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In the News - Friday, November 4, 2011



Mail-in ballots required for some voters

  Three Rivers voters received a mixed message from the Tulare County Elections Office last month and, for some who were voting by mail for the first time, it was a little confusing. The confusion came about because the law requires that for the November 8 election with an abbreviated ballot -— only two high school board issues locally — precincts with more than 250 registered voters are required by law to use the Official Vote By Mail (absentee) Ballot.
   For Three Rivers that means the polls will still be open Tuesday at the Memorial Building polling location because voters in one of the precincts will be voting at the polls. For the majority of local voters who are in the area’s larger precinct, they were issued vote-by-mail ballots.
  “If you received a sample ballot then you were instructed to vote at the Memorial Building,” said Ann Turner, Tulare County elections division manager. “Those who received the postage-paid mail-in ballots can still turn those in on Election Day at the Three Rivers polling place or at any polling place throughout Tulare County.”
   Turner said the mostly vote-by-mail election saves the county money because less staff is needed at the polling places. Going paperless and receiving a sample ballot is also new for this election and is another cost-cutting measure.
   Voters may also turn in ballots on election day at the Tulare County Registrar of Voters Office at the Government Plaza at 5951 S. Mooney Blvd. in Visalia, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; or the Tulare County Auditor’s Office, County Civic Center, 221 S. Mooney Blvd., Room 101-E, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call the Elections Office at 624-7300.

3R residents sustain injuries

in separate accidents

  Separate accidents involving three vehicles occurred this past weekend and early Monday morning and caused at least one serious injury, and while the scene was being cleared in the second accident, Highway 198 was closed in both directions.
   The first accident occurred on South Fork Drive in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, Oct. 30. That crash was reported to have involved a solo vehicle that left the roadway and rolled over. Aleigh Sullivan-John, 23, of Three Rivers, who was reportedly a passenger in the vehicle, sustained injuries and was hospitalized for three days.
Sullivan-John was treated and released Wednesday. The identity of the driver and the extent of any other injuries sustained in the crash were not reported.
   Like so many Three Rivers accidents involving a solo vehicle and no reported property damage, there was no official CHP report of the accident.
  “That’s not unusual if there are no life-threatening injuries or extensive property damage,” said Brad Wright, spokesperson for the Visalia office of the California Highway Patrol.
   The other accident involved two cars and was reported at 6:40 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 31. That incident involved Hugh Kohler Jr., 62, of Three Rivers who was driving a 2008 Honda CRV westbound when he collided head on with a 1995 Honda Accord driven by Gilbert Palomares, 57, of Strathmore.
   The accident occurred on Highway 198, 1.2 miles east of Mehrten Drive when one of the vehicles crossed the center line. While emergency personnel cleared the crash scene, westbound commuters were backed up through Lemon Cove.
   The investigating CHP officer at the scene is still working on the accident report. Officer Wright said that which vehicle actually crossed the center line has not yet been reported by the investigating officer nor has the extent of any injuries of the vehicles’ occupants been made public.

‘No-burn’ is voluntary in 3R, not mandatory

  Traditionally, November means cooler weather, the end of Daylight Saving Time, and the start of no-burn days for Valley farmers and homeowners. The new month and no-burn season were barely two days old when a health advisory called for a “no burn” day for farmers and homeowners who burn wood for heat.
   It never fails. Each time the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District calls for a no-burn day there is always confusion in Three Rivers and some of the other foothills communities. When the restrictions are in effect, residents on the Valley floor cannot burn wood in woodstoves or fireplaces.
   If they do, they are subject to a fine of $50 or more depending on the circumstances. According to Janelle Schneider, a spokesperson for the SJVAPQD, wood-burning is a major contributor to particulate pollution and on days where there are high levels of the PM-10 and PM-2.5 particulates, there is a higher incidence of strokes and heart attacks.
   But the higher levels of particulates in the air are nothing new to Kaweah Country residents who experience more pollution from wood smoke in the summer than in the winter. That’s because there are seldom any prescribed burns in the cold season.
   Those down-canyon breezes that give Three Rives some brief relief from the bad air in summer has an even more pronounced effect in the winter. After a rain or two, those prevailing winds seal in at a few hundred feet in elevation the fog and smog with an inversion lid-like layer.
   Lighting a woodstove or fireplace at this time of year only makes a bad situation that much worse for residents in the flatlands. In Three Rivers, there is usually a run of fog and smog-free days that remind residents why they live here in the first place.
   With no alternative natural-gas source, communities like Three Rivers are exempt from the no-burn days, but on those days when that dreaded inversion layer travels upslope, local wood burners might want to voluntarily refrain.
   A recent article published in The Fresno Bee claimed that with 87 days above the federal eight-hour standard, the Ash Mountain area in Sequoia National Park is the dirtiest smog trap in the country. Air quality specialists attribute the locally dirty air to plumes of ozone-making gases mixing with Valley pollution at the precise elevation of Ash Mountain — 1,700 feet.
   Ironically, the specialists explain, the dirty air hangs around the foothills because there is too little traffic. Emissions from overnight traffic in cities like Los Angeles actually break up ozone in darkness, the scientists claim.
   So city traffic actually lowers the ozone levels in summer when they are typically highest. The same phenomenon happens in Crestline, east of San Bernardino downwind from Los Angeles. This year, Crestline, in the San Bernardino Mountains, had 85 violations; Ash Mountain recorded 87.
   The critical difference this summer was the Lion Fire, which started on July 8 and burned more than 20,000 acres intensely until mid-August. Fires create ozone-making gases and also produce larger particulates that can lodge in the lung tissue of those that breathe the wood smoke.
   So each day that the odor of smoke was in the air this summer, particulates were being inhaled. Many local residents reported smelling wood smoke inside their houses even with the windows closed.
   In the winter, take comfort in the fact that at least during this time of year, Three Rivers and Ash Mountain have cleaner air than the Valley. But as long as the local parks and forests insist on managing and igniting summer fires, the foothills of Kaweah Country will be in the running for the nation’s dirtiest air — a dubious distinction that no community can afford.


3R well represented during

California Junior Cowboys Association season

  Three local kids left their mark this year on the California Junior Cowboys Association rodeo season. The 2011 competition began in May, holding two rodeos per month, then the season concluded with the finals and awards banquet on Saturday, Oct. 1.
   All nine of these events were held at the Woodlake Lions rodeo arena. Three Rivers was represented by Fallon Souza and twins Clayton and Callie Vincent.
   The CJCA has 86 members, ages 4 to 19, and is an organization dedicated to the sport of junior rodeo. Each year the young athletes compete in an attempt to earn points and the opportunity to take part in the CJCA Finals in the fall. The youth compete in several events throughout the season with points given for each performance.
   In the 7-10 age division, Clayton was the high-point winner. He was named All Around Boy and received a saddle. He also was the year-end buckle winner for pole-bending.
   Also in the 7-10 age division, Callie won the All Around Girl title as the high-point winner and took home a new saddle. She was the year-end buckle winner for goat-tying.
   Throughout the season, Callie and Clayton competed in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, dummy roping, and calf riding.
   Fallon competed in the 11-14 age division. Her events were barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, and team roping.
   She ended her season in the top five in barrel racing and pole bending, in the top 10 in the breakaway and team roping, and fourth place in the year-end All Around Girl in her age division.
   Fallon is the daughter of JP and Tammy Souza of Three Rivers and is an eighth-grader at Three Rivers School. Clayton and Callie’s parents are John and Holly Vincent of Three Rivers. They are sixth-graders at TRUS.
   The sport of rodeo is one of the oldest organized competitions in America. Today, rodeo occupies a unique position in sports, having developed from an American culture that is rapidly changing and fading fast.
   Rodeo is a window into the past yet is a totally modern sport. Today, the cowboys carry cell phones and their points are tallied on computers while spectators might attend a rodeo for a glimpse of a lifestyle they have never witnessed.
   These young rodeo competitors are ensuring that the sport is kept alive. And their commitment to rodeo continues year-round through their hard work, training, and the care of their animals.

Chamber Music Series 2011-2012 lineup announced

  The Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute has released its schedule for the upcoming 2011-2012 concert series. Following in the footsteps of last year’s inaugural series, six concerts will be presented about one month apart from November 26 until April 21.
All concerts will be held at the Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers. Tickets are now available at Chump’s DVDs for $12 per concert or $60 for the season package.
Here is the 2011-2012 lineup:


   The Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles has achieved parity with Juilliard. These superb young artists are not yet household names, but soon will be. Many are winners of prestigious competitions and perform flawlessly. If you have the opportunity to see them, don’t miss it. They are the future of classical music, and in their hands that future is very bright.


   Following last year’s holiday triumph, Jeff Seaward and the award-winning Chamber Singers from the College of the Sequoias in Visalia will present an entirely new program, a delightful mix of fun and reverence, wistfulness and celebration.


   Diego Miralles has performed, toured, and recorded with Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Frank Sinatra Jr., Alexis Gershwin, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, and recently performed the Beethoven Triple concerto with Yana Reznik and Robert Gupta of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His supple phrasing and sensuous tonality give his playing enormous emotional power.


   Acclaimed violinists Maia Jasper and Kevin Kumar have created an exciting new approach to chamber music that is attracting worldwide attention. Their superb musicianship fits beautifully in a unique atmosphere of formality and fun that encourages spontaneous audience participation. Their primary goal is to create enjoyment, and they do.


   One of a handful of young virtuoso violinists to emerge onto the world stage from the stratospheric studio of master teacher Robert Lipsett, Jeff brings dazzling technique to some of the most challenging and entertaining show pieces ever written and makes them seem easy. His tone doesn’t remind you of emotions, it re-creates them.

   Domonique Launey is a winner of the Gold Medal at L’Acade-mie de Musique for piano performance and has performed as a stand-alone soloist, as a chamber musician, and as a featured soloist with orchestras all over the U.S. and Europe.
   Her moving interpretations of classical piano standards will leave the audience feeling as though they are hearing them for the first time.

Flu vaccine now available

  The 2011-2012 flu vaccine protects against seasonal flu and H1N1, just like last year’s, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to skip your yearly flu shot, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn.
  “All people aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated,” said Dr. Carolyn Bridges, an associate director for adult immunization at the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
   Protection wanes over the course of a year, so “even people who got a flu vaccine last year should get one again to make sure they are optimally protected,” she said.
   The fact that the vaccines are identical does change things slightly for children aged 6 months to 8 years, according to the CDC. In general, children in this age range are advised to get two doses of the flu shot administered at least four weeks apart, but they will only need one dose of the 2011-2012 vaccine if they received at least one dose in 2010-2011.
   Children in that age range who did not get the flu vaccine last year need two doses this season.
   Influenza is a viral respiratory infection that can leave its victims incapacitated for several days with fever, muscle aches, sore throat, and cough. Each year an average of 24,000 people die from the flu and its complications in the United States.
   It is especially important that certain groups be vaccinated, like those who live with or care for others who are at a greater risk of developing complications. These groups are: pregnant women, children younger than 5, adults 50 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and health-care and day-care workers.
   Flu shots may be obtained from Family Healthcare Network, most other general health-care providers, and at pharmacy chains such as Rite-Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart.   For information about low-cost and no-cost flu vaccines, contact the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency.
   To stop the spread of flu and other respiratory illnesses: stay home when sick; cover coughs and sneezes with an elbow or tissue (and properly dispose of used tissues); wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based sanitizer; avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth; and eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, don’t smoke, and get adequate sleep and exercise.

Comments for parks’ Wilderness Stewardship Plan

available for public review

  Nearly 900 pieces of correspondence were received in response to a call for public input on the development of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ Wilderness Stewardship Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. The public comment period was held from April to August this year.
   Public information meetings were held in Visalia, Fresno, Bishop, Oakland, and Los Angeles. There was no meeting scheduled in Three Rivers.
   All comment letters are available to read in PDF (Portable Document Format) version at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/sekiwild (click on “Document List”). All comments were entered as received; they have not been edited or changed. The Park Service does not guarantee that all comments are factually accurate as they are solely the opinion of the commenters.
   To obtain a CD version of the document, contact Sequoia-Kings Canyon’s Environmental Compliance Office at 565-3102.
   Analysis of the comments will continue through the spring of 2012 with the development of alternatives expected to be completed by next summer.
   This process of soliciting public comment and providing input is not a voting process, however. While the National Park Service takes all perspectives into consideration, management decisions are based on the mandates of relevant legislation and scientific integrity.
   The public will be hearing about the Wilderness Stewardship Program again next fall, when the draft alternatives are expected to be released for public review.

Deadly virus attacks unvaccinated dogs

By Kelly Anez, DVM

  Canine parvovirus-2 (or CPV-2) is a virus that affects young and unvaccinated dogs and can lead to severe sickness and death in untreated animals. In Tulare County, this disease is prevalent and affects hundreds of dogs every month.
   As with all viruses, the parvovirus is invisible to the naked eye. The virus can live in most environments for months and can easily and unwittingly be transferred from place to place on clothing, shoes, people, or pets.
   After exposure it can take five to 12 days for clinical signs to develop, therefore pets carrying and shedding the disease can appear normal.
   The virus is transmitted from dog to dog via the fecal-oral route. This means that anywhere an infected dog defecates, it sheds the virus into the environment, making it available to infect another dog via the mouth. Because dogs are very oral and like to eat off the ground and lick themselves, they easily pick up the virus.
   Once they ingest the virus, it invades and destroys rapidly dividing cells, such as the bone marrow and the lining of the intestines. Once the pet starts to show signs of the sickness, they can rapidly deteriorate, often becoming very ill in hours.
In severe cases, puppies can die within 24 hours of the onset of clinical signs. Pets that are affected with the disease often present with depression, a lack of interest in food, vomiting, and possibly diarrhea.
   Unfortunately, an antidote for parvovirus does not exist. Treatment is aimed at supporting the pet and preventing shock, dehydration, and secondary infections while the dog’s own immune system fights off the disease.
   Contrary to the advice of some Internet sites and other sources, there is no quick and easy way to treat the disease. Taking the dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect the disease is the best single thing you can do.
   Dogs treated in a timely fashion with proper therapy typically survive the disease.
Preventing exposure in young dogs can be next to impossible, especially in areas like Tulare County where there is a high incidence of infected pets. While keeping the puppy or young dog away from areas where dogs congregate such as parks or unfenced yards will help, vaccination is the key to protecting pets.
   A word of caution regarding vaccines: all vaccines are not equal in the protection they provide. Several factors affect whether vaccines are successful in preventing the disease such as the manufacturer (do you want your pet to receive the Yugo or the Ferrari?), how the vaccine was handled (over-the-counter vaccines can be a dangerous proposition if the staff selling them do not store them properly), and the manner in which it was given.
   Having your veterinarian administer vaccines will ensure that your pet gets quality vaccines from a reputable manufacturer and that they are given properly and at correct intervals. Vaccination is very affordable whereas treating the disease can be expensive.
   Dr. Kelly Anez is a doctor of veterinary medicine at Pacific Crest Equine in Exeter.

Halloween on horseback

  A Trick-or-Treat Trail Ride was held Saturday, Oct. 29, at Lake Kaweah. Using the Horse Creek horse camp as their base of operations, Plum Horse Crazy Ranch of Exeter hosted the event where riders (and/or their horses) who came in costume received a registration discount. The nonprofit ranch provides equine psychotherapy for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, specializing in working with women, at-risk teens, and children, regardless of their ability to pay. On the same day, down at the west end of the lake, the Backcountry Horsemen of California-High Sierra Unit held their own Lake Kaweah Ride.


   Don’t start too fast. Practice negative splits (run/walk the second half of your workout faster than the first half) in an effort to ensure that you don’t start a competitive run/walk event too quickly. If you start too fast, you’ll use up extra fuel. The last miles can really drag out if your glycogen tank is on empty. Sure, you won’t struggle for as long or as painfully as in a marathon, but a too-fast start will still bring enough agony that you’ll regret it.
   The Kaweah Country Run course is tricky because the first quarter-mile is downhill (but, remember, that means the last quarter-mile is uphill!). The best way to avoid the temptation of going out too fast is deliberately run your first mile slower than you plan to run the final one.   It’s tough to do, since you’ll most likely feel really strong in the beginning.
   Also, try to make sure you’re in the correct starting position. It will be easier to fall into your pace if you’re around people who are the same speed as you. Don’t start yourself with faster runners because you’ll most likely be tempted to keep up with them.
   Start your race at a comfortable pace and make sure you check your watch at the first mile marker. If you’re ahead of your anticipated pace, slow down. It’s not too late to make pace corrections after just one mile.

Central Valley to supply U.S. Capitol Christmas tree

  For only the fourth time since the tradition began will the U.S. Capitol’s Christmas tree be coming from California. A 65-foot white fir is scheduled to be cut with much pomp and circumstance Saturday, Nov. 5, on the Stanislaus National Forest.
   Once cut, the tree will be loaded onto a truck for a 20-day, 4,500-mile tour across the country, which will include stops in big cities, small towns, and at military bases, allowing Americans from all walks of life to see “The People’s Tree” before it is erected in front of the U.S. Capitol for the holiday season.
   Before it even leaves the state, the tree will be viewed in 12 cities, mostly in the Central Valley. Its first stop will be the Sonora fairgrounds, then it will pass through Oakdale and Manteca. On November 9, the tree will be at the State Capitol in Sacramento; on November 10, Modesto (10 a.m.) and Merced (2 p.m.); and on November 11, it will be a part of the Fresno Veterans Day Parade (11 a.m.) before making its way to Children’s Hospital Central California (2 p.m.).
   It will be in Kingsburg from 4 to 5 p.m. that day, then Saugus, Santa Clarita, and Los Angeles over the weekend of November 12 and 13. On November 15, the tree will leave the state and head east for its multi-state tour before arriving in Washington, D.C., on November 28.
The truck that transports the tree will be surrounded by a 54-foot waterproof banner that people can sign like a giant holiday card.
   All costs associated with transporting the tree are being covered by donations from the business community. Volvo Trucks is providing a truck and driver to transport donated food that is being collected in California to Gallup, N.M., which suffers from some of the highest levels of poverty in the nation.
   The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held Tuesday, Dec. 6, 5 p.m. (EST), at the Capitol Mall. The event is free and open to the public.

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
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