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In the News - Friday, November 9, 2012




Barack Obama reelected; Measure I trailing

  Since the 2000 Florida fiasco, problems at the polls are notorious in a plethora of places where even three days after Tuesday’s election voters are still waiting for results in the presidential election. Three Rivers voters encountered similar confusion at the Memorial Building polling place and now the critical Measure I, a local parcel tax to support Three Rivers School, must depend on mail-in and provisional ballots to provide it with the more than five percent needed to pass the measure.
   The Tulare County Elections Office final summary report contained these results for Measure I— YES: 61.61%; NO: 38.39. Though it is improbable that the additional 5.06 percent might be gleaned from an estimated 200 to 300 uncounted ballots, it is not impossible.
   Ann Turner, Tulare County’s elections division manager, said Wednesday that county wide there are more than 60,000 uncounted ballots. Totals will be updated on the Elections Department’s website periodically.
  “We have until December 4 to certify the results of Tuesday’s voting and in the close races there might be some changes,” Turner said.
   In Three Rivers, a number of voters weren’t on the registered voters list and they were instructed to file a provisional ballot. Others who were registered properly did not have a ballot and also had to file a provisional.
  “We had a larger than usual turnout today and ran out of ballots,” said Jill Campbell, supervisor of the Three Rivers precinct. “I’ve never seen anything quite like this election.”
   The provisional ballots (and it’s estimated there are more than 200) not only have to be counted but each one must be verified that the voter’s registration is valid. Turner said she doesn’t expect final results in Three Rivers until at least next week and it might take longer.
   The problem at the polls appears to have been caused by some Three Rivers voters who were arbitrarily assigned to vote by mail and either ignored the notice as junk mail or never received any notice of the change.
   Though Measure I results are yet to be decided, there was some encouraging news for Three Rivers School. The passage of the statewide Proposition 30 means that TRUS could potentially receive $441 per student or $61,016.
   Superintendent, principal, and eighth-grade teacher Sue Sherwood said the Proposition 30 money is not a given but if and when it does come, it will be a Band-Aid at best.
“We remain hopeful that we have the votes necessary to pass Measure I,” Sue said.
   In other races that directly affect Three Rivers, Dianne Feinstein-D, California’s incumbent U.S. Senator was reelected. In the 23rd Congressional District, incumbent Kevin McCarthy-R of Bakersfield was also reelected.
   In the coming weeks, the Commonwealth will look inside the Tulare County numbers and publish complete election results in the national, state, and local races of interest.

Sequoia movie on location in Three Rivers

  After shooting several days in Balch Park, the cast and crew of the new Sequoia movie returned to Three Rivers on Wednesday to work on some of the film’s most dramatic scenes. Scenes in Balch Park consisted of additional shots that, in the movie set to be released in 2013, will appear as Sequoia National Park footage.
   Producer Giles Andrew said Balch Park, 20 miles northeast of Springville was chosen for its isolated setting, giant sequoias, and picturesque pond. Some of the more difficult access issues of filming in Sequoia National Park (like coping with road construction delays) are not present at Balch Park, a county park.
   Eric Coyne, Tulare County Film Commissioner, said his office goes all out to permit and accommodate these cinema companies when they come calling.
  “These movies, or any filming activities, create widespread economic benefits for Tulare County,” Coyne said. “The temporary influx of a film crew provides a shot in the arm for local hotels, motels, restaurants, and retail businesses. Some companies even hire locally and that creates new jobs.”
   Coyne recently returned from meetings with Hollywood producers and said another “big-name movie” is scheduled to be filmed in Tulare County and details will be announced soon.
   For the Sequoia movie, Sierra Subs & Salads has delivered on location hundreds of box lunches. Buckeye Tree Lodge and the Gateway Restaurant have furnished lodging and fed both cast and crew.
   While scouting out the Balch Park location, Andrew said he attended the Apple Festival in Springville during the weekend of October 20 and 21.
  “I was really impressed by Springville’s downtown area but Three Rivers feels even more small and inviting to me,” Andrew said. “I grew up in a small town and this place reminds me of home. We just love it here and the folks have all been great to us.”
   On Wednesday, the latest scene shifted from park-like setting to the terrace of the Gateway Restaurant. Local extras, appearing as restaurant patrons, were seated all around the movie’s main characters, Reilly (Aly Michalka) and Ogden (Dustin Milligan). Ogden tries to convince Reilly that suicide won’t make anything better.
   Reilly reasons that there are plenty of experts who believe suicide is a viable option and makes perfect sense. Reilly is trying to come to terms with a recent diagnosis of an incurable cancer.
   Ogden counters Reilly’s rationale by trying to appeal to his girlfriend’s guilt.
  “Don’t try that Christian charity with me,” Reilly warned.
  “The script is filled with lots of moral lessons and really makes you think about the consequences of your actions,” said Dustin.
   Dustin, cast as Aly’s love interest, is most convincing when he tells his co-star that “every day is a gift” and your life no matter what challenge you must face is still worth living.
   Along with Michalka, the movie also marks a coming of age for the 27-year-old Milligan.   Born and raised in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, Dustin has had an active career in film and television since he made his debut on the ABC network’s Perfect Romance.
   Fan websites describe Dustin as one of Hollywood’s most eligible hunks, and there are several shirtless shots posted. He has appeared in 16 films since 2005 and is best known for his role as Ethan Ward in the CW’s 90210, a spin-off of the 1990s primetime drama Beverly Hills 90210.
   After an off day Thursday, the company resumes shooting a scene at the Buckeye Tree Lodge and footage at the Oak Grove Bridge on the Mineral King Road. When the Tulare County shots have been completed, the company will wrap up on-location filming in Santa Clarita.

Cold and frost in the forecast

  A cold front preceded the arrival of a much cooler airmass when it moved southward across Central California yesterday. High temperatures were 10 to 20 degrees lower than the previous several days that had daytime temperatures in the mid 80s. No precipitation is expected with this weather system, but gusty winds produced areas of blowing dust in the San Joaquin Valley, prompting the Air Pollution Control District to issue a health warning due to unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter.
   Following on the heels of this system was another cold front that came in from the north on Thursday night, accompanied by showers in the mountains and perhaps as low as the Sierra foothills. By late today (Friday, Nov. 9), wet weather is likely with snow levels lowering to 2,500 feet elevation and four to six inches of snow in the higher elevations, especially north of Kings Canyon National Park, and gusty winds in the mountain passes.
   Daytime temperatures are forecast to be in the 40s to 50s in the foothills on Friday, Nov. 9. The cold weather will park here through the weekend with not much of a chance of precipitation but, instead, a forecast of frost on Sunday and Monday mornings.
   The third segment of a prescribed fire block in the Grant Grove area was ignited this week, containing 297 acres. The fire may not smolder for long as the next chance for showers will be midweek.

3R artists go national, international

by Holly Gallo

  On the political scene— Three Rivers artist Dave Kinsey is no stranger to recognition for his original and diverse mixed media art works, but his most recent piece is drawing decidedly more national attention.
   Kinsey designed a special edition poster entitled “United” to raise funds for the Obama/Biden 2012 campaign. Kinsey’s wife, Jana DesForges, said that he was able to donate over $1,000 almost overnight to the reelection campaign.
   The poster — which features a stylistic peace sign-sporting hand akin to his work shown in the October Melbourne Backwoods Gallery exhibition “A Study of Hands” — is also available for free download on kinseyvisual.com for people to create their own prints. The free version “got a lot of positive responses as well,” DesForges said.
   His online archive at kinseyvi sual.com also boasts commissioned work for Absolut Vodka’s “Absolut Blank” campaign and two installations for The Standard Hotel in Los Angeles. Kinsey’s work has been displayed in 26 solo and group exhibitions from San Francisco to Tokyo since 1994.
   The poster is available at www.blkmrktgallery.com/store/ or on his professional website for $30. All proceeds were contributed to the president’s reelection campaign.
   On the international scene— Another local artist, photographer Megan Brim, has received international attention for her film photography. French quarterly magazine Sciences Occultes dedicated eight pages to Brim’s artwork featuring otherworldly postproduction as well the naturalistic art photography of Kaweah Country scenes in their fall issue.
   Brim, a 2008 Woodlake High School graduate, is currently attending the California College of the Arts in Oakland. She said that though she’s since moved away from Three Rivers, the community remains her “home away from home.”
  “I can be worry-free when I’m up in the Big Trees,” she continued. “It’s my escape from anything and everything. It’s awe-inspiring.”

Search called off for Larry Conn

  The outlook seems gloomy for the fate of Larry Conn, a backpacker that went missing in the Kings Canyon National Park/Inyo National Forest wilderness, and searchers have packed up and left the area. The 53-year-old lawyer from Pacific Palisades was last seen Friday, Oct. 19, at the Taboose Creek trailhead on the east side of the Sierra.
   He was due back from his trip on Monday, Oct. 22, and was reported overdue on October 23. Search teams on foot and by air searched the vast landscape, ranging in elevation from 8,000 to 14,000 feet, for more than a week with not a single clue found of the missing man. At its height, the widespread aerial and ground search involved 56 personnel from several different agencies, with 10 ground search teams, three dog teams, and five helicopters.
   A winter storm that arrived in the area on the evening of October 20 dumped around 12 inches of snow in the 48-square-mile search area and obliterated tracks that may have helped pinpoint his location.
   With overnight temperatures dropping as low as 15 degrees and with snowdrifts making foot travel extremely difficult, any chance of Conn making it out of the High Sierra alive is rapidly diminishing. However, given the right clothing and equipment, some form of shelter, and the ability to melt snow to provide water, a successful outcome remains a possibility.   Conn’s extensive hiking and backpacking experience could assist in his survival efforts.
   Larry is 5 feet, 10 inches, tall, weighs 160 pounds, has short black hair sprinkled with gray, and has a mustache and goatee. He was likely wearing dark clothing, may have a red or yellow bandana, and could be using a dark gray or blue backpack, and a tan/red dome tent.
   Anyone who may have been in the Taboose Pass/John Muir Trail area during this time and saw Conn or interacted with him during his hike, or noticed any signs of a hiker being in the area (campsite, outdoor gear) should immediately contact Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ dispatch at (559) 565-3195 or the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department at (760) 878-0383.

Newly reorganized WHS Pep Squad

knows Character Counts everyday

By Holly Gallo

  The Woodlake High School Pep Squad’s intoxicating spirit of inclusiveness and community has grabbed far broader attention than merely that of their schoolmates and neighbors. At a special ceremony on Monday, Oct. 29, marking the conclusion the Character Counts Week, the squad was the top honoree and recipient of the Provident-Salierno Family Foundation Character Counts award for the Pillar of Citizenship for their upstanding support of Gabby Medina, a special-needs student on their cheer team.
   Volunteer squad coach and organizer, Irene Barba, is a teacher at a Tulare County Office of Education satellite class for students with intellectual disabilities, in its first year on the Woodlake High School campus. At the beginning of the cheer season, Barba approached WHS principal Lisa Castillo about allowing Gabby, the only girl in her class, to join the squad as a partial participant.
   The resulting camaraderie was inspiring to Barba.
  “The other girls accept that as a squad they will most probably appear off more times than not,” Barba said in her Character Counts nomination letter. “However, Gabby and her happiness by being included are more important to them.”
  “We have our share of challenges,” she continued. “But I am extremely pleased with the care and attention my girls give Gabby as a member of their pep squad.”
   What’s more, the squad members’ affection for Gabby is just as sincere off the field. Barba said that not only do the girls encourage Gabby and guide her through the cheers, but they also take Gabby with them on breaks and make sure she is never alone.
   When Gabby was nominated as a homecoming queen candidate, her squad friends supported her and made her a good luck banner. Even former squad members, who have since graduated from Woodlake, have come to games to show Gabby support.
   The squad’s nomination was just one of 6,000 letters considered by the Foundation to receive the award, according to Barba. Singled out amidst the five other finalists considered for the Pillar of Citizenship, Woodlake’s pep squad received $500 in addition to being recognized as the top honoree.
   Barba said the funds will go into the squad’s account, and she is considering the possibility of using some of the winnings to make special T-shirts for this year’s team that commemorates their citizenship.
  “All the girls would get a shirt that says, ‘I’m with Gabby,’” she said. “Gabby would get a shirt that says, ‘I’m with the team.’”
   Locally, Character Counts is an annual presentation of the Tulare County Office of Education. Students from all over Tulare County are nominated for the exemplifying each of the six character pillars: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.
   Nationwide, the Character Counts program is an initiative that embraces these six core values common to a democratic society that allows teachers, parents, and community members to build and develop character in youth while combatting youth violence, irresponsibility, and dishonesty. The six core values intentionally transcend cultural, religious, political, and socioeconomic differences.

Honestly Now!

What’s on the schedule for WHS thespians

By Holly Gallo

  The Woodlake High School Theatre Arts troupe will present local audiences with criminally amusing entertainment in their production of Jack Sharkey’s eccentric comedy of ruffians and thieves, “Honestly, Now!” Three evenings of performances will be held from November 15 to 17.
   WHS Theatre Arts instructor Barbara Hallmeyer directs the show, which will be performed and produced by WHS students Lauren Moore, Maryrose Kulick, and Selena Harrison, all of Three Rivers; and Cindy Ortega, Nate Deitz, Alberto Ponce, T.J. Rivas, Jessica Diaz, Ivan Ortega, Luci Martinez, Hollie Albright, Alonzo Martinez, and Ethan Dietz.
   Special entertainment will be provided for the intermission period, and audiences can expect surprise cameos from Woodlake staff and administration members.
   Curtain rises each evening at 7 p.m. Admission for adults is $4; $3 for senior citizens and military; $1 for children under 12 and students.


Bob Leyhe
1928 ~ 2012

   Robert James Leyhe, a 16-year resident of Three Rivers, died Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. He was 84.
   A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 10), 11 a.m., at Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers. Burial will be at Forest Lawn Cypress Cemetery in Cypress.
   Bob was born July 11, 1928, in Brea. In 1949, Bob married Juanelle “Nell” Wood, whom he had know since junior high school. The couple purchased one of the original Lakewood tract homes in 1950 and raised their three children there. Bob was a welder.
   In 1995, Bob and Ness retired to Three Rivers, where they built their dream home. Bob was active in community service and was a member of Community Presbyterian Church and its Firesiders group, Comfort for Kids, and, proudly, the Three Rivers Lions Club.
   He gave back to the Lions Club by mowing the Roping Arena grass and enjoyed delivering medical equipment to anyone with a need.
   He enjoyed family camping trips, making pancakes for this grandchildren, John Wayne movies, and watching the action on the horseshoe pit at his home.
   In 2009, Bob was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Nell. He was also preceded in death by his son, Bob, and grandson Buddy.
   He is survived by his daughter Susan and husband Marty; son Jeff; his grandchildren, Michelle, Audrey, and Shannon; great-grandchildren Noah and Madison; his brother-in-law  Jay Wood (Nell’s brother) and wife Betty; sister-in-law Peggy; and many nieces and nephews.
   In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Three Rivers Lions Club (P.O. Box 206, Three Rivers) or the American Cancer Society.

Sid Miller
1937 ~ 2012

   Sirila “Sid” Quezada Miller died Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at her Three Rivers home. She was 75.
   A graveside service will be held Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m., at Exeter District Cemetery.
   Sid was born February 20, 1937, to Jose and Cirila Quezada in Lindcove. She was raised in Lindcove and Lemon Cove and attended Sequoia Union School and Exeter High School.   In 1959, she graduated from College of the Sequoias and, in 1963, from Fresno State University.
   In 1970, she married Bill Miller. Sid had a passion for music her entire life. She played the piano and guitar, but also played (and taught) many other percussion and stringed instruments.
   She incorporated her love of music into her 28-year teaching career. She spent half of her career as a kindergarten and first-grade teacher in San Joaquin and San Jose, then retiring in 1996 after 14 years at Woodlake High School, where she taught guitar classes, Mexican Performing Arts, Mexican Folk Dance, and Choir.
   Upon her retirement, Bill and Sid built a home in Three Rivers, a place she had always loved.
   Sid is survived by her husband of 42 years, Bill; siblings Charles Quezada of Palo Alto, Olivia Dalseme of Camarillo, Virginia Pires of Visalia, Jose Quezada of El Paso, Texas, and Lupe Mestas of Ontario; and nearly two dozen nieces and nephews scattered throughout the country.

Bob Dixon
1921 ~ 2012

   Robert Lester Dixon, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, in Huntington Beach due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 91.
   A celebration of Bob’s life will be held Saturday, June 29, 2013, at 11 a.m., at Community Presbyterian Church.
   Bob was born July 23, 1921, in Los Angeles to Lester and Birdie Dixon. He was raised in Los Angeles until the family relocated to Three Rivers in 1938. Bob graduated from Woodlake High School.
   Here are some of Bob’s Three Rivers memories:
   From city to country— “In 1938, mom and dad bought a ranch in Three Rivers. It was 137 acres with two houses, one horse, tractor and all equipment, orange groves, cows, and chickens for $14,000. To do this, they sold their home and borrowed from their insurance.   We moved into one of the houses, which had running water but no inside toilet. Mom cooked on a wood stove, which had pipes running through it and provided heated water for the house. Dad and I dug the pit for the septic system by hand. Then Dad built a bathroom with toilet and shower... I am grateful for my life on a working ranch, working with animals, living in the country.”
   Teen pranks— “My teenage years in Three Rivers were fun. Being in high school attending basketball and football games, and being involved in Christian Endeavor. One night two of us took Dad’s old Studebaker, let some of the air out of the tires, got the car on the railroad tracks, and drove to Lemon Cove with the lights off and the radio going.” (Editor’s note: I happen to know that Bob’s companion in this adventure was my dad, Jim Barton, who was raised in Three Rivers and still resides here. —Sarah Elliott)
   Bob entered the U.S. Army in 1943, serving in World War II where he fought during the Omaha Beach Invasion and Battle of the Bulge and serving in Japan.
   I served 3 years, 3 months, and 10 days in the service. I was proud to have served in the defense of our country... I traveled to San Pedro, Fort MacArthur, and was discharged January 6, 1946. Mom and Dad drove down to Los Angeles to meet me. Then home to Three Rivers!
   On February 15, 1947, Bob married the former Mary Leake of Three Rivers, whom he had first met while at Woodlake High School.
   I gave her the ring in Three Rivers while we were sitting in the car on the Three Rivers Union School grounds... We were married at the Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers.
In his younger years, Bob worked on and off for his uncle, who owned L.E. Dixon Construction Company.
   Dixon Company had no more jobs in Southern California, so we went back home to Three Rivers. We rented the small house on Mom and Dad’s place, the first home that the Dixon family lived in when we moved to Three Rivers.

   After working at Sequoia National Park for three years, the couple moved to Southern California, where Bob went to work for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in 1952, a job he held until his retirement.
   A few years after Mary passed away, Bob married the former Laura Smith.
   In addition to his wife, Laura, Bob is survived by his four children, Tom, Anne, Sue, and Carol; his grandchildren and great-grandchildren; his brother, Vernon Dixon of Three Rivers; and sister; Lois Dixon Smith, of Hemet.

Barbara Bachmeyer
1931 ~ 2012

   Barbara Joan Bachmeyer, a former longtime resident of Three Rivers, died Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Visalia, following a long decline related to brain injury. She was 80.
   A private family memorial service will be held Saturday, Nov. 10, in Badger. Interment will be at the Eshom Valley Cemetery.
   Barbara was born in Vinita, Okla., on December 10, 1931, to Louis W. and Cora E. Roberts. She spent her childhood with her parents and three brothers on the family ranch in Daniel, Wyo. After her father’s death in 1945, Barbara boarded with families during the long Wyoming winters in order to finish school, graduating from Jackson High School in 1949.
   During the last year of high school and until her subsequent marriage she was a foster daughter of William and Mildred Smith of Jackson, Wyo. She worked as a telephone operator (Operator #2) for the local phone company after graduating from high school.
   Barbara married Kenneth D. Bachmeyer at the Church of the Transfiguration in Moose, Wyo., in Grand Teton National Park. Ken was employed by the National Park Service.
   The couple moved around the western United States working in various national parks. In 1973, Ken accepted a position at Sequoia National Park, and the couple and their three children settled in Three Rivers. As she had in all the places she lived, Barbara made fast and lasting friendships.
   In 1976, Barbara went to work at the local branch of Bank of America (located where Pizza Factory is today). She held her position of teller for the next 14 years.
   After Ken and Barbara retired, they spent a number of blissful years traveling throughout the country and their beloved West, riding the “gravy train,” as Barbara referred to their months-long sojourns with family and friends across the country. It had been Barbara’s dream to travel and she was able to do plenty of it during these years.
   Barbara is survived by her husband, Kenneth D. Bachmeyer; her three children, daughter Joni Bachmeyer Jordan and husband Larry Jordan, daughter Chris Bachmeyer Phillips and her husband Zachary Phillips, and son Kenneth D. (Buzz) Bachmeyer, Jr.; 10 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; her brother and sister-in-law Sid and Linda Roberts; brother and sister-in-law Steve and Tina Roberts; and many nieces and nephews.
   In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Tulare County Foundation, 900 W. Oak Ave., Visalia, CA 93291.
   Condolences may be emailed to info@salseranddillard.com.

Harold Soule
1925 ~ 2012

   Harold Soule of Three Rivers died Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. He was 87.
   Private services were held.

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
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