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The Best of Kaweah Country
the News - Friday, OCTOBER 8, 2004
on the fireline
Arrowhead Hotshots crewmember
The National Park Service is heartbroken over this loss.
--Superintendent Dick Martin,
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
Flags were at half-staff this week at fire stations and throughout
the National Park System, while Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks personnel
wore black bands on their badges in remembrance of Daniel Holmes.
Dan was a member of the Park Service family who died in the
line of duty on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004. It is the first firefighter fatality
in the parks’ history.
Dan, 26, was a member of the elite Arrowhead Hotshots, which
are based in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. The team
fights wildland fires throughout the West, but were at the park working
the Grant West Prescribed Fire when the accident happened.
The Grant West fire was ignited Tuesday, Sept. 28, and had
burned four acres of a planned 60. Dan was killed about 1 p.m. on Saturday
when the burning top of a dead 115-foot-high white fir tree broke off
and struck him in the head as he and co-workers were preparing to cut
down the snag with a chainsaw.
It is reported that about 20 firefighters witnessed the accident,
and crewmembers immediately moved Dan to a safe location. First aid was
administered and the park ambulance was summoned.
Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful and Dan never regained consciousness.
He died in the ambulance while en route to the LifeFlight helicopter-landing
zone for transport to a Fresno hospital.
Dan was pronounced dead by the helicopter-ambulance’s
medical personnel at about 2 p.m.
As a result of Dan’s death, ignitions have been halted on
the Grant West burn. It is being manned by U.S. Forest Service crews as
all staff assigned to the fire at the time of the accident have been released.
A three-member investigation team — headed by Jim Loach,
associate regional director of the National Park Service’s Midwest
Region — has been assigned to the incident by the U.S. Department
of the Interior. The purpose of the “Serious Accident Investigation
Team” is to determine the circumstances that caused Dan’s
death and to learn what can be done to prevent a similar accident from
occurring in the future.
The team’s functions include investigation, safety
evaluation, and documentation. Throughout the week, the team has been
conducting interviews with personnel, some of whom have also been meeting
with critical-incident counselors for stress debriefing as a result of
being on the scene of the accident.
The team will produce three reports. The 24-hour report and
72-hour report have been issued; the final report is pending.
The Arrowhead Interagency Hotshot Crew has been in existence
since 1981. Their primary duty is the suppression of wildland fires throughout
the U.S. and Canada.
The job is demanding and the crew works under extremely hazardous
conditions for extended periods. They are described as the best of the
best firefighters and are routinely assigned the most difficult and hazardous
They are required to be in peak physical condition. A typical
work shift is 16 hours, although working for 32 hours straight often occurs.
During fire season, a Hotshot crew is together 24/7; eating,
sleeping, traveling, and working as a unit. Under these conditions, it
is easy to understand the camaraderie that exists between the crewmembers
and the devastating effect on all when one suffers an untimely death.
1978 ~ 2004
Daniel Holmes, an Arrowhead Hotshot crewmember based in the Grant Grove
area of Kings Canyon National Park, died Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004, in Grant
Grove after injuries sustained during a prescribed-fire operation. He
A funeral service was held yesterday (Thursday, Oct. 7) in
Rochester, N.H. The entire Arrowhead Hotshot crew was in attendance, as
were many other National Park Service employees.
Dan was born Jan. 16, 1978, in Springfield, Mass., to Raymond
E. Holmes Jr. and Delina J. Burke. At a young age, Dan moved with his
mother and brother to Rochester, N.H., where he was raised and educated,
graduating from Spaulding High School in 1996.
Dan was an avid athlete, playing Babe Ruth baseball and,
later, varsity hockey and football in high school. His love of athletics
evolved to a love of the outdoors through his pursuits of snowboarding,
mountaineering, and climbing.
Dan turned his passion into a career after he graduated from
Johnson State College with a bachelor’s degree in environmental
Dan moved west and began his career with the National Park
Service at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. He served as a backcountry
ranger there, then on trail crews, and finally as a wildland firefighter.
His off-season home was in Bellingham, Wash. In 2003, he
was selected as a member of the National Park Service’s Arrowhead
Hotshots, an elite interagency firefighting team, and was nearing completion
of his first season.
Dan was with his crew working on the Grant West Prescribed
Fire in Grant Grove, where the team is based, when the top of a dead tree
broke off and fell on him. He never regained consciousness.
Dan is survived by his mother, Delina J. Burke of Rochester,
N.H.; his father, Raymond E. Homes Jr. of Westville, Mass.; his brother,
Matthew Holmes, of Tampa, Fla.; and his girlfriend, Jules Sautter, of
Donations in Dan’s memory may be made to the Wildland
Firefighters Foundation via mail (2049 Airport Way; Boise, ID 83705) or
online at www.wffoundation.org (click on “Donations” on the
menu on the left, then click on “Monetary Donations” on the
left for directions on how to donate to the Daniel Holmes Memorial Fund).
A memorial service may be held in California for Dan. Details
will be announced as they become available.
TRUS appoints board members
On Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the monthly meeting of the Three
Rivers Union School board, trustees selected Chantel Medeiros-Horton and
C. Kristina Roper Graber to fill two vacancies on the TRUS board of trustees
as two terms expire at the end of this year. The vacancies were created
when no candidates filed to run in the upcoming November election.
Moises Garza, board president, said that trustees had already
reviewed the resumes of the five applicants and that, in addition, to
Medeiros-Horton and Roper Graber, the field of five also included Michael
Perez, Carl E. Pitts, and Richard Blakemore. The candidates were present
at Wednesday’s meeting with the exception of Blakemore.
Garza explained that the selection process would include
three steps. The first would include a brief statement by each applicant,
followed by questions from the audience, and then written questions from
After the questioning was concluded, the five trustees were
to vote for two, and Garza said each candidate’s name. Medeiros-Horton
received five votes, Roper Graber received three, and Perez received the
other two votes.
Medeiros-Horton, a CSET employee with an education background,
said she has experience as a grant writer and can always find a way to
get the job done.
Roper Graber, who teaches anthropology courses at Fresno
State, said she would like to see more emphasis on science and scientific
thinking at the school.
In other business, the board approved a resolution to hire
a part-time transportation/maintenance employee. Sue Sherwood, superintendent,
said the money that is saved by not hiring a full-time person could be
used to reimburse other district employees for some of the money that
has been deducted from paychecks since July to pay for health insurance.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 10.
Newly elected trustees will begin their four-year terms of office at the
Flu shots scarce in Kaweah Country
On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Health and Human Services Agency
of Tulare County announced they are scheduling 13 senior flu shot clinics
even though this season’s vaccines are expected to be in short supply.
The Woodlake clinic is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 5. The
Three Rivers clinic will be held Wednesday, Nov. 10.
Health officials said an interruption in the flu vaccine
supply was caused when British health authorities stopped flu shot shipments
and suspended the license of the Oxford-based Chiron Corporation.
to see what the state issues as a directive relative to the Chiron issue,”
said Pat Dicken, deputy director of Tulare County Clinical Services. “We
were able to purchase vaccine from another supplier and are moving forward
with our planned vaccination clinics, but that schedule may change as
more information becomes available.”
Especially in Three Rivers, seniors and other high-risk individuals
are advised not to miss the county-sponsored clinic. That’s because
Art Molina, M.D., who will close his office at the end of the month, will
not be getting any vaccine.
Family HealthCare Network, the other local medical provider,
is uncertain if and when they will receive any supplies. According to
a Family HealthCare Network spokesperson, if FHCN does find a supplier,
it might be December before the flu shots are available.
Those at highest risk for complications from influenza should
receive annual flu inoculations. The following are those who will be given
priority for flu shots: all children ages six to 23 months; adults ages
65 years and older; persons ages two to 64 years with underlying chronic
medical conditions; all women who will be pregnant during the influenza
season; residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; children
ages six months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy; healthcare workers
involved in direct patient care; and out-of-home caregivers with household
contacts of children ages six months and younger.
For more information, call the county Health and Human Services
Agency toll-free at 1-800-834-7121.
Annual Carnival set for Halloween eve
Eagle Booster Club (EBC) members and numerous volunteers
are busy finalizing plans and preparations for this year’s Halloween
Carnival, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, from 4 to 8 p.m., on the
upper field of Three Rivers School. EBC members are really excited to
announce that this year’s Carnival will include a Haunted House,
the Jail Booth, and an Obstacle Course, as well as the return of many
of the traditional favorites like the Cake Walk, Bounce House, Face Painting,
cotton candy, and clowns selling balloons.
Donations for the Raffle and Pick-a-Prize are still being
accepted. Prizes may be dropped at the TRUS office, Valley Oak Credit
Union, Silver Spur, or Cutting Room. This year’s raffle prizes include
a two-night stay at Asilomar Resort in Pacific Grove, a $100 gift card
for the Visalia Mall, a five-CD stereo sound system, tickets to Magic
Mountain, two 20-inch bicycles, a Nintendo GameCube system, and much more.
Raffle tickets are $2 each and may be purchased in advance
at the following Three Rivers businesses: Valley Oak Credit Union, Silver
Spur, and Cutting Room. Raffle tickets are also available at the school
office and from any TRUS student.
Some great donations for this year’s Pick-a-Prize have
been received. Donations include: complimentary passes to Blackbeards
in Fresno; Fresno Zoo Family Pak Pass; White Water Adventures class 3
river trip; Lake Kaweah patio boat rental; lodging certificates for Wuksachi
Lodge, Lake Elowin, Sierra Lodge, Gateway Lodge, Kaweah Park Resort, and
Plantation Bed and Breakfast; Visalia Fox Theater tickets; Red Carpet
Car Wash tickets; Brewbaker’s dinner certificate; The Enchanted
Playhouse season tickets; and much, much more.
The TRUS Class of 2005 will be serving the annual Eighth-Grade
Dinner fundraiser in the school cafeteria. This year’s theme will
be Island Tropical. Menu items include: Barbecued Mango Chicken Breast,
Coconut Jasmine Rice, Kula Green Salad, Sautéed Maui Vegetables,
Hawaiian Rolls, Tommy Bahama Iced Tea, Kona Coffee, and for dessert, Carrot
Cake with cream cheese frosting topped with toasted coconut.
Cost for dinner will be $7.50 for adults and $5 for all TRUS
students and children. A vegetarian menu will be available. Additionally,
a beverage-and-dessert-only option will be available for $2.50.
It is still not too late to become a member of the Eagle
Booster Club. An annual membership is only $5 per person.
If you are interested in becoming an EBC member, just stop
by the TRUS office to sign up. Remember, all monies raised by the EBC
stay right here in Three Rivers to benefit the TRUS students and staff.
For more information about the EBC or the upcoming carnival,
call Wendy Woods, 561-4715, or Beth Jones, 561-3250.
3R kids learn rocket science… really
by Paul Tidwell
Three Rivers residents Philip and Colin Tidwell witnessed
history in the making on Monday morning (October 4) when they watched
SpaceShipOne soar into the heavens and the history books over the Mojave
After spending Sunday night camping in the desert, they joined
with thousands of other spectators before dawn on Monday to watch the
White Knight turbojet carry aloft the spacecraft that was released at
When the rocket engine ignited far overhead, they screamed
a loud “Hooray!” as the contrail showed the rocket rising
to a record-setting 377,591 feet. After both craft landed safely, the
boys were allowed to enter the VIP area, getting a closeup view of the
spacecraft and spending time with the craft’s pilot and crew.
When the boys entered the hangar, they were asked by members
of the press what they thought was most memorable about the experience.
Colin answered that he thought the double sonic-boom when the craft re-entered
the atmosphere at three times the speed of sound was the biggest highlight.
Philip said that the low pass that the White Knight and other
support aircraft made only feet above the runway as they celebrated the
success of the flight was an exciting moment.
Both boys will have a lifetime of memories and stories to
tell their own children someday about how they were present at the moment
that civilian space flight began.
Philip is a fifth-grader attending the Eleanor Roosevelt
Learning Center; Colin attends first grade at Three Rivers Union School.
WOODLAKE HIGH SCHOOL
Emperors tame Tigers, 45-3
By John Elliott
On Friday, Oct. 1, the Woodlake Tigers (0-4) reached what
their fans and coaches hope will be the low point of a very difficult
season. After converting a field goal on the opening drive at Dinuba to
take a 3-0 lead, very little went right for the visiting Tigers the rest
of the night.
One thing that did go right was an impressive stop by the
defense on the Emperor’s very first series. But following Dinuba’s
punt, Woodlake’s offense went three plays and out.
Dinuba (4-0) still trailed 3-0 at the start of the second
quarter but knew it was only a matter of time until they untracked their
powerful offense. On a fourth down play from the Tiger 32-yard line, the
Emperor QB threw a 29-yard pass for a first-and-goal at the three-yard
Two plays later, Abraham del Toro, Emperor running back,
dove in from two yards out for the first of six touchdowns. The Dinuba
defense also forced Woodlake into two safeties and scored one of the TDs
after a fumbled punt.
The statistics were even more lopsided than the final score.
Dinuba’s offense racked up 240 yards rushing and 195 more yards
through the air. Woodlake’s offense was held to less than 100 total
Coach Costa, frustrated by his team’s fourth consecutive
loss, said he expected his young team to struggle.
“In one game, we
play well for one quarter; in another we’re in a position to win
at halftime,” Costa said. “We have yet to play anybody for
all four quarters.”
Costa still believes his young team will come together and,
when they do, they will get back to winning ways. Now that the East Sequoia
League schedule has begun, its evident that Woodlake will have play much
better just to compete with the teams that Costa calls the ESL “bruisers”
— Immanuel and Coalinga. But after Immanuel looked very beatable
in a lopsided loss to Orosi last week there is new hope that Woodlake
can win at home tonight vs. Immanuel (2-2).
“Right now, the
ESL has some teams that are headed to the Division III playoffs and some
are going to Division IV,” said Craig Baker, Tiger assistant coach.
“Our league should really be schools that are more our size like
Lindsay, Corcoran, Orosi, Strathmore, and Parlier.”
But CIF officials anticipated that there would be some disparity
in the new league lineups. Because of the realignment, all teams may elect
to go to playoffs regardless of season records.
“I really want
to go to the playoffs so our seniors can experience playing in the postseason,”
Costa said. “If we can show some steady improvement, then we are
The junior varsity game featured a defensive struggle with
the Tigers (3-1) coming out on top 6-2. Frosh QB John Gomez has show steady
improvement and made some critical tackles on defense.
Arts Alliance pursues creative outlets
Calling all artists and supporters of the arts...
The nonprofit Arts Alliance of Three Rivers is on a mission
to explore new possibilities for future events and activities.
On Saturday, Oct. 16, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., the alliance
will host a gathering at the Three Rivers Arts Center to discuss the future
of the organization and its role in the community.
The informal meeting will begin with introductions and an
opportunity for participants to share their views, catch up on the latest
news of the organization, and provide input and suggestions.
One topic of discussion will be the possibility of expanding the scope
of the alliance to encourage membership from all areas of creativity including
music, drama, creative writing, and more.
Other topics will include what types of programs prospective
patrons would support in Three Rivers and what the group can do to further
ensure that arts programs at Three Rivers School are properly funded.
“The Arts Alliance
will continue producing the Redbud Festival and can be proud of its accomplishments
so far, but there is so much more we should be doing as an ‘alliance
of art’ in this community,” said Lynne Bunt, Arts Alliance
There is an immediate need for more involvement from the
creative community in Three Rivers. The future of the Arts Alliance depends
on the willingness of more local artisans to get involved. A little participation
from a few more folks will allow the alliance to thrive and better serve
the community of Three Rivers.
For more information, call Lynne Bunt, 786-8654, or email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well-know flutist to take Concert stage
By Bill Haxton
This Saturday, Oct. 9, at 3 p.m., renowned flutist Tracy
Harris with the Wyndfall Trio will perform at the 23rd annual Concert
on the Grass in Three Rivers. Tracy’s performing and recording experience
is too long to recite here, but it must be mentioned that she was selected
from a worldwide pool to study with French icon Jean-Pierre Rampal, considered
by some to be the best flutist ever.
Tracy¹s mastery of the flute covers a wide range of
tone and style. Her profound sense of melodic line in the slow movements
lifts the listener from the cares of the everyday world and transports
them to a place of transcendent beauty. In the fast movements, she plays
with such vibrant energy, it nearly takes your breath away.
Wyndfall Trio pianist Svetlana Harris and harpist Wendy Harris-LeBlanc
are masterful musicians in their own right, and both will be highlighted
at this year’s concert.
Take Highway 198 through Three Rivers, a quarter mile past
We Three Bakery. Turn left on Dinely Drive. Cross the river, bear right
after the bridge, then follow the signs.
The concert starts at 3 p.m., but plan to arrive half an
hour early. Also, there is a much-improved shuttle system this year for
transporting concert-goers up the driveway. Bring a picnic if you like
and a lawn chair or blanket to sit on.