of Kaweah Country
readers' poll results --
The Best of Kaweah Country
the News - Friday, OCTOBER 29, 2004
interest will fuel voter turnout
By John Elliott
On Tuesday, Nov. 2, Kaweah Country voters, who are expected
to turn out at more than 70 percent, certainly have some tough choices
to make. That’s because on the proposition side of the ballot alone
there are four legislative constitutional amendments, 11 initiative constitutional
amendments, and one referendum, many of which are worded with pros that
sound like cons.
And if that’s not enough to confuse the average voter,
both Three Rivers and Woodlake citizens will decide if additional tax
dollars should be allocated to maintain current levels of community services.
MEASURE Z— In Three Rivers, voters are being asked
to approve Measure Z. This measure, if approved, would authorize the Three
Rivers Memorial District to levy an annual tax of $26 per parcel. The
monies would be used for ongoing operations and maintenance of the Three
Rivers Memorial Building.
Board member Bill Tidwell said in a community where its memorial building
is the only public-use facility outside of the school, residents can ill
afford not to pass Measure Z. It requires two-thirds of the votes to pass
and is endorsed by Sierra Traditional Jazz Club, the Lions Club, the Woman’s
Club, the Senior League, the Three Rivers Historical Society, and the
Three Rivers Arts Alliance.
MEASURE X— In Woodlake, voters are being asked to raise
the sales tax by a half-cent for a period of 10 years. Measure X requires
a majority to pass. It would raise the sales tax from 7.25 to 7.75 percent
and generate thousands in much needed revenue.
WOODLAKE HIGH SCHOOL BOARD— In another race that affects
both Three Rivers and Woodlake, three candidates are vying for two seats
on the Woodlake Union High School district board. Incumbents Kent Owen
(Three Rivers) and Wayne Hardcastle (Woodlake) are expected to retain
their seats over challenger Mack Lewis, a retired school administrator.
DISTRICT 1 SUPERVISOR— In the non-partisan race for
county supervisor in District 1, Frank “Bud” Pinkham of Exeter
will face Allen Ishida of Lindsay. Both of these gentlemen are willing
and able to take on the task, but who would be more responsive to the
unique needs of Three Rivers?
Pinkham appears strongest on law enforcement while Ishida
wants to put more of the local bed tax to work for Three Rivers. Pinkham
has pledged to ensure we keep our county fire protection while Ishida
has a good handle on foothills issues in the county’s management
U.S. SENATE— In the race for Barbara Boxer’s
senate seat, there are five candidates on the ballot. It’s predicted
that the local favorite, Bill Jones, the Republican challenger, will win
most of the valley’s votes, while the incumbent Democratic senator
will retain her seat with more votes statewide. But don’t be surprised
to hear again from Mr. Jones who has proven himself a capable and diligent
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE— Devin Nunes, Republican, is up
for re-election as congressman from the largely Republican 21st District.
In his first term, he opened doors in Washington, D.C., and turned some
heads by remaining true to his Valley roots. Fred Davis is his Democratic
CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY— In the race for State Assembly,
Republican Bill Maze, the incumbent, is the clear favorite over Democrat
Maggie Florez, a Visalia businesswoman. In a district that encompasses
some broad interests from the Central Valley east to Bishop, it has taken
Maze years of dedicated service to the Bureau of Land Management, as a
county supervisor and, most recently, as an assembly member just to identify
the priorities of such a far-flung population.
U.S. PRESIDENT— It is, of course, the race for the
presidency that commands the most attention in this election year and
will fuel a record turnout in many precincts, including Three Rivers.
Incumbent Republican president George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry,
the Democratic challenger, are vying for the highest office in the land.
The pollsters, like they did in 2000, are reporting that
the race is too close to call.
What’s really important in this election is that all
eligible voters exercise their right to stand up and be counted. So make
your voice heard by voting on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
The polls, which are at the local memorial buildings in Three
Rivers, Lemon Cove and Woodlake, are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
BLM meeting postponed
Last Tuesday’s stormy weather forced the last-minute
postponement of the Bureau of Land Management’s seasonal-update
meeting scheduled in Three Rivers. No immediate makeup date was announced
although plans are in the works for rescheduling.
Michael Ayers, BLM recreational planner and project manager
for the North Fork recreation sites fee demonstration project, said that
had he been able to be there, attendees would have heard some impressive
numbers relative to the first season of fee collection at Paradise, Advance,
and Cherry Falls.
In recent years, the popular North Fork recreation sites
have become partying places for gang members who fired weapons, drank
alcohol, used illegal drugs, set fires, and made it impossible for families
and other recreational users to safely access the riverside areas. BLM
planners proposed the fee program to upgrade services including more law
enforcement in the area.
The fees were collected from April through September. A total
of 8,225 people paid the fee. Ayers said approximately 15 percent of visitors
paid the $3 fee when no BLM personnel were present.
Another group of 9,375 people elected not to pay the fee
and left the area. The net result was a 35 percent drop in visitation
during the same period in 2003.
Ayers said that the pilot program resulted in less vandalism
and tagging, more family visitors, and the collection of an additional
$8,000 to help defray $54,472 expenses.
“The one big negative
was there was more trash generated at the sites even though there was
a dramatic drop in the number of visitors,” Ayers said.
The BLM is seeking input on continuing the fee demonstration
program. For more information or to ask questions, contact Michael Ayers
at the Bakersfield regional office, (661) 391-9711.
Flag football offered
Never before has the pigskin been thrown in a local recreation
program. But now, for the first time, the Three Rivers Union School’s
Recreation Committee will offer a flag football program.
The new youth league is open to all third, fourth, and fifth graders.
Registration will be held Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., in the TRUS gym.
The fee is $20 per child. Participants are required to provide
their own rubber cleats.
Practice and play will be held Tuesday evenings and Saturday
mornings throughout November.
For additional information, call Mike LeFave, Recreation
Committee board member, 561-4014.
3R to host skate demo
On Wednesday, the Woodlake High School SK8 Club announced
that it had reached agreement with school district officials and the Holiday
Inn Express in Three Rivers to host a skateboarding demonstration and
safety fair on Saturday, Nov. 13. Funds raised during the afternoon’s
activities will be used to help build a skate park facility in Woodlake.
“The kids did such
a great job with an event held last month in Woodlake that we decided
to do something similar in Three Rivers,” said Toni Lenz, a candidate
for Woodlake’s City Council.
Lenz has been dubbed “Skate Granny” for her role as liaison
with city and school district officials. Recently, the city of Woodlake
appropriated $25,000 to get the local skate park project rolling. Lenz
and the school’s SK8 Club are seeking grants from groups like the
Tony Hawk Foundation that provide support for skate parks in communities
with a need like Woodlake.
The purpose of the Three Rivers event is to give more kids
and parents the opportunity to check out one of the fastest growing sports
in America. Pro skateboarders like Tony Hawk are advocating that skateboarding
become an Olympic sport.
The Three Rivers event is being produced in cooperation with
Onshore Surf Shop of Visalia. The Onshore skateboarding team includes
Visalian Jesse Paez, one of the top skaters on the West Coast.
Joining Paez at the Three Rivers event are a team of Woodlake
High School skaters who make up the “Vircans,” the premier
skate team of the newly organized school club. The Woodlake High SK8 Club
is believed to be the first officially sanctioned skate club in a California
There will be live music by Triple Zero, food, and several
healthcare companies on-hand to distribute safety information and furnish
helmets. Those in attendance who bring skateboards will be permitted to
skate on the portable ramps and rails between demo performances.
The event will be held in the rear parking lot of Holiday
Inn Express from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Three Rivers businesses
or community members who would like to help or donate raffle prizes may
call Toni Lenz, 564-0611.
A Matter of Life:
will raise money
In December 1980, on the night Gwen Roberts was born, her
father, Steve, died. Steve Roberts had moved to Three Rivers as a teenager
and graduated from Woodlake High in 1976.
When Gwen was two years old, she was diagnosed with cystic
fibrosis. There is no cure for this debilitating disease.
Gwen and her mom, Donna, carried on. Before Gwen was 10,
Donna opened a bookstore in Exeter, but when the adjacent building caught
fire, Donna’s dreams again went up in flames.
Today, Donna lives in Exeter and is the manager at Borders
Books in Visalia. Daughter Gwen is holding her own.
Gwen, who will turn 24 in December, was recently placed on
a national donor’s list for a lung transplant. She has just 20 percent
of her lung capacity and uses supplemental oxygen.
Her mom is by her side as she struggles with her health,
staggering medical expenses, transportation to Stanford’s medical
center, and more.
Local friends and family members will unite next month to
organize a fundraiser to assist Gwen and Donna financially.
On Sunday, Nov. 7, from 4 to 9 pm, at the Exeter Eagles Lodge
on Visalia Road, a spaghetti dinner will be held. There will be live music
by Still Water of Three Rivers and others.
A donation of $10 will purchase a dinner and a raffle ticket.
To purchase a dinner-dance ticket, to donate a raffle prize,
or for more information, call Joelle Morris, 592-1515.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Cardinals edge Tigers, 17-14
By John Elliott
Last Friday, the Woodlake Tigers (0-7) took a giant step
in breaking a current winless streak of bad luck, but typical of their
season they found a way to lose. This time, the loss came on the road
to the Lindsay Cardinals (3-4), a very beatable East Sequoia League opponent.
“That was a game
we should have and could have won but some key turnovers really killed
us,” said Coach Brian Costa. “Anytime you run 80 plays, that’s
offensive domination in time of possession.”
Costa said normally an offense might run 50 plays in an entire
game and expect to win. But Woodlake running 30 more plays than the norm
vs. Lindsay was indicative of some positives but crucial turnovers proved
especially frustrating because they killed long drives.
The standout player in this ball control offense was Woodlake’s
newest weapon, Daniel Tiller. Tiller, who also plays outside linebacker
on defense, became eligible for the Lindsay game after transferring from
out-of-state and completing 10 practices.
In his first game as a varsity Tiger, he slashed his way
to 139 yards in rushing.
“We knew he [Tiller]
could step right in and help us,” Coach Costa said. “He played
local Pop Warner football and for Woodlake as a ninth grader. That was
the first time we’ve had a back gain more than 100 yards in a game
in quite awhile.”
Tiger running backs Jose Duran and Tony Mendez also contributed
71 yards and 77 yards, respectively. The offense had 382 total yards easily
the best performance of the season.
Coach Costa knows his young team must play their very best
to have a chance this week in the final home game vs. Orosi (5-2). These
high-flying Cardinals are currently perched atop the ESL standings and
are coached by Woodlake alum Tim Diaz.
“They have a very
talented senior QB Frankie Manquero who likes to roll out, run the option
or throw the ball,” Costa said. “The key for us will be how
well our guys can contain on the outside.”
In the JV game, the Tigers broke a consecutive games scoreless
drought, raising their record to 4-3. Friday night at Robinson Field is
Senior Night, marked by the introduction of seniors and their parents
scheduled to take place between games at approximately 7:15 p.m.