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In the News - Friday, October 31, 2008

 

—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

SPOOKY CREEPY CRAWLERS: Spiders and

their webs are a symbol of Halloween.

Tarantulas are the largest arachnid

in the Three Rivers environs,

yet despite their scary looks,

are harmless to humans.

 

Watch out for

the creepy-crawlers

   Halloween is a holiday that has lots of creepy wildlife associated with it. But are they really so scary?
   Throughout the pages of the October 31 issue of The Kaweah Commonwealth, there were photos of some creepy critters that call Three Rivers home, but read on to see why they might not be so frightful after all.
   Spooky spiders! It’s the monster of all arachnids — the tarantula, a very large and hairy spider with fangs that could scare the wits out of an unsuspecting human. These not-so-itsy-bitsy spiders are a common sight in Three Rivers this time of year as it is the tarantulas’ mating season.
   Tarantulas are often seen on roadways, but Three Rivers drivers will brake or swerve to avoid them or stop and guide them safely off the road. You see, Three Rivers folks don’t have the heart to kill these gentle giants just because it’s looking for love in all the wrong places.
   Frightening frogs! Terrible toads! Be careful when offered a warm toddy on Halloween. Frogs and toads are key ingredients in witches’ brew.
   But amphibians are also important environmental indicators as all are susceptible to toxins because of their sensitive skin. If there’s a healthy frog and toad population, then it’s a good sign that the local environment is healthy as well. Sadly, frogs and toads are usually the first species to die out in polluted areas.
   As for warts, you will not get them from touching a toad… except on Halloween!
   Screaming scorpions! This carnivorous, eight-legged arthropod is a favorite ingredient in the concoctions of witches and warlocks. Scorpions may be prey for witches, but they prefer the role of predator. They will catch and hold their prey, mostly other arthropods, with their front pincers and inject it with venom from its tail to kill or paralyze the prospective meal.
   Scorpions, which are common in Three Rivers, are nocturnal by nature. The local scorpions’ venom is not dangerous to humans, but will produce local effects such as pain, numbness, or swelling.
   Horrifying howls! The howl of a coyote or wolf can cause either heart-rending terror or spiritual inspiration. Throughout history, people have both vilified and glorified wolves.
   In reality, coyotes and wolves are predators that play a key role in balancing the ecosystem. They control deer and other prey populations as well as other predators lower down on the food chain, like raccoons.

  Coyotes are a common sight in Three Rivers.   However, once found throughout North America, the only remaining gray wolf populations live in limited wilderness areas in the northernmost U.S. and in Canada. Coyotes and wolves go out of their way to avoid humans.
   Great snakes! The slithering, legless body. The forked tongue. The lidless eyes. Snakes strike fear in many people, making them a scary symbol of Halloween. But never fear, by this time of year, most snakes are moving to their underground hibernation grounds, where they will doze away the cold months, only to reappear in the warmer days of spring.
   Snakes are enormously beneficial, helping to control insect and rodent pests. Rattlesnakes are the only poisonous snake in Three Rivers. The venom could be deadly for humans if immediate medical attention is not received. Rattlesnakes would prefer to slither away and hide from humans, but if cornered or startled, they will strike.

  Spooky spiders! Spiders, with their eight legs and multiple eyes, are creatures right out of nightmares. And their sticky webs and venomous fangs don’t help their public image either.
   But even though they might look scary, spiders are beneficial predators of all sorts of insect pests. Three species in the U.S. have venom considered strong enough to hurt people — the black widow, the brown recluse, and the hobo — and spider bites from these are rare. In the fall, female spiders are guarding egg sacks that hold the next generation of spiders.
  Be careful as you navigate the webs on Halloween night!

Scenic highway

on the road to designation

   The key item on the agenda for this month’s Town Hall meeting is a discussion of the county’s Draft Corridor Protection Plan. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., at the Three Rivers Memorial Building.
   The long-awaited plan is the current step in a lengthy process to establish a 16-mile stretch of State Highway 198 as a scenic highway from Lake Kaweah through Three Rivers. David Claxton, a chief planner with Tulare County’s long-range planning department, will review what’s in the plan and how land-use decisions will be affected by its adoption.
   To be adopted, the plan must meet Caltrans requirements. According to Tom Sparks, the spokesperson for the Three Rivers Village Foundation, the sponsor of the scenic highway designation, there are no surprises in the plan.
   Existing development is “grand-fathered” and in the event of new development, those plans and building permits would be subject to similar regulations that are already in place.
   What’s new in the plan is that a viewshed has now been mapped and takes in approximately 300 feet on either side of the highway. Development within that corridor would be permitted but subject to a site-plan review committee.

  “The review of proposed development primarily seeks to standardize setbacks, landscaping, and highway signage,” said Sparks. “Nothing in the plan is set in stone, so if a particular project or landowner has difficulty in complying for whatever reason, there is a variance process. It’s a win-win for the community and will enhance property values for everyone.”
   Sparks also said the regulations ensure that if a cell tower or other communication structures are proposed they must meet certain aesthetic guidelines.

  “If you have any questions or concerns about the new plan, now is the time to come forward and provide your input,” Sparks said.
   Maps will be displayed at the meeting to show the proposed boundaries and what parcels are included within the scenic corridor boundaries. Careful consideration will given to grading and landscaping in the viewshed, and highway signage and outdoor advertising will have to adhere to more consistent standards.
   Also at the meeting, Ed Lafferty of Three Rivers will provide an update on the Neighborhood Watch program, and Tom Sparks will make an announcement relative to the Three Rivers transit center.
For more information, call 561-0406.

Last call for fire season

   The familiar aroma of wood smoke was in the air Thursday morning in Three Rivers as light smoke from the Wuksachi prescribed fire filtered its way down the Middle Fork canyon. The NPS fire crew began igniting a 99-acre parcel for hazard-fuel reduction Wednesday, Oct. 29.
   Mechanical thinning has already reduced the fuels, and the prescribed fire will allow for further reductions under controlled conditions. Fire managers planned to complete the low-to-moderate intensity burn prior to the weekend that has some rain showers in the forecast.
   Completion of the project will provide a better buffer around Wuksachi Lodge and could make a critical difference in the event of a wildfire.

  “This has been an unusually long local fire season and we are fortunate to get the opportunity to complete another project,” said Deb Schweizer, NPS fire education specialist. “The previous mechanical treatments reduced the amount of fuel in the four Wuksachi segments so that will help to limit the smoke.”
   The Moses Fire that was discovered on Tuesday, Oct. 14, in the remote Golden Trout Wilderness has burned 117 acres. Fire managers are keeping a close watch on the progress of that backcountry blaze but at this time there are no plans to deploy resources for suppression.
   In the last several days, the fire has moved across the border from Sequoia National Forest into southern Sequoia National Park near Summit Meadow.
   Dave Bartlett, fire management officer for Sequoia National Park, said he likes the fire behavior he has observed and that the creeping fire is cleaning the forest floor in an area that has not burned in the past several natural fire cycles. The fire is not anticipated to spread onto any non-federal lands and poses no threat to any other properties at this time.
   Smoke from the fire is intermittently visible in Yokohl Valley, Springville, and Three Rivers. The public is invited to view the Moses Fire by going to the Sequoia National Forest website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/sequoia and then click on the Jordan Peak link under “LIVE WEB CAMERA” in the box on the right side of the page.
   If the season’s first significant rainfall occurs as predicted this weekend, the fires burning in the nearby mountains will be a moot point. Cal Fire officials are expected soon to make an announcement as to when the current fire season is declared officially ended.
   When the local fire season is over, Three Rivers property owners may obtain hazard reduction permits and conduct some controlled burns of their own.

3R goes fiber optic

   It was difficult not to notice a crew of cable installers working earlier this week along Sierra Drive in Three Rivers. According to Moises Garza, resident AT&T engineer, the company replaced the existing “T-1” line with new interoffice fiber optic cable that will upgrade the Three Rivers office connection with Woodlake and Visalia.
   In effect, the old copper lines were replaced with new fiber optics. And although there won’t be any immediate upgrade in the service to individual DSL users, the replacement of the “trunk and toll” interoffice cable could pave the way for some future improvements.

  “The new glass lines will make the DSL more reliable to the AT&T office that is located across the highway from The Kaweah Commonwealth,” Garza said. “The new lines can carry more capacity so, for example, one upgrade the company could undertake would be to put in a relay for the 200 users in Cherokee Oaks who are currently outside the present 14,000-foot service area.”
Garza called the project a step in the right direction.

  “At some point, the FCC will mandate service upgrades for rural areas like Three Rivers,” Garza said. “When that time comes, we will already have some of the cable in service.”

TRUS sixth-graders

want your recipes

   Each year, the sixth-grade class at Three Rivers School has the opportunity to spend a week at SCICON, an outdoor, hands-on science and conservation camp located in the Sierra foothills above Springville. And each year, the class earns its own way to attend this camp.
   It’s been many years since a community cookbook has been created in Three Rivers, but the TRUS sixth-graders, under the guidance of their teacher, Kris Axtell, will remedy that. As a fundraiser for the SCICON trip, the sixth-graders are compiling recipes to create a community cookbook that will then be sold for $5 each.
   All community members are invited to submit recipes to be included in the cookbook. Hand-deliver your submission to the Three Rivers School office, mail it to P.O. Box 99, or email it to kaxtell@three-rivers.k12.ca.us. Be sure to include your name and any interesting information about the recipe.
   The deadline to submit a recipe is Friday, Nov. 14. The cookbooks will be on sale in time for holiday gift-giving.
   For more information, call 561-4466 or contact Kris Axtell.

OBITUARIES

Robert Brinkley
1935 ~ 2008

   Robert Charles “Bobby Chuck” Brinkley died Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008, at his Drury, Mo., home after a battle with cancer. He was 73.
   Bobby Chuck was born Jan. 3, 1935, to David and Helen Brinkley in Visalia. He was raised in Corcoran and attended Corcoran High School. In the 1960s, he worked as a draftsman for McDonnell Douglas aircraft.
   From 1968 to 1979, Bobby lived in Three Rivers. He was employed by the County of Tulare and worked on Three Rivers roads until 1976, when he entered the building trade as a general contractor. He continued to build custom homes until his illness forced him to retire.
   After leaving Three Rivers, Bobby moved to Missouri, residing in the southern Ozarks. He was an avid hunter and a licensed gunsmith. He continued to love Three Rivers and his many friends here.
   Bobby is survived by his wife of 11 years, Jimmie Brinkley, of Drury, Mo.; sons Mike Brinkley of Three Rivers and David Burleson of Sisquoc, Calif.; stepdaughter Gail Lyman of Visalia; two grandchildren, Michael L. Brinkley Jr. and Sarah Brinkley, both of Visalia.

Manuel Quintel
1922 ~ 2008

   Manuel John Quintel, a 32-year resident of Three Rivers died Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008. He was 85.
   On Nov. 25, 1922, Manuel was born in Oakland. He has resided in Three Rivers since 1976.
   His children said that not only was Manuel an incredible individual, but a caring and understanding father as well.
   Manuel is survived by his daughter, Nancy Winningham of Visalia; two sons, Paul Quintel of Fayetteville, Tenn., and Tony Quintel of Visalia; seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

 

 
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
editor@kaweahcommonwealth.com
© Copyright 2003-2008 The Kaweah Commonwealth