In the News - Friday, November
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
TRUS explores funding options
V defeat may mean school cuts
Although Three Rivers Union School board
members expressed disappointment in the apparent defeat
of Measure V, there was a consensus of resolve at
last Wednesday night’s regular board meeting
to continue to explore funding options. Sue Sherwood,
superintendent, principal, and sixth-grade teacher
at the K-8 school, said no immediate changes are necessary
but that the administration is looking for ways to
ensure that all the present programs can be continued.
The school band program was mentioned
as one casualty if more cuts become necessary. That
program with its part-time instructor, Athena Saenz,
would require approximately $10,000 to guarantee that
it could be continued.
Funding options, including additional
fundraising through the Three Rivers Union School
Foundation, are being considered, Sue said.
Lee Crouch, TRUS Foundation president, attended Wednesday’s
school board meeting. The February meeting of the
TRUS Foundation board could possibly be moved up to
next month if that group’s board decides it
is needed, he said.
Immediately after the election, Sue said,
she received numerous calls of community members who
want to help.
The TRUS board is also looking into several
options as to when the parcel tax measure might again
be placed on the ballot. Garnering 56.46 percent of
the vote left Measure V about 10 percent, or approximately
60 votes, short of the two-thirds majority required.
In other school-related business, the
district accepted the resignation of James Irvin,
maintenance supervisor, who took a job with the Generals
Highway road construction crew. Sue said applications
are still being accepted for the vacancy and a decision
on the new hire will be forthcoming in early December.
Sue also announced that enrollment has
leveled at 156 students, down from a peak of 158 but
up slightly from 151 at the start of the current school
year. The TRUS board is also reviewing plans for a
proposed unification of the Woodlake Elementary and
Woodlake High School districts although at present
there are no plans for the Three Rivers district to
join the unification efforts.
The next regularly scheduled TRUS board
meeting will be Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 6 p.m. The public
is always invited to attend.
County to-do list
Representatives from the Tulare County Resource Management
Agency traveled to Three Rivers last week to meet
with residents of Grouse Valley Road off of South
Fork Drive to brief them on a bridge replacement project
scheduled to begin next spring.
The public meeting was held at the McDowall
Auditorium at Three Rivers Union School on Tuesday,
Nov. 16, at 6 p.m., to discuss the proposed replacement
of the Mountain Road 319 bridge. Also known as Grouse
Valley Road, MR319 is approximately six miles southeast
of Highway 198. The bridge is located about one-quarter
mile south of South Fork Drive and spans the South
Fork of the Kaweah River.
The existing 60-foot span, built in 1950,
has long since been declared inadequate by Caltrans.
The timber bridge’s rails and curbs are in “fair
to poor” condition with some described in a
Bridge Inspection Report as being in an “advanced
state of decay.“
Project manager Kuna Muthusamy of the
Tulare County RMA, explained the need for replacement
of the 12-foot wide structure and the avenues for
“This bridge has a sufficiency rating of 37.5
on a scale of 0 to 100. Below 80 qualifies for federal
funding to repair, below 50 qualifies for replacement,”
Of 25,000 Tulare County bridges that
are inspected every two years, the MR319 span is “the
worst bridge in the county’s inventory.”
The contract agreement will specify a
maximum completion period of 18 months from the issuance
of the formal notice to proceed. The County will encourage
proposals for shorter completion periods.
Muthusamy hopes to have the engineering
phase of the project completed and approved by April
2011 and to have construction completed by late-summer
of 2012. Engineering costs were provided through federal
funds appropriated for bridge projects in 2008 with
matching Measure R funds.
The new 80-foot-long bridge will be built
with state and federal funds and constructed by Cornerstone
Structural Engineering Group of Fresno at a projected
cost of $1 million. At 22 feet wide, the replacement
bridge will be 10 feet wider than the old, allowing
for two-lane travel.
During construction, a bypass will route
residents alongside the current bridge and over a
temporary steel span. The new bridge footing will
be built upon the old, and pre-cast deck sections
will be installed by crane. The bridge will be finished
in faux rock and wood grain textures to complement
and blend with the environment.
When the new span is completed, the bypass
will be restored to its pre-construction state. Muthusamy
and planning engineer Travis Crawford (whose parents
were raised in Three Rivers) expressed their appreciation
for the beauty of the site, described by Muthusamy
as “almost pristine.”
A Mitigated Negative Declaration environmental
report has been compiled for the project and is available
for review at the Three Rivers Library.
For additional information, contact Kuna
Muthusamy at 624-7139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review period for the environmental report will continue
through December 10.
Pumpkin Hollow Bridge
Emergency personnel and the California Highway Patrol
(CHP) responded to a single vehicle accident Saturday,
Nov. 13, on the Pumpkin Hollow Bridge shortly after
1 p.m. The mishap occurred when the driver of an eastbound
2009 Infiniti glanced off the right side of the Pumpkin
Hollow Bridge (near the Gateway Restaurant and Lodge)
and then slammed into the left side.
When the Tulare County sheriff’s
deputy arrived on the scene the vehicle was on the
bridge blocking both lanes of traffic. There were
two persons still inside the vehicle but neither was
The driver, Juan Martinez, 26, of Los Angeles told
a CHP officer that he had become distracted, and when
his car bounced off the bridge he reacted by steering
the vehicle to the left. The “unsafe turning”
motion and subsequent collision with the bridge caused
major damage to the vehicle.
Martinez, who declined medical treatment,
was cited for driving without a license. According
to a CHP spokesperson, Martinez was already listed
in the system as an “X” driver, meaning
he had a previous unlicensed traffic stop.
Martinez faces a stiff fine, and if he
is again cited for driving without a license his vehicle
could be confiscated for 30 days.
to the season
Rivers Senior League
The first craft fair of the season is
always the Three Rivers Senior League’s Holiday
Bazaar, which will be held tomorrow (Saturday, Nov.
20) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Three Rivers Memorial
This is the Holiday Bazaar’s 25th
anniversary. In addition to the 50 or so vendors,
the Senior League will have its traditional bargain
table and Janet Fanning’s jams and jellies,
provide door prizes every hour throughout the day,
sell baked goods, and have a hot lunch available.
Christmas tree drawing
In addition to the annual Christmas Tree
Sale by the Three Rivers Volunteer Firefighters at
Three Rivers Mercantile, this year the group will
be concurrently conducting a drawing for a fully decorated
Christmas tree with special gifts and services. The
tree sale and drawing are set to begin Sunday, Nov.
The tree and its trimmings are valued
at $500. The six to seven-foot noble fir tree will
include LED lights, a tree stand, skirt, decorations,
and some added gifts. Tickets will be $5 each or five
The drawing will be held Monday, Dec.
13, at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
The winner will have the tree delivered
to their home (within a 20-mile radius of Three Rivers;
a winner who resides out of this delivery area must
pick up the tree.)
The Christmas Tree Sale hours will be
weekdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and weekends from 8 am to
For more information, call Teri Safranek,
Lemon Cove Holiday Bazaar
On Friday, Dec. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m.,
and Saturday, Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Lemon
Cove Holiday Bazaar will be held, organized by Sequoia
Union School’s Parent Teacher Club. The majority
of these vendors only sell at the Lemon Cove Holiday
Bazaar, so this is the only chance for shoppers to
have access to their specialty items.
Besides local artisans, there will be
a silent auction and a bargain corner of that contains
holiday goods that are all less than one dollar. For
the hard-to-shop-for relative, try the peach-strawberry
jam or tangerine-lemon marmalade!
This is a family-friendly event with
activities for the kids, as well as shopping and gourmet
coffee for the adults. Take Highway 198 to Avenue
324 and follow the signs to the Lemon Cove Memorial
Lemon Cove Woman’s Club
Holiday Bazaar and Luncheon
By attending the Lemon Cove Woman’s
Club Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 4, shoppers
also receive the opportunity to visit one of Tulare
County’s historic homes while getting into the
holiday spirit. The beautiful 19th-century
home that is now the Lemon Cove Woman’s Clubhouse
was built by a local pioneer family.
The bazaar starts at 11 a.m. with the
sale of holiday items made by local crafters and club
members. Lunch will be served at noon followed by
a card party. Lunch tickets are $15. All proceeds
go toward the preservation of this historic home.
For information, call Mary Cloud 597-1416.
open… and what’s not
Thursday, Nov. 25, is Thanksgiving Day,
a legal holiday. Here’s a rundown on what will
be open and closed in Kaweah Country:
closed and others, such as restaurants, will have
limited hours Thursday; call first. On Friday, Nov.
26, most businesses will be open normal hours.
Three Rivers Drug— Closed
Thursday and Friday.
The Kaweah Commonwealth—
The newspaper office will be closed Thursday and open
Friday until noon.
Rivers School releases at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24.
Three Rivers, Woodlake, and most valley schools are
off Thursday and Friday.
federal, state, and county offices will be closed
Thursday, Nov. 25. Emergency services will be staffed.
Park visitor centers normally open this time of year
will be open. National Park Service business offices
will be closed Thursday.
Three Rivers Post Office—
No mail delivery Thursday. On Friday, window
service from 9:30 am-noon; regular schedule for mail
Wednesday (furlough day), Thursday, and Friday. The
drop box will be locked from closing on Tuesday, Nov.
23, through Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Thursday; open Friday.
Trash collection— Waste Connections-Three
Rivers customers whose collection day is Thursday
will instead receive service on FRIDAY (the day after
Thanksgiving). Regular Friday pickups will be on Saturday
this week only.
In an effort keep holiday delays on the Generals Highway
to a minimum due to the ongoing road construction,
here is the schedule for the coming week:
Friday, Nov. 19— Construction
work will end at 2 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 20-21— Traffic lights
with a maximum wait of 20 minutes.
Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 22-23—
Traffic will be let through the construction zone
at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m.
5:30 p.m., and 11:30 p.m. Traffic lights with 20-minute
delays from 6-7 a.m. and 5:30-9 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 24—
Construction from 7 a.m.-noon.
Thursday-Friday, Nov. 25-26—
No construction work; 20-minute traffic lights.
For other weekdays, see Monday-Tuesday,
Nov. 22-23 schedule. For weekends, see Saturday-Sunday,
late-model Chevrolet Blazer was discovered off the
road along South Fork Drive near Heidi Road on Thursday
morning, Nov. 18. The note posted on its driver’s
side window stated, “This car will be removed
from here Thursday, 11/18. Do not touch. Thank you!”
At the time these photos were taken, the California
Highway Patrol was en route to investigate.
members of the Three Rivers and Exeter Red Hat Society
converged on the River View Restaurant on Friday,
Nov. 12, for a luncheon meeting. The Red Hat Society
is a social organization founded in 1998 for women
approaching the age of 50 and beyond. As of July 2010,
there were more than 50,000 members and almost 24,000
chapters in the United States and 25 other countries.
The Red Hat Society is the largest women’s social
group in the world. The purpose of the club is to
wear red hats, purple clothing, and have fun.