useless. But whoever was the winning team got bigger
bowls of ice cream. I think that was just my dad’s
way of getting us excited for the games because, in
fact, we all ended up with generous helpings.
Ice cream was not just a Fourth of July
tradition in our family. Ice cream was almost a staple.
My mother used to make “yule logs”
for Christmas dinner. They were sometimes made with
ice cream wrapped delicately in a thin light cake
covered with chocolate whipped cream and decorated
like a Yule log.
Ice cream also serves as a comfort food.
How about two peanut butter cookies with ice cream
in between to make your own ice-cream sandwich?
Or try putting ice cream in a glass and
pour just a bit of milk in there and stir it around.
The crystals that form with the consistency of the
creaminess are something else.
I’ve never met a person who doesn’t
like ice cream. Never!
When I was older and living on my own,
my dad called me one afternoon to invite me over for
ice cream. He had made some vanilla custard ice cream
and had picked fresh raspberries from the garden that
were still warm from the sun. He told me that I had
to come right away. I was curious as to why the hurry.
mother will be back soon and if she sees me eating
this she’ll get upset,” he confided.
Being that my father was getting older,
I suppose my mother somehow felt she had to monitor
my dad’s ice cream indulgences. Good luck,
Mom! The whole scenario had reminded me of my deviant
teenage years but it was my dad this time.
I didn’t really understand fully
how much my father loved ice cream until his last
days with us. Knowing that he didn’t have much
time left, all us nine kids came to be with him at
He had stocked the freezer with ice cream
because, as he told my sister, he did not want any
of us to go without. We didn’t know how long
it would be until he passed, but for a week he laid
in a coma in his bed.
Every day, his dear friend and colleague
Dr. Freeman would come to the house with a sundae
from the Dairy Queen to feed to my father. This was
the one time of the day that my dad would smile and
open his mouth for a bite.
Even though he was in a coma he somehow
knew ice cream was beckoning. It was truly amazing
to us all.
The day my dad actually did die, he had
taken a bite of the sundae that Dr. Freeman
brought for him exactly one hour before. I’m
pretty sure there was a huge sundae waiting for him
Below is my dad’s simple ice cream
recipe. I’ve also enclosed my own healthy version
of frozen yogurt.
Tina St. John writes
from her Three Rivers studio.
Vanilla Custard Ice Cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2-3 teaspoons of vanilla
In a medium saucepan combine sugar, milk and eggs.
Stir slowly over low-medium heat until mixture coats
a metal spoon. Stir constantly and cool. When ready
to freeze, add cream and vanilla. Pour into ice cream
maker and freeze.
Healthy Frozen Yogurt
1 quart vanilla yogurt or plain yogurt (use ¼
cup of honey to sweeten plain yogurt)
Fresh fruit of any kind or juice from 2 oranges
Mix together and pour mixture into ice cream maker.
Recipe from Tina St. John’s “Welcome to
My Food Column,” published October 23, 2009,
in The Kaweah Commonwealth.