this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
webs are a symbol of Halloween.
are the largest arachnid
in the Three Rivers environs,
despite their scary looks,
harmless to humans.
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
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’
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.
Terrible toads! Be careful
when offered a warm toddy on Halloween.
Frogs and toads are key ingredients in
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
As for warts, you will not
get them from touching a toad… except
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,
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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,”
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
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.
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
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
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
“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.”
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
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 email@example.com.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.