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In the News - Friday, November 16, 2012




Town meeting features NPS wilderness plan

Deadline for comments is November 19

  The Three Rivers Town Hall meeting held Monday, Nov. 5, at the Memorial Building was the fifth stop on a tour of local National Park Service officials to seek input for the new Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness Stewardship Plan. Written comments must be submitted to Ash Mountain by this Monday, Nov. 19.
   Four other meetings, one each in Bishop, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Visalia were held prior to the Three Rivers gathering. The presentation team included Karen Taylor-Goodrich, superintendent of Sequoia-Kings Canyon, Nancy Hendricks, environmental protection specialist, and Gregg Fauth, wilderness coordinator.
   Nancy Hendricks said park planners have already received more than 900 pieces of correspondence that were instrumental in developing a range of alternatives. Now, Hendricks said, planners are still wondering whether among the alternatives that something significant might have been overlooked.
   Key items in the range of alternatives are: zones and permit quotas; trails, bridges, and signs; campfires, food storage, and human waste; party sizes; campsites, stock camps and overnight limits; stock use; administrative facilities like ranger stations; and Bearpaw High Sierra Camp and other backcountry facilities.
   Desired alternatives currently proposed range from no change in management and increasing use to balancing visitor access or reducing access dramatically. Commercial uses are allowed under the California Wilderness Act (1984) but the parks are currently under a microscope because of pending litigation as to how they deal with the related issues, especially stock use.
   There were lots of pertinent questions from the audience like how does the new plan affect the Mineral King cabins? The answer: no effect because the cabins are not in the wilderness.
   How are quotas for people and stock use determined? The answer: there have been “years of studies” that have helped determine what numbers are appropriate where.
Hendricks also pointed out that there are key topics to be addressed in all alternatives like education and interpretation, cultural resources, and scientific uses of park resources.
  “You rarely see a due date on a study like this but this plan is different,” Hendricks said.
   A due date of June 15, 2015, has been imposed for completion of the plan, mandated by the stock use services lawsuit filed in federal court by a hikers’ advocacy group against Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
  “This new plan seeks to preserve the character of the backcountry and protect resources while improving wilderness characteristics,” Hendricks said. “Wilderness is for the use and enjoyment of those who seek solitude and an unconfined recreational experience.”
   Comments may be submitted electronically at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/sekiwild or faxed to (559) 565-4202.

Measure I gains more ‘yes’ votes

  The latest election totals show that Measure I is gaining by an impressive ratio of yes votes to no votes with each batch of newly counted vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. What last week was 61.61 percent in favor of the $60 per parcel property tax has now become 62.22 percent and that number is expected to trend upward when today’s elections update is released.
   But a few votes here and a couple more there, is it enough to win? It appears that Measure I, in need of 66.7 percent to pass, may come down to less than a dozen votes to determine the outcome.
   Based on voter turnout projections, there are still 200 to 300 votes yet to be counted.  Passage faces an uphill climb for certain but it’s not impossible.
   Election officials still have more than two weeks to finish counting and certify results. In the statewide voting, where more than 10 million ballots were cast, there are several races still too close to call but for the majority of the candidates, propositions, and measures, the election is a done deal.
   Overall, voters in California approved 15 of 25 school bond or tax issues that were on the ballot; one measure passed that will cost each property owner a minimum of $200. Voters approved 71 percent of all local and statewide ballot initiatives that contained a tax increase.
   Here are the statewide results:
   President– Barack Obama (D), 59.3 percent; Mitt Romney (R) 38.3. Tulare County voted just the opposite with 39.9 percent for Obama and 58.2 percent for Romney.
   U.S. Senate– Dianne Feinstein (D), 61.7 percent; Elizabeth Emken (R) 38.3 percent. Again, Tulare County voted the opposite of their statewide counterparts.

State Ballot Measures
   30 - Taxes to Fund Education:
California, Yes; Tulare County, No.
   31 - State Budget: No / No.
   32 - Political Contributions: No / No.
   33 - Auto Insurance Prices: No / No.
   34 - Death Penalty: No / No.
   35 - Human Trafficking: Yes / Yes.
   36 - Three Strikes: Yes / Yes.
   37 - GM Foods Labeling: No / No.
   38 - Early Childhood Education: No / No.
   39 - Energy Tax: Yes / No.

  In other election news, Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, approved a two-part referendum endorsing statehood for the Caribbean nation. If Congress passes a bill granting statehood, Puerto Rico would become the 51st state and the first new state since Alaska (49th) and Hawaii (50th) were granted statehood in 1959.

Cal Fire Station closing for season

  One of the three fire agency stations that cover the Three Rivers environs during the summer is closing for the season on Monday, Nov. 22. That traditional closing usually signals the end to the local fire season.
   Although the Cal Fire station will be closed (the NPS station at Hammond and Tulare County station on South Fork Drive are staffed year-round), the self-serve burn permit kiosk at the station will be operational soon.
  “We’re waiting for the green light from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District,” said Cal Fire Capt. Alan Sherer. “Then we can begin to issue the annual burn permits.”
   Tulare County Fire personnel reported yesterday that the helicopter activity on Tuesday and Wednesday was necessary for SCE to haul cement and building materials to Powerhouse No. 3. The hydroelectric-generating station is located on the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River just inside the Sequoia National Park boundary near Ash Mountain.

Alumni give back to TRUS

  On Tuesday, Nov. 13, Valerie (Simmons) Abanathie and Kathy (Grindle) Bohl, members of the Three Rivers Union School Reunion committee and school alumni, presented the TRUS Foundation with a check for $5,100, the proceeds from the recent Reunion dinner and auction. The TRUS Reunion was held Saturday, Oct. 6, and graduates of Three Rivers School from the 1930s through the 1990s were invited.

WHS volleyball has winning season

Valley title at stake

By Holly Gallo

  Woodlake High School’s varsity volleyball team hasn’t had a season like this one in a decade. Head coach Tori Johnson and assistant coaches Ana Carretero and Lawrence Cook have prepared the girls for the championships as they finish undefeated in league games and 25-4 overall as of Wednesday, Nov. 14.
   Throughout the season, the top players have been sophomore KiAnna Cunningham, junior Melissa Samaniego, junior Regina Ramirez, sophomore Quinn Keller, junior Brenda Acosta, and junior Courtney Hanggi. Of the more than 832 total attack kills for the team, Cunningham and Samaniego were responsible for 254 and 242, respectively. Ramirez had the third most kills, with 116.
   Ramirez had the most serving aces on the team with over 48 for the season. Acosta had 44, and Samaniego checked in with 42.
   In the recent playoff games, the Tigers had a solid win in just three sets against Caruthers on November 6 at 25-16, 25-12, and 25-22. Caruthers finished the season 7-12 overall and 1-5 in league.
   When the Tigers played Liberty on November 8, they lost the first and third sets but grasped a victory in the fifth and final set. The final scores were 19-25, 25-18, 17-25, 34-32, and 15-11. Liberty ended the season 7-3 in league and 15-15 overall.
   On Tuesday, November 13, Woodlake squared off against Sierra (Tollhouse) High. Sierra was considerably a better match for Woodlake compared to the Caruthers or Liberty teams, at 18-10 overall and 8-2 in league. Nevertheless, Woodlake’s success was perfunctory as they beat the Chieftains in three quick games at 25-23, 25-18, and 25-14.
   The final match for the section title was last night (Thursday, Nov. 15), against Kingsburg (too late to be reported in this week’s issue of the newspaper, so the suspense builds...). The Vikings are 20-13 and 6-4 in league.
   With only two graduating seniors on the team, sisters Koddi and Shanya Weller, it looks as if the formidable Tigers will continue their perch as the top-seeded team in the division next year as well.

Intra-park shuttle to run during holidays

  A free shuttle will operate in Sequoia National Park during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods. Buses will arrive and depart every 15 to 20 minutes from Wuksachi Lodge, Lodgepole Visitor Center, and the General Sherman Tree.
   To utilize the free service, park at Lodgepole or Wuksachi. During shuttle hours, which are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., no parking will be available at the Sherman Tree except for those with a disabled person parking placard.
   The shuttle will begin its holiday schedule on Thursday, Nov. 22, and continue through Sunday, Nov. 25. It will also be in operation from December 26 through January 1.


Donna Kebler
1935 ~ 2012

   Donna Jean Kebler, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, after a hard-fought battle with cancer. She was 77.
   Donna was born to John and Hazel Nelson on October 20, 1935, in Valley City, Mont. She spent most of her childhood in Mill City, Ore.
   Donna graduated as valedictorian of her high school class. In 1955, she married Norman Whitney.
   In 1966, the Whitneys moved from Weaverville, Calif., with their two sons to Three Rivers. Donna made lifelong friends during the more than 30 years she resided here. In 1980, Norman preceded Donna in death.
   In 1985, at the age of 50, Donna received her bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco, an accomplishment of which she was very proud. Also that year, Donna married Charles “Chuck” Kebler.
   Donna worked in human resources at Sequoia National Park for 30 years. She retired in 1995.
   Donna and Chuck continued to reside in Three Rivers until 2000, when they relocated to Prineville, Ore., to spend their retirement years.
   After Chuck’s passing in 2005, Donna returned to Tulare County to be near her children and grandchildren. She enjoyed activities and gatherings with her family, who were her pride and joy.
   Donna enjoyed playing card games (and winning most of the time!). She loved to watch sports, especially baseball and NASCAR. She enjoyed a friendly debate, too.
   Although ill, Donna enjoyed her last months surrounded by her family.
   Donna was preceded in death by her first husband, Norman Whitney, second husband Chuck Kebler, brother John Nelson, sister Norma Burkhart, and stepson Randy Kebler.
   She is survived by her two sons, Aaron Whitney and wife Nancy of Tulare, and Gary Whitney and wife Tania of Three Rivers; stepdaughter Kathy Britten and husband Larry of Visalia; stepdaughter Kim Sayti and husband Mike of Washington; stepson Rob Kebler and wife Jenni of Washington; three sisters, Anna Mae McClintock of Oregon, Ellena DeFault of Oregon, and Lorna West of Idaho; 12 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family members.
   A memorial service was held Monday, Nov. 12, at First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.

Mark Savage
1954 ~ 2012

   Mark Steven Savage of Kaweah died Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Fresno. He was 58.
   A private memorial service will be held Sunday, Nov. 18. To attend, call 561-1530 for time and location.
   Mark was born February 23, 1954, in Merced to Kenneth Milton and Carol Savage. He was raised and educated in Coalinga, graduating from Coalinga High School and attending West Hills Community College.
   In 1978, he joined the U.S. Navy where he served as an electronics specialist in navigation. He retired in 1991 when the submarine on which he was stationed was decommissioned.
   After his naval career, he remained in the electronics business, co-owning Elite IV Contractors during the 1990s, which services electronic gas pumps, and working at Bloomberg Energy from 2006 to 2007.
   He moved to Kaweah to assist his parents in 2007. Mark is a descendent of the pioneer Savage family.
   His great-grandfather, Fred S. Savage, emigrated from Liverpool, England, to join the Kaweah Colony, making the final journey from San Diego to Kaweah on foot. When he arrived here in 1893, he discovered that the colony had disbanded.
   Fred eventually established the Savage Apple Ranch in Kaweah. For two generations, the ranch was locally renowned for its apples and fresh-pressed apple cider, as Fred’s sons, Kenneth (Mark’s grandfather) and Alan, eventually took over the ranch’s operation.
   Mark spent much of his childhood on the family ranch in Kaweah and summers at the family’s Mineral King cabin, built in 1959. His parents returned to Kaweah in 1997 and built a home on a portion of the original ranch.
   Mark was preceded in death by his father, Milton, in 2008 and his older brother, Kay.
   Mark is survived by his four children, Adrian Walsh of Santa Rosa, Jessica Savage of Oakdale, Bonnie Savage of Grants Pass, Ore., and Ethan Savage of Oakdale; his mom, Carol Hinds Savage of Kaweah; brothers Jeff Savage and Hal Savage; sister Polly Savage; his uncle and aunt, Stoney and Sue Savage of Visalia; and three grandchildren.

Harold Soulé
1925 ~ 2012

   Harold Nathan Soule, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Friday, Nov. 2, 2012, at Quail Park Retirement Village in Visalia. He was 87.
   Harold was born July 20, 1925, in New York. He was raised and educated in Canada, attending a boys-only boarding school from kindergarten through 12th grade.
   He served in the Canadian military until President Franklin D. Roosevelt recruited Canada’s pilots to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
   He owned and operated a trucking business. “He loved to drive and loved his trucks,” said his grandson, Timmy.
   Harold and his wife, Shirley, were married in 2004, which is the date of his move to Three Rivers.
   In addition to his wife, Shirley, Harold is survived by his grandchildren, Timmy and Cheri Smith of Three Rivers.

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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