In the News - Friday, October
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
photograph was submitted by a visitor to Lake Kaweah
who spotted two males
a deer just below the new Slick Rock boat ramp on
Wednesday, Oct. 13.
men weren’t witnessed killing the deer, however,
the one on the left is dressed
head-to-toe camouflage. On the portable ramp, located
in the upper right quadrant
the photo, are some tools used to work on the buck.
The vehicle is a black Lexus
there also was a silver late-model Dodge pickup with
a metal truck-bed toolbox
just out of the photo frame. Two young children accompanied
any weapon in the Lake Kaweah basin is against the
law as is processing
carcass and leaving the entrails.
Whitney hikers rescued;
It never fails. The first snowstorm of the season
in the Sierra always catches someone off guard and,
in this case, several someones.
The story of two missing parties of Mount Whitney
hikers had happy endings last week as three men were
airlifted off the peak; two other men turned up in
Cedar Grove after hiking more than 50 miles from their
Three of the hikers — Philip Abraham,
34; Stevan Filips, 43; and Dale Clymens, 45; all from
the Omaha, Neb. area, were rescued from Mount Whitney
just after noon on Thursday, Oct. 21. The trio had
planned a day hike to the Whitney summit on the previous
Monday but they became stranded during a snowstorm
in the Smithsonian Institute’s historic stone
hut on top of the 14,500-foot peak — the highest
in the Lower 48, located in Sequoia National Park.
Three National Park Service searchers
hiked in from the Crabtree Ranger station on Thursday
morning and reached the stranded hikers about the
same time as a California National Guard helicopter
that arrived from the east side. The men appeared
to be in generally good health.
Two other hikers — Sina Sadeghi
Baghsorkhi, 27, and his father, Abdolreza Sadeghi,
56, had planned a three-day, 36-mile, cross-country
loop hike out of Whitney Portal. When the two men
failed to return as planned, a search was conducted
in the area.
The men were discovered Friday, Oct.
22, when they hiked out at Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon
National Park. No injuries were reported for either
of the Iranian nationals.
Highway road construction
an effort to get the current stretch of the Generals
Highway road construction in Sequoia National Park
completed before any extended winter weather, a new
schedule of delays and closures will go into effect
beginning Monday, Nov. 1.
For Mondays through Fridays, one-hour
delays are expected from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
to 6 p.m. Two-hour delays are anticipated on weekdays
from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. with a scheduled pass-through
every two hours beginning at 8 a.m.
Half-hour delays are planned from 6 p.m.
to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursdays. On Friday,
construction ceases at 2 p.m. but that time is subject
Up to 20-minute delays may be anticipated
on weekends and during night-shift changes as all
traffic must follow signal lights. Signal lights are
also in force during shift changes from 6:30 p.m.
until 9 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays.
The road will remain closed for night
work from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays.
There is one opportunity to pass through the construction
zone each weeknight at 11:30 p.m.
The construction zone is a one-and-a-half-mile
section of the Generals Highway between Amphitheater
Point and Deer Ridge.
For more information, call Dana Dierkes,
Sequoia-Kings Canyon public information officer, 565-3131.
goes camping in Yosemite
(October 29) will be the first in a two-part series
on the Oprah show in which the mega-star
and her best buddy Gayle King pull their tent trailer
into Lower Pines Campground in Yosemite National Park
and explore the world-famous sites of this popular
Park Ranger Shelton Johnson contacted
Oprah with the idea that having her publicize a trip
to the park would encourage more African Americans
to also seek out this experience that, Shelton says,
according to demographics, they do not do enough.
Shelton, who has always been popular
in his job as an interpretive ranger at Yosemite,
became even more well-known due to his prominent role
in Ken Burns’s 2009 documentary, The National
Parks: America’s Best Idea. He, too, is African
American and realizes that not only are there low
numbers of black park visitors, but also not enough
black rangers in the National Park Service.
In early October, Oprah and Gayle spent
two days and one night in and around Yosemite Valley.
They met with Shelton, who led them through the Mariposa
Grove of giant sequoias and pointed out the Yosemite
landmarks as seen from Tunnel View.
Shelton also joined them at their campsite
one evening in his comprised role of Elizy Bowman,
a Buffalo Soldier charged with protecting Yosemite
at the turn of the century. Neighboring campers were
invited to join them around the campfire to watch
Can you imagine? There you are, roasting
a marshmallow over the coals and thinking the most
exciting event that night would be watching the moon
rise over Half Dome...
Oprah and Gayle were also treated to
a mule ride and a guided fly-fishing trip along the
According to Donna Sisson, branch chief
for public involvement and outreach, Oprah’s
entire stage set will be transformed into Oprah’s
Lower Pines campsite, complete with pop-up trailer,
fire pit, and the backdrop of El Capitan.
violin virtuoso opens
reasons not entirely clear, the late 20th century
watered down the traditional violin recital from heart-tugging,
foot-stomping, mesmerizing virtuosity to a pleasant,
usually pretty, musical experience that was all but
free of performance risk. Satisfying, but not the
kind of audience experience that left one shaking
their head in disbelief about what they just witnessed.
Things were different in the 19th century
when violinists burst over the threshold of what was
thought possible and competed to see who could write
and play the most difficult but audience-pleasing
And these compositions are risky. To
pull it off, the violinist’s bow arm has to
move at lightning speed with incredible precision,
while the fingers of the other hand literally sprint
up and down the neck of the violin like a crazed gymnast.
So in a way, it’s understandable
that a respected violinist wouldn’t want to
jeopardize a reputation trying to perform a piece
in public that demands every ounce of talent, experience,
and attention with disaster looming at every note.
It’s safer for the performers to stick with
That ends on November 6. Mayumi Kanagawa
has thrown off the restraints and is going to perform
several of these crowd-pleasing but very difficult
pieces written during the golden age of violin virtuosity.
Her program opens with Jean-Marie Leclair’s
Sonata in D Major, Opus 9 Number 3. In the last movement,
listen for the excitement generated by multiple lines
Leclair was one of the first European
composers to look to other cultures for musical inspiration.
So listen, too, for Russian overtones. You can almost
see the Cossack kicking out one boot after the other.
Edvard Grieg’s Sonata No. 2 in G Major, Opus
13 is very Norwegian. There’s a reason.
Grieg was a fierce nationalist living
at a time when his country was forced into a humiliating
annexation with Sweden. Along with a large number
of Norwegian writers, artists, and philosophers, Grieg
turned his massive talent toward creating music that
would culturally unite his people. It’s a beautiful,
moving composition and made Grieg a hero in Norway,
where he is still revered.
Following the intermission, the violin
pyrotechnics take a leap forward with a Jascha Heifitz
arrangement of George Gershwin’s “It Ain’t
Necessarily So” from Porgy and Bess. Heifitz
was the best in the world at the time and it shows
in the last half of this quintessentially American
From then until the end of the concert,
it’s one amazing display of violin fireworks
after another, ending with the impossibly acrobatic
and hugely enjoyable Polonnaise Brillante by Henryk
This is how violin music was meant to
be enjoyed — long lyrical passages of heart-tugging
beauty alongside wild exuberance. It takes a special
violinist to bring it all together. Mayumi Kanagawa
Tickets are selling rapidly but are still
available at Chump’s Videos and DVDs.
Bill Haxton is a principal
in Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute.
the River Meets the Lake'
of Kaweah Country walkers and runners
in Lake Kaweah event
the print edition of The Kaweah Commonwealth:
of inaugural event)
inaugural 10K run/5K walk was so much fun last Saturday,
Oct. 23, that the organizers are already looking forward
to the next event that they hope to stage. Including
volunteers and family-rooting sections, the 68 official
participants were part of a large crowd that converged
on the Slick Rock Recreation Area at Lake Kaweah for
the start of an 8 a.m. fitness-promoting event. Just
imagine where this event could be in 40 years, considering
there were just 127 starters in the first New York
City Marathon in 1970.
The 5K walkers were escorted .35 miles
down the ramp approach to the lake bottom trail for
their start a few minutes after the runners started.
Because the walkers finished their event at the same
finish/start as the runners, they actually walked
3.5 miles (a 5K is actually 3.1 miles), and several
admitted that it’s been awhile since they have
walked that distance.
But there was nary a complaint to be
heard, although the lowest part of the scenic trail
“where the river meets the lake” was a
bit dusty and the timing in the walk event was not
recorded. Lee Goldstein, who kept the watch for the
10K run, said that the situation for the walkers,
both the distance and the timing, will be remedied
for the next event.
The first walker to cross the finish
line was Robin Castro; Jana Botkin finished in second
place not more than a few paces behind. Both of the
top finishers live in Three Rivers and work out regularly.
In the 10K run (6.2 miles), Glenn Champagne, 49, who
was raised in Three Rivers but now lives in Visalia,
finished first overall with a time of 39.31. Brent
Begin, 24, also of Visalia finished second at 41:50;
while Michael Bauman, 53, another experienced Visalia
runner, finished third 43.31.
Stacie Villavicencio, 36, of Three Rivers
was the top female finisher and fourth overall with
a time of 48.32. Stacy Grinsfelder, 38, also of Three
Rivers, who just completed the St. George Marathon
earlier this month, was the second-place female finisher
and fifth overall at 51.40. Carol Berryhill, 58, of
Tulare, finished third among the women and sixth overall
with a time of 53.47.
There are many reasons one may choose
to run or walk: to be with friends, for charity, to
control weight, reduce stress, think more clearly,
generally feel more positive about life, or all of
Tamara Dutro, who walked in the event,
said that she thinks Three Rivers will support these
events on a regular basis because this is such an
active, fitness-oriented community.
A total of 26 runners competed in the
10K while 42 walkers entered the 5K. Each participant
received, or will receive soon, a customized commemorative
The race organizers realized that this
inaugural event would include a learning curve. Future
events will only get better.
walkers were essential to the success of this charitable
event, but they didn’t receive their final times,
a glitch that will be eliminated at future events,”
said John Elliott of The Kaweah Commonwealth,
who took the sign-ups for the event. “The bottom
line is that everyone who came out had a good experience
and after we pay the expenses we will be able to make
a generous donation to the Kaweah Post Office fund.”
Elliott said the event at Lake Kaweah
would not have happened without the cooperation and
support of Phil Deffenbaugh, general manager at Lake
Kaweah. Phil, along with his wife, also walked in
the event and said he hopes that events like these
will promote the public’s awareness of some
of the recreation potential of the scenic Lake Kaweah
basin in the off-season.
newest mural unveiled
Botkin, a Three Rivers artist, completed her second
Mineral King-themed mural in the city of Exeter last
month. This new mural, Exeter’s 28th, is located
on E Street, just down the street from her previous
mural, completed in 2009. Entitled “Men + Mules
+ Water + Power,” the mural tells the story
of Franklin Lake and the area’s dams. The artwork
also contains seven hidden items that require extra
scrutiny of the artwork to find.
piles ignited in park and forest
large-scale prescribed burn projects have been shelved
for the season, and lightning-ignited blazes won’t
be an issue in the local mountains until next year’s
dry season, so National Park Service and U.S. Forest
Service fire personnel are busy doing some other clean-up
On Monday, Oct. 25, Sequoia National
Park fire crews ignited 25 piles near the Red Fir
Maintenance Facility, located just off the Generals
Highway between Lodgepole and Wuksachi Village. The
project was expected to be completed the same day.
In addition, fire crews also completed
a 37-acre thinning project south of the Lodgepole
Campground with the goal to provide improved wildland
fire protection for the developed Lodgepole area.
In addition, forest personnel in Giant
Sequoia National Monument burned 65 acres of piles
near Hume Lake.
Rescue Mission volunteer Jim Barnes is requesting
new or used bike donations to help Visalia Rescue
Mission program residents, as well as the general
homeless population, with their transportation needs.
The Visalia Rescue Mission is an emergency
subsistence organization and has been for the past
30 years. Every day of the year, they serve three
meals daily, which averages more than 500 meals per
day to those in need.
In 2009, the Mission served over 180,000
meals while always striving to meet the needs of each
individual that comes to their door.
Last year, the Visalia Rescue Mission
received 56 bikes from generous donors. All bike donations
are tax deductible.
Call Jim Barnes to arrange the pick-up
of a bicycle or to receive directions where to deliver
a donation: 679-7071.
For more about the Visalia Rescue Mission
and its programs, visit www.visaliarescue.org.
reminded of mailing deadlines
is one of a number of states that provide for “no
excuse required” use of absentee ballots, making
it easy and convenient for busy citizens to participate
in elections through the vote-by-mail process.
The U.S. Postal Service is encouraging
voters to complete and mail their ballots early. Ballots
must be delivered to the county Registrar of Voters
on or before Tuesday, Nov. 2.
Unlike tax returns, the postmark on the
envelope does not determine eligibility for absentee
ballots. Make sure your voice is heard and your vote
is counted by mailing your ballot as soon as possible.
Other tips for absentee voters: Sign
the ballot; place completed ballot into the official
envelope and follow all instructions; ensure proper
first-class postage is affixed; mail ballot to ensure
it is delivered on or before November 2.
Hawthorne, 95, of Three Rivers died Tuesday, Oct.
26, 2010. A graveside service will be held at the
Three Rivers Cemetery on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 1 pm.