In the News -
Friday, november 10, 2006
votes are in… almost
County road tax too close to call,
has two new members,
state and federal
Tulare County’s Measure R received just enough votes
at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7, to pass but its ultimate fate might depend
on the more than 15,000 absentee and provisional votes that are still
the final vote totals in those races that are still too close to call
could take up to 28 days,” said Hiley Wallis, Tulare County Elections
Wallis also said that the elections office would not be able
to provide a final breakdown of precincts (such as how Three Rivers voted)
at least until next week.
In other local races of importance, both Republican incumbents
Devin Nunes and Bill Maze were returned to the U.S. Congress and the State
Assembly, respectively. Roy Ashburn, Bakersfield Republican and District
18’s State Senator, also won handily and was reelected for another
In the four-candidate race for three seats on the Three Rivers
Union School board, incumbent Bobbie Harris, Bob Burke, and Scott Sherwood
were the top three finishers. Sherwood edged out candidate Art Ogawa by
In the Woodlake race for the elementary school board, where
again four candidates were vying for three seats, Debi Baker, Joe Hallmeyer,
and Joe Martinez were victorious.
In the race for Woodlake City Council, voters returned three
incumbents: Frances Ortiz, Chuck Ray, and Raul Gonzales.
In another local race where voters had to pick three out
of four on the Sequoia Union School board in Lemon Cove, Rocky Garbarino,
Bradley Ward, and Jenny Ayres were elected to serve.
Statewide, Jerry Brown, the Democratic candidate for attorney general,
added to the Brown legend in California politics. The former two-term
governor and current mayor of Oakland bested Chuck Poochigian, Fresno
Republican, by the largest margin of any statewide candidate.
Among the propositions approved were 1A: Transportation;
1B: Highway safety; 1C: Housing, shelter; 1D: Schools; 1E: Levee repair;
Proposition 83: Restrict sex offenders; and Proposition 84: Parks and
The other propositions including the cigarette tax (86) and
restricting eminent domain (90) were among the controversial measures
that were defeated. For Proposition 90, yes votes were predominant in
California’s rural areas including Tulare County.
is one time when we can than thank the cities around the state for helping
our county,” said George Finney, Tulare County’s director
of long-range planning.
In what might prove to be a trend, with the election of Gayle
McLaughlin, Richmond will become the largest city in America with a Green
Nationally, the Democrats regained control of Congress. Nancy
Pelosi, 66, a Democrat from San Francisco and former minority leader,
will become the first woman Speaker of the House. Her stated priorities
are to help end the war in Iraq, raise the minimum wage, and make stem
cell research a federal priority.
A more complete analysis of the Three Rivers precincts will
be made available after the absentee and provisional votes are tallied.
Speed a factor in wreck
When Armando Cano of Exeter left Three Rivers last Thursday
afternoon (November 2), he did what many drivers do routinely. He approached
the left-hand curve just beyond the entrance to the Slick Rock at a high
rate of speed.
A CHP officer at the scene estimated Cano, 21, was driving
his 1990 Honda Accord westbound at 75 miles per hour when he lost control.
After turning the vehicle back to the right in attempt to gain control
Cano plunged off the embankment where he collided with a rock below the
Cano, who was wearing a safety belt, was shaken but uninjured
in the mishap. He was not arrested.
A CHP spokesperson said that accidents like these on mountain
roads are common and often result in fatalities. Motorists are strongly
advised to slow down, observe all posted speed limits, and always wear
Veterans, military free
On Saturday, Nov. 11, U.S. veterans, members of the U.S.
Armed Forces, and their families will be admitted free to Sequoia and
Kings Canyon National Parks and Giant Sequoia National Monument, as well
as most public lands administered by the Department of the Interior (national
parks and BLM) and Department of Agriculture (national forests). This
is expected to become an annual tradition to honor members of the military.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have a strong connection
to the military, who acted as the first official caretakers of these national
treasures. For many years, Cavalry troops inhabited the parks, protecting
them, building infrastructure, and mapping many of the natural features.
Also, the General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park
was proclaimed a National Shrine in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The official dedication was made 50 years ago this year on Veterans Day.
The Grant Tree is the only living national shrine to the
men and women of the U.S. who gave their lives in service to their country.
invite everyone, especially our veterans and active military and their
families, to visit the General Grant Tree this Veterans Day,” said
Craig Axtell, Sequoia-Kings Canyon superintendent. “What better
way to honor the sacrifice of our veterans than by visiting this national
For updated road and weather conditions in the local parks,
Restaurant rekindles fond memories
Café now open
If you have been frequent visitor or are a resident of Three
Rivers, then it’s likely you have some fond memories of the Sierra
Drive restaurant that recently reopened as The Hummingbird Café.
The familiar riverside café has been a popular Three Rivers eatery
since the 1940s and has made many friends and fans over the decades.
New owner Jerrie Contreras, who with her husband Joe Vasquez
acquired the property — formerly known as the Noisy Water Café
and, more recently, Main Fork Bistro — this past summer from former
owner Linda Osborn, said she fondly remembers coming to Three Rivers as
a youngster with her grandparents.
those days [1970s], our family was living in San Pedro and the highlight
of our visits was coming up to Three Rivers with my grandfather who operated
a service station in Farmersville,” recalled Jerrie. “To me,
this place was always known as the ‘Hummingbird.’”
Jerrie said she loved watching the river and the hummingbirds
that were ever present around the feeders along the rear windows. She
remembers an old-fashioned family atmosphere serving the comfort foods
that we were all raised to know and enjoy.
That, she said, is the spirit behind their newest business
venture. It was a curious turn of events that made it all happen.
Jerrie, who is also a commercial loan processor, said they
were very close to buying the Loading Chute in their hometown of Woodlake
when one of the patrons of that neighborhood tavern told them that the
“old Noisy Water” in Three Rivers had recently closed and
was on the market.
took a look at the property and immediately saw the potential of the place,”
Although Jerrie has some experience working in restaurants,
she admits that both she and Joe have a lot to learn. To manage the kitchen,
they hired Antoinette Cloutier of Three Rivers as chef, who, according
to Jerrie, has been a pillar of strength in getting the place up and running.
The new Hummingbird has opened gradually with a limited but
adequate menu as Jerrie and Joe fine-tune things and get to know the clientele.
Last Sunday, their first big morning, they served more than 100 breakfasts
with one party of 30.
response has been great,” Jerrie said.” Everyone has been
very patient and friendly. Our family and all our friends love coming
here to Three Rivers. It’s been really a wonderful experience getting
the restaurant up and running.”
Jerrie said this is only the beginning. New menu items and
more healthy cuisine will be added in the coming weeks as they find out
just what Three Rivers likes to order. They will be able to start serving
beer and wine as of this weekend.
The current dinner menu features steaks, chicken, salads,
and pastas. Lunch features an array of burgers, a portobello sandwich
or salad, homemade soups, and a classic BLT. Breakfast favorites include
a chili-cheese omelet, eggs Benedict, and steak and eggs.
The Hummingbird Cafe is open daily 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. serving
breakfast, lunch, and dinner (on Monday nights, they don’t serve
dinner). They are currently taking reservations for Thanksgiving. To make
a reservation, place a take-out order, or for more information, call 561-0140.
It’s application time
How to select
November 30 is the deadline for college applications to the
University of California and California State University systems. Private
universities have individual deadlines ranging from December to February.
The community colleges system will start accepting applications
later in the spring. If you or your child is a senior in high school this
can be a very stressful time because the college-admission process has
become so competitive.
Students should start thinking about where they want to go
to college as early as middle school so they will have all their options
open when the time comes to submit applications. If a student has taken
the most academically rigorous classes they can handle as well as having
a well-rounded high school experience, they should be ready for college.
After going through this college application process with
my own children and working with students for the past 20 years as a counselor,
I have some advice to help make the process a little less stressful.
Apply to at least four colleges, one college that you are
sure to get into (check out the academic index for each college at csumentor.edu
or ucop.edu), one college that is a long shot or a big dream, and two
others in which you are interested.
Don’t limit the number of colleges due to the cost
of applying. Consider the application fee an “insurance policy”
for you and your child’s mental health in May when they have to
make a decision about which college to attend. I have seen too many very
bright students not get into the only college they applied to and go over
the edge when their friends have decisions to make and their only choice
is the local community college.
Every student, no matter how sure they are that they will
be going away to college, should apply to College of the Sequoias. This
is another insurance policy to make sure they have a place in college
in the fall.
Don’t limit the college application process because
a school seems too expensive. Make the money decisions later in the year
when you are figuring out what you can really afford after the schools
have sent you a financial aid package.
Consider the college application process a little like dating.
The colleges you are looking at are the ones you would like to “marry”
for four or more years. Before taking the final plunge, you need to visit
the college at least twice, if possible, once with the whole family on
Preview Day or some other big event and once during the regular school
year when school is in session.
Make sure you let your child visit the campus with his peers
and give them some time to just walk around campus, visit some classes,
and see the dorm rooms.
It is really important to give students time to decide for
themselves what the best place is for them to go to school. Every campus
has a different personality and it is very important that your child feels
comfortable on that campus.
My parental advice is do not get too excited about where
your student wants to go or it may push them in the opposite direction.
Making the adjustment to college is difficult, and if your child has made
the decision themselves it will make that transition easier.
Every college gives their own scholarships and this is the
time to apply. The dates vary at each college so you will need to check
out each individual website to check dates.
The UC system has the scholarship application in the admissions
application. Private colleges often use this system also but you will
need to check each school individually.
Each school will send a financial aid package starting as
early as February, depending on when you file your FAFSA... I will get
into financial aid and scholarships in another article.
Sally Pace retired in June 2006 after more than 30 years
at Woodlake High School, where for the past two decades she oversaw the
1926 ~ 2006
Carl Pitts, a teacher, author, and psychologist, whose work
centered on communication and cooperation, died Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006,
at his home in Three Rivers.
Carl was born in 1926 to Nancy and Ernie Pitts in St. Louis,
Mo. In high school, Carl was an athlete — a football quarterback
— and a choral singer. When he was a high school sophomore, World
War II began, and Carl joined the U.S. Navy upon graduation.
During his time with the Navy, he was sent to San Diego for
training. It was love at first sight between Carl and California, his
future home. After the war, Carl used the GI Bill to fulfill his dream
He went to Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., during the
time of Winston Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech,
calling on the world to defend ordinary people against the costs of war
and tyranny. Later, Carl transferred to Washington University and graduated
with a degree in English literature.
In 1951, Carl married Joann Payne, also from St. Louis. They
had three children: Janna, Andrew, and Murray.
Carl attended divinity school at Chicago University, later
becoming an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. The ministry
did not become his life’s work, but he used his ordination to perform
the marriage ceremony for a few close friends and his oldest son, Andrew,
in 1998. He would tell the wedding guests that commitment wasn’t
about staying in love every minute, but learning to fall back in love.
One of Carl’s early jobs was recruiting counselors
for American Youth Foundation’s summer camps, a job he loved. But
when he recruited a promising young African American man in the years
before the nation’s Civil Rights movement, Carl was fired.
It was a crushing blow. But Donald Danforth, the head of
the organization supporting the camp, apologized for his dismissal and
offered Carl a Danforth Fellowship that allowed him to return to school.
He completed a Master’s in education and a Ph.D. in psychology and
education psychology at Washington University.
Carl’s first teaching position was at Webster College in St. Louis,
where he became chair of the Social/Behavioral Department. It was a small,
liberal campus that fostered close friendships in the thick of the social
change of the early 1960s.
Later, Carl would refer to those seven years as “our
own Camelot.” Other teaching positions included United States International
University, Department of Psychology (San Diego), and California School
for Professional Psychology, Section Head (San Diego).
Later, he became a business consultant, developing training
programs for clients ranging from General Electric’s aerospace division
to Citibank in Asia Pacific, work that required him to travel the globe
and navigate tense countries such as Pakistan.
In 1983, Carl married Cristine Carpenter. In 2003, the couple,
seeking a more peaceful lifestyle closer to the natural world, sold their
San Diego home and moved to Three Rivers.
While here, Carl, a classical music lover, founded “Maestro
for an Evening,” a group of eight fellow aficionados who met once
a month to share favorite music selections. Deeply troubled by the war
in Iraq, Carl also helped form a Three Rivers political group working
for a change in U.S. leadership.
A sailor, Carl loved the ocean. He also loved the Sierra
In his final days, he reveled in the dazzling orange and red autumn leaves
of a tree he could see from his balcony. He enjoyed playing golf at the
Three Rivers Golf Course and was known among his friends and family for
his love of Cherry Garcia ice cream.
He liked to work with his hands, launching many woodworking
projects. He delighted in creating elaborate train layouts. His latest
was the fictional town of Pook, Iowa, populated by townsfolk with individual
But, most of all, Carl appreciated the people around him.
He had a passionate and true interest in conversation and understanding.
Goodwill framed his life and he emanated kindness, optimism, integrity,
Carl will be missed and remembered with gratitude by his
wife, Cristine Carpenter of Three Rivers; his children, Janna Peterson
of Westfield, N.J., Andrew Pitts of San Diego, and Murray Pitts of Morongo
Valley; his grandchildren, David, 14, and Kelly, 9, of Rome, Italy; and
his many friends.
A private celebration of life will be held in Three Rivers