Kaweah Commonwealth - Three Rivers

News and Information of KAWEAH COUNTRY - Three Rivers,

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Lemon Cove and Woodlake

Visitor Information:
Three Rivers
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Real Estate
Local History
Travel Information
Weekly News and Features
Weekly Weather
Calendar of Events
Property Rentals
Columns/ Opinions
Readers Poll
Newspaper Archives

Live Web Cam of
Sequoia National Park,
the High Sierra,
and Three Rivers, California
Kaweah Kam

AddThis Feed Button

In the News - Friday, November 19, 2010


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)


TRUS explores funding options

Measure 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.

South Fork bridge

on 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 funding.

  “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,” he said.
   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 kmuthusamy@co.tulare.ca.us. Review period for the environmental report will continue through December 10.

Unlicensed driver collides

with 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 seriously injured.
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.

Holiday events are

kickoff to the season

Three Rivers Senior League
Holiday Bazaar

   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 Building.
   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. 28.
   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 for $20.
   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 8 p.m.
   For more information, call Teri Safranek, 561-4853.

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 Building.

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.

What’s 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:
   Businesses— Some 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.
   Schools— Three Rivers School releases at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24. Three Rivers, Woodlake, and most valley schools are off Thursday and Friday.
   Government— Most 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 delivery.
   Library— Closed Wednesday (furlough day), Thursday, and Friday. The drop box will be locked from closing on Tuesday, Nov. 23, through Tuesday, Nov. 30.
    Banks— Closed 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.

Sequoia Park holiday

road construction schedule

  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, Nov. 20-21.


A 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.


Chapter 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.



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
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
© Copyright 2003-2010 The Kaweah Commonwealth