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In the News - Friday, NOVEMBER 9, 2007

EMS update

provided at

town meeting

   The monthly Town Hall meeting held Monday evening, Nov. 5, featured updates on several key issues including a glimpse into the future for ambulance services in Tulare County. Dan Lynch, a director on the board of the Central California Emergency Medical Services Agency, addressed the gathering and began with an overview of how his agency oversees the providers.
   Lynch’s agency functions as a division of the Fresno County Department of Community Health and oversees emergency medical services (EMS) in Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare counties. He and the other directors meet regularly with EMS advisory committees in each county to furnish input to each county’s EMS agency and their respective board of supervisors.
   The principal functions of the umbrella EMS agency is the planning, implementation, and evaluation of emergency services. What they are responsible for relative to ambulance services includes the monitoring of EMT training, paramedics, and mobile intensive-care nursing.
   The hot button in Tulare County right now, Lynch said, is the establishing of the exclusive operating areas and how the contracts are being monitored. That mostly comes down to response time standards, and Lynch described the current service in Tulare County as “not acceptable.”
   A few years ago, Lynch said, Tulare County was the only county of 58 in California without paramedic ambulance services. That changed in the last decade, and now of the nine providers in the county, six are paramedic ambulance companies, based in the cities, and operated as businesses.
   Three, including the Three Rivers Ambulance, are staffed by volunteers. Rusty Crain, a longtime member of the local ambulance committee, said Three Rivers is the oldest continuously operating ambulance service in Tulare County, established in 1951.
   In the immediate future, Lynch said, the Three Rivers Ambulance will continue to provide the same level of EMT-II quality care that they have in the past. What he said they would like to see happen is that with more overlapping coverage in areas like Lemon Cove, a response time standard of 20 minutes in rural areas and eight minutes in the cities would become the norm rather than the exception, especially for the outlying areas of the county.

  “Right now there are no response time standards,” Lynch said. “The [Tulare County] Board of Supervisors has given the six companies the opportunity to fix the problems, and we’re confident that the current providers can do the job.”
   Lynch said that the difficult part was to stir the pot and get the conversation started. The BOS, he said, is convinced that the industry standard of eight and 20 minutes is realistic for Tulare County.

  “I feel that it is the county’s responsibility to provide a quality level of care,” Lynch said. “If the present companies are unable or unwilling to meet the standards then we’re going to have to find other providers to get the job done.”
   In other Town Hall business, Alexandra Picavet, a spokesperson for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, said that the Generals Highway Road reconstruction is winding down and the traffic signals might be removed as soon as this weekend. The Moro Rock-Crescent Meadow Road is currently closed as it is now being repaired.
   Picavet also announced that Russ Wilson, the former deputy superintendent, departed to become superintendent at Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina. Wilson’s position will not be filled but consolidated in another administrative post.
   Tom Sparks, on behalf of the Three Rivers Village Foundation, announced that the next Town Hall meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 3. Supervisor Allen Ishida is scheduled to speak on the use of Measure R funds and provide an update the ongoing ambulance contract negotiations.

Proposed wilderness bill

receives some tinkering

   For most of its intents and appearances, the bill that seeks to designate Mineral King as the John Krebs Wilderness seems like a no-brainer. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) wants to commemorate the national park land for John Krebs, a former Fresno County supervisor and democratic Congressman who was responsible for the legislation that transferred Mineral King to Sequoia National Park in 1978.
   In effect, the 1978 legislation preserved the Mineral King area from being developed as a ski resort. Krebs, 80, still lives in Fresno, and Costa thinks it would be a fitting tribute while Krebs can still appreciate it.
   The Krebs bill introduced on July 12, 2007, by Costa, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Visalia), and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), designates 69,500 acres in the Mineral King area as the John Krebs Wilderness.
   At a reading of the bill on October 30 before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Karen Taylor Goodrich, NPS associate director stated:

  “While we believe this designation is appropriate we would like to work… on amendments that would address concerns raised.”
   The main concern was raised by Mineral King cabin owners who objected to the wilderness designation that customarily sets boundaries to about 200 feet from resources like cabins that would be excluded. The bill, as amended, contains boundaries one-half mile from the cabin communities that form the nexus of the historic Mineral King Road cultural landscape district.
   The authors of the Krebs bill said the Park Service is going to have to bend. Taylor-Goodrich said a political compromise is important because it garnered the support of cabin owners for the wilderness designation.
   Besides the Mineral King wilderness, the bill also adds 45,186 acres to the existing Sequoia-Kings Canyon wilderness areas. Because these lands already have national park status, only a few management changes are expected.

Park plans MK prescribed fire

   As long as conditions permit, Sequoia National Park fire managers are planning to ignite the Davenport Prescribed Fire along the Mineral King Road as early as Monday, Nov. 12. The unit is 858 acres between Lookout Point and Atwell Mill.
   Deb Schweizer, Sequoia-Kings Canyon fire education specialist, explains that it is problematic to predict too far in advance when a prescribed fire project will begin since the weather and air quality parameters determine when the “prescription conditions” are met. These conditions — local weather, weather predictions, and air quality — define when the project can be safely conducted and achieve the desired ecological goals, she continued. Often, fire managers determine the timing of a prescribed fire only a day or two in advance.
   In other fire news, two fires were discovered in the parks after the lightning storms of Monday, Oct. 29. The Baldy Ridge Fire, located about a half-mile from Big Baldy in Kings Canyon (6,900 feet elevation) has currently burned about three acres.
   The Hidden Fire is at less than an acre, burning near Hidden Springs in the Yucca Ridge area of Sequoia (5,650 feet). This fire could become more active if dry weather continues.

Wacky weather

is La Nina norm

   After wildland fires fueled by hurricane-force winds, sheet lightning, torrential rain, and deadly Tule fog, California weather watchers can only wonder what might be next. Nobody seems to know what will happen during the current La Nina season and that’s because weather often is like nature itself: one of the planet’s greatest mysteries.
   La Nina is the less intense little sister — contrasted with the more macho big brother El Nino — warming of equatorial currents that influence how Pacific moisture tracks across the western U.S. during California’s rainy season. Its effect is often pronounced during the earlier months of the season from October to January.
   A La Nina that intensifies may signal the return of an El Nino that has, since 1970, averaged about one strong occurrence every seven years. The latest climate change theory goes, as the ocean temperature warms, there will be more frequent El Nino seasons and storms may be expected to intensify.
   For this season, the best guess is that the Bay Area and Northern California will get buckets of rain through December and January, then taper off to an early, warm spring especially in the San Joaquin Valley. Southern California ill continue to cope with drought.
   The recent, mild summer in the San Joaquin Valley usually means some radical weather will follow. Another measuring stick is the dynamic between ocean temperature and coastal land temperature, which this season suggests that the typical Pacific storms will make landfall in January.
   Weird water may be the best trends of all as climatologists are scratching their collective heads at some recent phenomenon. For the second consecutive summer the waters off the Farallon Islands National Marine Sanctuary are teeming with so many creatures it is one of the richest marine regions on the planet right now.
   Bird watchers are saying there has never been so many murres, puffins, and gulls that the birds are shoulder to shoulder for the first time ever that anyone can remember. But curiously, the salmon are almost non-existent.
   After predictions of a banner run by the Department of Fish and Game, the big schools of salmon are nowhere to be found. The charter fleet from the Golden Gate to Morro Bay is only picking up a stray fish or two.
   Salty coastal old-timers say it makes no sense especially where you have birds and sardines in the number that are at places like Farallon Island. But halibut, which were once thought to be all headed to Alaska, are suddenly back in unprecedented numbers east of the Golden Gate.
   The lack of salmon though is not only confined to coastal ocean waters. It’s the same story upriver where the main salmon fisheries -- the Sacramento, the Feather, the American, and the Smith, have yet to record a single catch on a guided trip since the season began in August.
   Closer to home the early season precipitation has the ground vegetation sprouting an impressive verdant crop. This season to date has already 2.57 inches of rainfall compared to a paltry .61 one year ago (Nov. 13, 2006).
   Incredible as it may seem, the total for the entire season 2006-07 was 11.40 inches of rainfall in the Three Rivers environs. The last appreciable rainfall was recorded on May 2.

OBITUARIES

Bryan Fields
1956 ~ 2007

   Bryan W. Fields, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Thursday, July 12, 2007, in Seattle, Wash. He was 50.
   A celebration of life will be held on what would have been his 51st birthday — Sunday, Nov. 11 — 10 a.m., at The Gateway Restaurant. The event will begin with a brunch; RSVP to The Gateway, 561-4133.
   Bryan and his wife, Sunny, were formerly owners of The Cabin coffee shop and Whitewater Gallery, which they purchased in 2005. In addition, Bryan was a programming engineer for The Boeing Company, working in the aviation industry for more than 20 years.
   Bryan was born Nov. 11, 1956, in Ketchikan, Alaska, to Wes and Mary Fields. Bryan’s father was in the U.S. Coast Guard, so Bryan was raised in Ketchikan and Kodiak, Alaska; Astoria, Ore.; on several of the Hawaiian islands; and spent his teen years in San Diego.
   Bryan’s passion was music of any kind. He played the trumpet and various string instruments.
   In addition to his wife of 14 years, Sunny, Bryan is survived by three daughters, Wendy Crossland and husband Craig, Christy Harrison and husband Kenny, and Crystal Fields; his father, Carl; three brothers, David, Richard, and Robert, all of San Diego; six grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
   Because Bryan truly believed in paying it forward, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bryan’s name to: Three Rivers Union School, Art and Music Department, P.O. Box 99, Three Rivers, CA 93271.

Notice of deaths

DENVER CARR
1912 ~ 2007

Denver Carr, a 41-year resident of Three Rivers, died Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, at his home. A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 20, 1 p.m., at the Community Presbyterian Church, Three Rivers.

PATRICIA BRITTEN LAUDER
1920 ~ 2007

Pat Lauder, who lived seven decades in Three Rivers, died Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, at her Visalia home. Visitation will be Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2 to 5 pm, at Salser-Dillard Funeral Chapel, 127 E. Caldwell, Visalia. A graveside service will be Wednesday, Nov. 21, 11 a.m., at Three Rivers Cemetery with a luncheon immediately following at Harrison Hall, Community Presbyterian Church.

 
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