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In the News - Friday, November 5, 2010


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)


Measure V fails


Winters, Kulick, Sherwood win TRUS board seats


  It's not good times for school districts anywhere. A poor economy means declining tax revenues, which translates to unprecedented cuts in state funding for districts like Three Rivers.

  So when the Three Rivers Union School board of trustees faced the prospect of making a 2010-2011 fiscal-year budget, a parcel tax appeared to be a quick fix that could help stall making even more cuts from a local budget that school board members say is already “cut to the bone.”

  To get a majority of local voters to support a parcel tax even in the current economy was not the problem, according to Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent, principal and, as of this semester, the new sixth-grade teacher. She said it's more an issue with the law.

  The law requires two-thirds (66.6 percent) of local voters to pass a parcel tax. Tuesday's election delivered 57 percent.

  “I'm disappointed that we didn't meet the two-thirds numbers,” Sue said. “There were a lot of folks who had no idea that we needed that much of a percentage to pass.”

  Superintendent Sherwood said the 57 percent that did vote for the measure reflects a solid core group of support.

  “I'm proud of the Three Rivers community, the majority of whom overwhelmingly support this school,” Sue said. “Next time we'll have to work even harder.”


Voter forecast

  That next time could come as soon as 2012. If the economy shows signs of improvement so will the chances for passing a parcel tax. Statewide, of the 18 districts who attempted to pass a similar measure, only two won approval.

  One ray of hope for California 's public schools is the fact that 70 percent (43 of 62) of statewide school bond measures did pass though those funds must be earmarked for specific improvements and only require 55 percent of voter approval. If that formula had been applied to the parcel tax issues, 11 of 16 of the failed measures, including Three Rivers School 's, would have passed.

  So what does it mean for the immediate future of the local kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school facing the prospect of more budget cuts?

  “When we get to budget time in April and May, we're going to be taking a long, hard look at areas where we can reduce,” Sue said. “But the children and their education will remain our priority and we will continue to provide the best education that we are able to do.”


TRUS board of trustees

  When the TRUS budget rolls around, one thing is for certain. There will be two new board members. That's because two newcomers, Sue Winters (25.40 percent) and George Kulick (20.29 percent), have won seats on the board. One incumbent, Scott Sherwood (19.82 percent), the son of superintendent/principal Sue Sherwood, retained his seat.   However, long-time incumbent Bob Burke (18.49 percent) and challenger Chris Carpenter (15.86 percent) won't be officially counted out until all the absentee and provisional ballots have been tallied.


More ballots to be counted

  Registrar of Voters Rita Woodard announced Wednesday that there are still a large number of votes to be counted. Absentee ballots were turned in at the polls by the thousands and the county Elections Office won't be done with the counting process for at least another 10 to 14 days.

  In Three Rivers, based on projections of voter turnout, more than a hundred ballots still remain to be counted. It is conceivable that Bob Burke, who trails in the school board race by only 29 votes, could move up.

  Measure V appears to have too much ground to make up, although the present percentage could change, but most likely not enough to alter the outcome.


Woodlake schools

  In the Woodlake High School board race, where unification with the Woodlake Elementary School District is currently a hot agenda item, all three incumbents retained their seats, beating out the one challenger, Ralph Alley of Woodlake. Edmund Pena (29.86 percent) of Three Rivers received the highest total, fol lowed by Charles Mills (27.30 percent) and Richard Rochin (24.90 percent), both of Woodlake.

  For Woodlake's elementary board, two incumbents — Debi Baker (24.49 percent) and Joe Hallmeyer (22.88 percent) — and one newcomer Ralph Chapman (20.4 percent) won the three seats among a field of four candidates. The challenger beat out incumbent Frances Holdbrooks by 18 votes.

  The Woodlake Elementary School board will vote on unification with Woodlake High School on November 10.

  In the local College of the Sequoias community college Ward 2 race, Kenneth B. Nunes (67.8 percent) won the seat over Sesar Carreno (31.63 percent).


County votes Republican;

State votes Democrat


  As is usually the case, predominantly Republican Tulare County voted along party lines in all the statewide elections. While Democrats made it a clean sweep for Governor, U.S. Senator, and all the major partisan races, only the race for Attorney General remained undecided Thursday, two days after the election.

  Kamala Harris (D), the San Francisco district attorney, led Steve Cooley (R), the Facebook executive, by 15,000 votes (less than one percent) out of more than seven million that were cast statewide. On Thursday, Harris remained cautiously optimistic while in what might prove to be a Dewey-esque move, Cooley declared victory when returns showed him leading early on election night.

  But votes from several large cities catapulted Harris into the lead that she now is maintaining. It could be weeks before a winner is officially declared.

  In the race for governor, Jerry Brown (D) won over Meg Whitman, the Republican challenger who spent $140 million of her own money in her bid to become California 's first woman governor. Gavin Newsom (D), San Francisco 's popular mayor, is the new Lieutenant Governor while Debra Bowen (D) will continue on as Secretary of State.

  All the races for the state offices were won by the Democrats by at least a 54 to 41 percent margin.

  In the race for U.S. Senate, Barbara Boxer defeated Carly Fiorina. The Democrats endorsed the career politician, who was just elected for her fourth term. The Republicans supported corporate executives like Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard) and Meg Whitman (eBay) in the governor's race.

  Closer to home, in the race for 21st Congressional District that includes Three Rivers, Devin Nunes (R) ran unopposed.

Jean Fuller (R), former superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District , is this area's new State Senator, replacing the termed-out Roy Ashburn. Con nie Conway (R) will continue to serve her district in the State Assembly.

  The equivalent to the nail biter in the California Attorney General's race is being waged in the race for the 4th District County Supervisor's seat (includes Woodlake). Brian Rouch, the challenger, has a narrow lead over incumbent Steve Worthley. The result in that race won't be known for at least a couple of weeks.

  The state propositions were as difficult to figure as usual. Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize and tax cannabis went down to defeat by large numbers (54 percent to 46).

  In the other propositions:

Prop. 20/Redistricting Congressional Districts— Yes

Prop. 21/State Parks' Fees— No

Prop. 22/Prohibits State from Taking Funds— Yes

Prop. 23/Suspends AB 32— No

Prop. 24/Repeals Legislation That Allows Businesses to Lower Tax Liability— No

Prop. 25/Changes Vote to Simple Majority for Budget Measures— Yes

Prop. 26/Fees Required by Two-thirds Majority— Yes

Prop. 27/Eliminates Commission on Redistricting— No


Community park proposal

highlights town meeting


  Gary Cort presented an update on a proposal for acquisition of a community park at last Monday's Town Hall meeting at the Three Rivers Memorial Building . The park, he said, would be located in the town center area of Three Rivers and so far he has more than 500 signatures to present to Supervisor Allen Ishida.

  Cort said if the county cannot come up with funding to acquire the land and develop the 18.3-acre parcel, some private investors with a mixed use for the proposal might be considered. An architect who has lived and worked in Three Rivers for the past three decades, Cort said he is currently preparing a prospectus for investors.

  Clancy Blakemore, a local Sheriff's Department VIP (Volunteers In Patrol) made a presentation about a county program called Project Lifesaver. The new program provides a tracking bracelet to be worn by patients with Alzheimer's, autism, Down syndrome, or other development disorders that might be a factor in wandering away from their caregiver.

  Blakemore said that in the past, patients could be lost for hours or even days. Now they can be located in minutes.

  The tracking device also works when the patient is traveling in other states that also have Project Lifesaver. The bracelets can be provided free of charge because the international program is funded by corporate donations and grants.

  Interested parties may make contact with Project Lifesaver by calling 782-9650 or 636-4625.

  The next Town Hall meeting, sponsored by the Three Rivers Village Foundation, is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6.


TRUS has volunteer openings


Halloween Carnival

  Three Rivers School parents have dropped the ball. After another successful Halloween Carnival, at this time, there will be no such event next October.

  If this occurs, it will be the first time in over 60 years that parents didn't band together and manage this event, which has become the most popular community-wide gathering in town.

  The reason next year's Carnival is threatened with extinction is because out of a couple hundred or so parents who have children enrolled at TRUS, only one mom has stepped forward to volunteer for this year's four-person Eagle Booster Club board, which then morphs into the Carnival Committee for the first few months of the following school year.

  Who's going to step up and save the Carnival? Sign up at the TRUS office.


Recreation Committee

  The five-member TRUS Recreation Committee also finds itself with a couple of openings. Currently, Stacie Villavicencio, Nicole Hirni, and Jane Dagerman are the directors following the departure of two members.

  The Recreation Committee is responsible for organizing everything fun on campus outside of the school day. From youth sports to men's summer softball, it is the Recreation Committee that keeps it organized year after year.

  One does not need to be a parent of a TRUS student to apply. To apply, submit a letter of interest to the TRUS board of trustees.


WHS participates in

mock election with real issues


  Just because they are not 18 doesn't mean that they don't have an opinion on all things political. Throughout California , high school and middle school students participated last week in a mock election that includes the real issues.

  A total of 409 ballots were cast at Woodlake High School . The election results ( http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/mock-election/2010/general/county/tulare.pdf - Page 18) show that all but two of the ballot measures were decided by a margin of 50 or less votes.

However, the most important lesson is the actual act of voting.


Centennial postmark still available


By Brian Rothhammer


  The special commemorative cancellation (postmark) for the 100th anniversary of the Kaweah Post Office is still available through Dec. 22, 2010 by mail only.

  Postal regulations require that submissions for the commemorative cancellation be mailed to: Postmaster, 40857 Sierra Drive , Three Rivers , CA 93271 . Per Postal Bulletin 22296, “Customers should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address them to themselves or others, or provide a self-addressed return envelope with sufficient postage to accommodate the cancelled item… there is no charge for the first 50 postmarks. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50...” You should also include a short note requesting the service.

  In other words, put a bunch of stamped envelopes in a bigger envelope addressed to yourself (and stamped according to weight) with a note saying, “Please affix the Kaweah Post Office Centennial postmark to these and mail them back to me in the enclosed envelope,” put them in another envelope addressed (and stamped) to the 3R Postmaster, and you've got a philatelic treasure.

  Special commemorative cachets are still available through the Kaweah Postal Foundation, as are custom-ordered postage stamps bearing a vintage photo of the Kaweah Post Office embraced with a border similar to those of the 1910 era. T-shirts with the stamp image on the back, and the postmark on front, are also available through Kaweah Postal Foundation, as are posters.


Post office still operating

  While the centennial event of Oct. 23, 2010 , left all participants smiling, the greatest result, according to Kathleen McCleary, is that the Kaweah Post Office is “Still operating... we are past 50 percent,” she said, comparing the current level of service at Kaweah Post Office to the CPO status that ended on May 31, 2010 .

  Window service, though without authorization to sell postal money orders, send parcels, or postmark mail, continues from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. each day with Susan Goode and Carole Jones alternating at the window.


The future?

  “The Centennial Celebration was such a success,” said Kathleen, who indicated that it exceeded all expectations. The Kaweah Postal Foundation will fund the operation of the post office as long as revenue is created. Kathleen's ultimate goal is to see full window service restored.

  “It could happen in a few ways,” Kathleen explained. “I am still considering privatizing, similar to a Mail Boxes Etc. situation.”

  For information regarding the Kaweah Post Office or how to support its efforts by ordering merchandise, email the Kaweah Postal Foundation at kaweahpostalfoundation@gmail.com .


Why these hills are alive

with the sound of music


By Bill Haxton


  In the mysterious world of natural acoustics, there are far more buildings that don't work sonically than buildings that do.

  We've all experienced rooms that were so acoustically bright and full of echo you couldn't hear yourself think because the clatter and din seemed to be magnified and osterized on its way to your ears.

  We've experienced the other side of the spectrum, too; rooms that are so thuddingly muffled they seem to swallow sound as soon as it's produced.

  For public performances, you want a room somewhere between those two extremes.

  Luckily, we have one right here in Three Rivers. Actually, there may be more, but the Community Presbyterian Church is the one I know about.

  Appreciating the acoustics in the church sanctuary doesn't require fancy instruments to measure attenuation, reflective delay, or reverberance. You can tell on your own.

  Sit anywhere — up front, in the back, it doesn't matter. You can hear every nuance of tone, pitch, rhythm, and phrasing. Close your eyes and you'd think you were alone in the room with the violinist.

  So what is it that makes the Presbyterian Church sanctuary so acoustically excellent?

  First, there's wood everywhere — floor, ceiling and walls. Wood is harder than fabric but softer than steel or concrete.

  When sound waves reach wood, a little bit of the energy is absorbed but most of it is reflected back into the room, sort of a Goldilocks principle: not too little, not too much. Reflected sound is a critical element in the listening experience.

  Second, the shape of the sanctuary is near perfect. The ceiling height is just about ideal, and the room is much longer front to back than it is wide.

  On these counts, the sanctuary bears a striking resemblance to the finest concert halls in the world, all of which were built in the 1800s: Vienna 's Grosser Musikvereinssall, Leipzig 's Gewandhaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam , and Symphony Hall in Boston .

  Like the church sanctuary, these older halls were constructed of wood, which explains why those halls were built long and narrow in the first place. It wasn't for acoustical reasons but because of the structural limitations of wood trusses.

  So why do long, narrow halls sound better than modern halls that are built wide?

  Manfred Schroeder, a researcher at Bell Labs in New Jersey , is credited with figuring it out in the 1970s. In either a wide or a narrow hall, the first sound a listener hears is the sound coming straight out, directly from the stage.

  But a concert puts out sound in all directions. We hear all these other sound waves, too.

  The second wave arrives as a reflection off the nearest surface, the third wave off the next nearest, and so on.

  Here's why the difference in room shape matters. In a wider hall, this first reflection usually comes from the ceiling, which produces an equal signal at both ears.

  In a narrower hall, the first reflections arrive not from the ceiling but from the left and right walls. Because these are coming from the sides, they produce slightly different signals at the left and right ears.

  The differences are subtle but dissimilar enough for the brain to perceive an enhanced spatial or stereophonic quality in a narrower hall, giving a listener the impression of being more fully immersed in the music.

  It's actually that very slight delay in the arrival of the reflected sound that creates the sense of full living presence during a live performance. Too little delay, or too much, and the music just doesn't sound right.

  The ideal delay is between 2/100 and 3/100 of a second. When Mayumi Kanagawa performs tomorrow night, you'll see what I mean.

  Bill Haxton is an organizer of the Winter Concert Series.




Eat cake!


By Tina St. John


  Whoever said you can't have your cake and eat it too? What a funny concept. As if you're going to have cake in front of you without eating it. Never!

  Just the word itself suggests eating. Listen to the sound while pronouncing “cake.” It just has the hum of yum. And it's pretty hard not to make a good one as long as the recipe is followed precisely. The additions for cake are endless and allow for some very creative concoctions.

  Does angel food or devil's food cake suggest something heavenly vs. mischievous sprite?

  Does one have to drink coffee with coffee cake?

  How about a Bundt cake? Growing up I remember going to football games with my dad and wondering why the players were going to “bundt” the ball. At least that's what came to mind when “punting” the ball time came around.

  How about sponge cake? A cake that acts like a sponge and soaks up the syrup that is poured on it?

  What about pancakes? The best invention ever in my opinion. There are a multitude of ways to prepare and eat pancakes, sweet and savory.

  Then there's cheesecake. Originating from the U.K. , cheesecake speaks for itself, if you've ever heard a cheesecake speak.

  We all know about the infamous fruitcake. I used to think fruitcake was for people with unusual minds because one of my brothers used to call me a fruitcake, implying I was peculiar.

  I love cupcakes. Who doesn't love a little cake the size of a cup that's portable and just the right amount of indulgence to satisfy most cravings?

  Then there's all the different cakes from around the world?

  Tres Leches cake from Mexico . My daughter makes that every year for my oldest grandson because of his heritage, and that it happens to be his favorite cake. It's made from evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, and sour cream.

  Petites Four from France are tiny butter cream cakes that should be eaten with tea or coffee like the French do.

  They also eat dacquoise cake made from almonds, hazelnuts, and chocolate. Prepare yourself for some downtime after eating this cake.

  Let's not forget about teacakes from the U.K. A relaxing tribute to relaxing with a cup of tea.

  Bebinca cake from India is made with coconut milk, clarified butter, sugar, and flour. Exotic and delicious!

  I'm a believer that anything and everything from Italy is close to divine perfection, including their tiramisu cake, which is made with coffee and marzipan. And if you can actually find a great tiramisu then there is only one word to utter between the bites. Delizioso !

  Wedding Cakes, Birthday Cakes, Anniversary Cakes, Graduation Cakes. Cakes are way of expression, a way of celebration, and could even be a way of life.

  So next time you hear someone say, “You can't have your cake and eat it too.” Ask them what in the world are they talking about.

  Bon Appetit!



One -Bowl Chocolate Cake


A very simple cake recipe…


2 cups white sugar

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

½ cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water


Preheat oven 350 degrees


Grease and flour two 9” round pans. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Mix in the hot water. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into prepared pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes. Test cake with toothpick.



Simplest Butter Cream Frosting


1 stick butter, softened

4 oz. soft cream cheese

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1/8 cup cream

Sifted powdered sugar


Put all these ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix with mixers at high speed until very fluffy. The more you mix, the fluffier it will get.



Orange zest

Mint extract

Maple extract

Coffee grinds

Toasted nuts




Gerald Gregg

1941 ~ 2010

  Gerald Gregg of Three Rivers passed away at his home on Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 . He was 69.

  A memorial service will be held Friday, Nov. 12, 11 a.m. , at St. Anthony Retreat Center. A luncheon will immediately follow.

  Gerald was born in Oakland to Norman A. and Maryann A. Gregg.

He received his B.A. in Political Science from U.C. Berkeley and his M.A. from San Francisco State University , also in Political Science.   In 1967, he married the former Mignon Swihart.

  Gerald was a man of many talents and wide interests. He pursued a variety of professions and vocations.

  He taught political science at a community college, worked in local politics in the Bay Area, spent three years at sea as a sailor, made backpacking equipment, photographed, and wrote essays.

  Most of all, he and his wife loved to hike. When he lived in the Bay Area, he knew every trail at Point Reyes like the back of his hand.

  During the summers, he and his wife hiked all over California . Over the years, they completed much of the Pacific Crest Trail. He also hiked in the Himalaya and Europe .

  Gerald arrived in Kaweah Country in 1978 after a long backpacking trip that ended in the Mineral King valley. He returned every summer for the next decade to spend a month or more, eventually hiking every trail in the area.

  In 1989, he and Mignon bought a cabin in Silver City , which Gerald lovingly restored. So when it came time for retirement, Three Rivers was the obvious choice. The Greggs have resided here for 12 years.

Gerald was a nurturer. He loved to garden, take care of his animals, feed the birds, cook, make things beautiful, and spend time with his family and friends.

  In addition to his wife of 43 years, Mignon, Gerald is survived by two brothers, Robert Gregg and Kenneth Gregg.

  Remembrances may be made to the Mineral King Preservation Society, P.O. Box 286 , Exeter , CA 93221 .


Clarice Hawthorne

1915 ~ 2010

  Clarice Dyer Hawthorne passed away peacefully Tuesday, Oct, 26, 2010 , at her Three Rivers home. She was 95.

  Clarice was born September 5, 1915 , on her parents' ranch in Nez Perce, Idaho . She was the eldest child of Herbert R. Turner and Minnie Costley Turner.

  Clarice was raised in Idaho before her family moved to Sacramento , where she attended Sacramento Union High School .

  On March 14, 1937 , Clarice married her first husband of 31 years, Robert Lee Dyer, in Reno, Nev. In addition to raising five sons, the Dyers opened their hearts and home to many foster children.

  In the 1960s, Clarice and Robert owned and operated a community market in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1967, they moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

  In Idaho, Clarice worked for the U.S. Forest Service. She retired from government service in 1979.

  Following the death of her first husband, Robert, Clarice married Evern “Chick” Hawthorne in Coeur d'Alene , Idaho , in 1972. The couple moved to Three Rivers in 1982, where they were members of the Church at Kaweah.

  Clarice was preceded in death by her first husband Robert Lee Dyer and her second husband of 30 years, Chick Hawthorne; her brother Harold Turner; son Larry Cardoza; and grandchildren Brent Allen Dyer, Elizabeth Cardoza, Gail Cardoza, and Gina Lynn Dyer.

  Clarice is survived by her children, Donald Cardoza, Robert Lee Dyer Jr., Leon Lynn Dyer, and Kenneth Dean Dyer; her grandchildren Laurie, John, Diane, Becky, Donnell, Vincent, Randy, Rodney, Scott, Damon and Sierra; 17 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

  Graveside services were held Wednesday, Nov. 3, at the Three Rivers Cemetery .




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
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