In the News - Friday, November
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
IN THE PRINT EDITION OF
A photo gallery of personalized license plates
outdoor and recreational themes
Rainfall makes auspicious debut
As incredible as it might seem, Kaweah
Country is already ahead of last year in rainfall
when compared to a 2009-2010 season that ended 130
percent above the norm. That’s because last
fall it rained early and often in October but there
was nary a trace in November except for .38 of an
inch on November 27.
After that Thanksgiving storm, no significant
rainfall was recorded until December 7, 2009. But
that was then, and now the environs of Three Rivers
have already recorded a series of intermittent rains,
bringing the season total as of Veterans Day, Nov.
11, to 2.92 inches.
For the same date in 2009, local rain gauges had recorded
somewhat less: 2.43 inches.
That’s good news to all weather
watchers who are already expecting less rain in the
2010-2011 season based on the forecast of a deepening
La Nina. A La Nina means that water temperatures in
the equatorial Pacific are two to three degrees below
those of a typically wetter (for California) El Nino
Even a degree or two in temperature change
can mean the difference from a wet year to a dry one.
A typical La Nina, especially when it follows an El
Nino, usually calls for cool, drier conditions.
Elevations above 7,500 feet already have
received a dusting of snow. As of yesterday, the Mineral
King valley was cloaked in two inches of the white
The Farewell Gap weather station at 9,500
feet in the upper Kaweah drainage was also showing
two inches of snow on the ground. Yesterday
at mid-morning, temperatures were in the teens, so
in the higher elevations Old Man Winter is already
settling in for the season.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon park rangers
recently implemented chain requirements but they were
lifted later that same day. The highway between the
parks was closed for a day due to snowfall.
Park visitors should call ahead 565-3341
for the latest road conditions and weather advisories.
Mountain travelers should also carry tire chains and
be prepared for winter conditions.
Last season, December was a whopper of
a month relative to rainfall totals. By January 1,
2010, there were nearly 10 inches of rainfall on the
books, depending on elevation, and a snow pack already
Will the current season approach last
year’s wet and healthy rainfall totals?
It’s far too early to tell, but
for now be prepared and expect the unexpected.
Three Rivers Senior League
one-stop holiday shopping
By Brian Rothhammer
Holiday shopping is upon us. With the
change of seasons comes the usual barrage of catalogs,
catchy TV jingles for mega-store sales, and boatloads
of goods from overseas.
What if your gift-giving taste leans
toward unique, locally made items from Kaweah Country
artisans? How about supporting a local organization
that has donated thousands of handmade quilts to hospitalized
children over the years?
The 25th annual Three Rivers Senior League
Holiday Arts & Crafts Bazaar takes place Saturday,
Nov. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Three Rivers
Memorial Building. The Bazaar offers a great opportunity
to peruse finely crafted wares from 50 different vendor
tables, all conveniently assembled at one place.
Choose from Carl Powell’s old-time
wooden toys, nutcrackers hand-carved and painted by
Howard Hill, Rod Simonian jewelry, pottery by Scott
Vaughn, and a cornucopia of other gift ideas to warm
the hearts of friends and family. Meet the artists
in person and sense the pride of craftsmanship that
cannot be found in mass produced, machine-made products.
Bring your appetite, as hot dogs and
burgers will be grilled up fresh and tasty. There
will be other goodies to please the palate as well,
with the Senior League’s bake sale table, Janet
Fanning’s homemade jams, jellies, and fudge,
If you have a few too many things around
the house that others may enjoy, consider bringing
donations for the “Oldies but Goodies”
table, a sort of indoor yard sale to support the League.
There will also be door prizes given away throughout
the day and an auction with goods donated from each
of the 50 artist/vendors present.
What a deal! One-stop shopping for quality
gifts, tasty treats, supporting a good cause, and
even the option to clear out some unneeded items for
others to enjoy.
If you’re an artist or crafts person
and would like to offer your wares at the event, act
fast as over 40 of the 50 booths are spoken for already.
For details or to join the Three Rivers Senior League
or make donations, call Janet Fanning, 561-3461.
‘Three Cups of Tea’ author
his way to Visalia
‘Dr. Greg’ Mortenson
is on a mission
Okay, so Greg Mortenson is not officially
a doctor but he is a registered nurse who, during
his more than 71 months in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan,
has treated dozens of the sick when no doctor could
be located within hundreds of miles. But the former
mountaineer is best known for his life’s work
as a co-founder and now being the enormous public
presence of the nonprofit Central Asia Institute.
Since 1995, Mortenson’s Central
Asia Institute has established (at last count) 141
schools and another five dozen temporary refugee schools
in the some of the world’s most dangerous places
in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.
This bestselling author and champion
peacemaker brings his road show to the Visalia Convention
Center this Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. Billed as
“An evening with Greg Mortenson,” the
event is a fundraiser for Pro-Youth/HEART of Visalia.
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s
Mission to Promote Peace, a book that Mortenson
co-authored with David Oliver Relin, is the autobiographical
account of a man who wanted to make a difference in
the lives of Muslim children in some of the world’s
most remote and impoverished villages.
you educate a boy you educate an individual,”
Mortenson said. “When you educate a girl, you
educate a community.”
To date, Three Cups of Tea has
sold over four million copies, been published in 45
countries, and been a New York Times bestseller for
over 186 weeks since its release in 2007. The landmark
book is mandatory reading for all U.S. military commanders
and Special Forces deploying to Afghanistan.
Several bipartisan U.S. Congressional
representatives, including California’s Mary
Bono, have nominated Mortenson for the Nobel Peace
Prize in both 2009 and 2010. Mortenson’s newest
book, Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with
Books Not Bombs was released in 2009.
Mortenson’s books will be available
at the Visalia event, and “Dr. Greg” will
graciously allow some time for book signing. The latest
figures from the new book estimate that Mortenson
has been instrumental in the education of 64,000 children,
including 52,000 girls, all where few education opportunities
had existed before.
Education is the family legacy
Both of Greg Mortenson’s parents
and all four of his grandparents were educators or
teachers. Greg was born in 1957 and grew up on the
slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.
His father, Dempsey, founded Kilimanjaro
Christian Medical Center, a hospital, and his mother,
Jerene, founded the International School Moshi in
After the family returned home to Minnesota,
Greg joined the U.S. Army in 1977. After mustering
out with an Army Commendation Medal, he graduated
from the University of South Dakota in 1983 with degrees
in Chemistry and Nursing.
In July 1992, Mortenson’s sister,
Christa, died from a massive seizure following a life-long
struggle with epilepsy. To honor his sister’s
memory, in 1993, Mortenson attempted to climb Pakistan’s
K2, the world’s second highest mountain in the
While recovering from the ordeal in a
Pakistani village called Korphe, Mortenson met a group
of children sitting in the dirt writing with sticks
in the sand. At that moment, he promised these children
to help them build a school.
From that ambitious promise grew a huge
humanitarian campaign to which Mortenson has dedicated
his life to educate children, especially girls, in
the most remote villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
His work has never been without life-threatening danger.
Mortenson has survived a Taliban kidnapping
and escaped fire fights between feuding warlords.
He has succeeded despite two fatwas (an Islamic religious
law vendetta) from enraged mullahs, and harassing
CIA probes. He received numerous death threats after
9/11 for his ongoing relations with Muslim children
to help them break the vicious cycle of hopelessness.
In October 2009, Three Rivers school
kids and local community groups collected more than
35,000 pennies for Mortenson’s Pennies for Peace
program. Julia Bergman, a former librarian at San
Francisco City College and former Central Asia Institute
board member, gave a talk at Three Rivers School to
provide a glimpse to local children what it is like
to grow up in Afghanistan.
Maria Howell, a TRUS parent and niece
of Julia Bergman, arranged to have the local presentation.
was a little nervous about how the kids might react
to the Three Cups of Tea story,” said
Maria, “but all of the kids remained quiet and
paid very close attention.”
Mesmerized by the amazing accomplishments
of Dr. Greg and his Central Asia Institute and learning
how kids have to grow up in a war zone might be a
more accurate description of the experience. Sonja
Hoogeveen, the Three Rivers librarian, reported lots
of search activity on county computers related to
Mortenson immediately after and since Three Cups
of Tea made its local debut.
In concert with Mortenson’s visit
on Tuesday, Nov. 16, a number of Visalia area schools
are collecting pennies, including College of the Sequoias.
is a group of Three Rivers parents, teachers, kids
and other locals who are going down to experience
this incredible event,” said Maria. “I
can’t think of a better way to show our support
for Greg Mortenson and for promoting books not bombs.”
HEART — meaning Homework, Enrichment,
Acceleration, Recreation, Teamwork — is an afterschool
program of Pro Youth, a 501(c)(3), and is the organization
that is presenting an Evening with Greg Mortenson.
For more information, log on to: www.proyouthheart.org
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
The ‘C’ words
By Jana Botkin
Two of the most common ways to earn a
living in art are consignment and commissions. They
are not at all the same, but I am discussing them
here in the same article because those two large “C”
words are often confused.
Here are the definitions: Consignment
is an agreement to pay a supplier of goods after the
goods are sold. Commission is an order or authorization
for the production of a piece of art.
Consignment means that the artist provides
the store or gallery with work that is not paid for
until a sale is completed. The advantages to the artist
are that she doesn’t lose control of her pricing
and can reclaim her work if it is needed somewhere
else. The disadvantage is that things can become shopworn,
keeping track is added work, and sometimes it can
be hard to collect one’s money.
Commissions are orders for custom work.
This is a very important part of earning a living
as an artist, especially in times when people are
spending cautiously. The advantages to the artist
are that she is almost guaranteed a happy customer
and there is a check waiting at the end of the job.
Two disadvantages are that the artist isn’t
freely creating from her own ideas and often there
is a deadline. Occasionally, a commission
customer will say these magic words: “You’re
the professional!” and “No hurry.”
Since we are learning “C”
words here, allow me to add one more: Conversation.
This word means an exchange of words, not orders and
not money. Despite repeated experiences with this
reality, my greatest talent still remains counting
my chickens before they hatch.
For the first several years of my business,
I got so excited when someone told me they would like
me to do a specific drawing for them. I was counting
eggs, chickens, and dollars, forgetting that until
money exchanges hands and there are photographs on
the table, it was simply CONVERSATION. It never hurts
for an artist to remember those chats and even follow
up with a phone call or an email. That is also part
of the business of art.
Jana Botkin owns Cabinart
studio in Three Rivers. She will participate in the
Perfect Gift Boutique during Thanksgiving weekend.
1921 ~ 2010
June L. Maze passed away Monday, Nov.
1, 2010, at her home in rural Exeter. She was 89.
June was born January 16, 1921, in Lemoore,
the daughter of William and Golda Hengst. She attended
Locust Grove and Wilson elementary schools and graduated
from Exeter Union High School in 1939.
In 1941, June married Everett Maze. The
couple raised five children.
June was an avid seamstress. As a young
woman, she designed and sewed her own clothing. Later,
she enjoyed sewing for her children and grandchildren.
June also loved drawing and painting and collecting
dolls, making dolls, repairing dolls, and sewing clothes
June spent summers camping with her parents
and siblings in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National
Park and at Atwell Mill near Mineral King. When she
had children of her own, she enjoyed taking them to
the mountains. She also cherished her time spent in
Three Rivers with her sisters at luncheons, birthdays,
and other family celebrations and get-togethers.
June was active in Rebekah Lodge of Exeter,
4-H Club, and was a lifelong member of Modern Woodmen.
June was preceded in death by her husband
of 67 years, Everett; her brother-in-law Alan Ewen;
her parents; sons-in-law Buck Phillips and Henry Huff;
and great-great-granddaughter Bennah Moses.
She is survived by her children, Claudia
Huff of Crestline, Donna Phillips of Windsor, Pamela
Pyle and husband Jim of Exeter, Bill Maze and wife
Becky of Visalia, and John Maze and wife Marti of
Exeter; four sisters, including Margie Ewen and Wilma
Kauling and husband Robin of Three Rivers; 18 grandchildren;
22 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great-granchildren;
and numerous nieces and nephews. She will also be
greatly missed by her “fourth daughter,”
Joan Vehrs of Exeter, who has been considered a part
of the family since 1955.
Services were held Friday, Nov. 5, at
Smith Family Chapel in Exeter.