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In the News - Friday, November 26, 2010


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)


Giant Forest Museum closed for season

Lodgepole Visitor Center open daily

   A change that could affect some winter visitors is taking place after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. As of the end of the day on Sunday, Nov. 28, the Giant Forest Museum will be closed for the winter; starting Monday, Nov. 29, the Lodgepole Visitor Center will be open daily.
   The closure of the museum is part of a National Park Service mandate to increase efficiency and sustainability. Heating one building instead of two is a huge energy savings because the museum’s historic building is an inefficient heat loss just waiting to happen.
   Most Sequoia National Park employees who staff the Lodgepole-Giant Forest area in winter live in Lodgepole so not having to commute to the museum also cuts down on travel. The closure of the museum also means less of an area needs to be plowed though the parking lot adjacent to the Giant Forest Museum will continue to be cleared for visitors who want to ski/snowshoe the Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow Road.

3R man linked to ID theft

   As if Charles Mauldin, 49, of Three Rivers didn’t have enough problems. In and out of one detention facility or another the last several years, Mauldin was taken into custody Friday, Nov. 19, by Tulare County Sheriff’s Department detectives, and he won’t be seeing the outside anytime soon.
   That according to a distraught brother-in-law who tried to help Mauldin go straight only to find himself feeling extremely concerned for Three Rivers neighbors who might have been victims of Mauldin’s latest scams. Like so many repeat offenders in these cases, Mauldin has had an ongoing problem with the scourge of rural humanity – methamphetamine.

  “Charley’s not a violent criminal and we just wanted to do what we could to help our family,” said the brother-in-law who asked not to be identified. “It started when my wife’s sister came here a couple of years ago looking for work while her husband was serving a sentence for trouble he had gotten into down south.”
   After Mauldin was paroled in 2009, the terms of his probation in Riverside County did not allow him to leave that area. But earlier this year, Mauldin completed his probation and rejoined his wife in Three Rivers.
   Since that time, Mauldin is alleged to have received stolen property, pilfered mail, and assumed another’s identity to commit fraud. Cameras at the Bank of the Sierra are believed to have recorded images of Mauldin cashing a fraudulent check that led to a previous arrest on September 3.
   Now two months later, Mauldin is in trouble again, facing new charges for more thefts. He was arraigned in court Monday, Nov. 22, and remains in custody.
   U.S. Postal inspectors have been alerted by the Sheriff’s investigators and are trying to determine the extent of the latest mail thefts.

  “I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for everyone to be careful with their mail,” said Lori Ontiveros, Three Rivers postmaster. “Even junk mail and catalogs you throw away here in the lobby could contain personal information that help thieves access personal information.”
   Anyone who thinks they might be a victim or have information pertinent in this case should call the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department at 733-6211.

Sequoia road construction

project to continue into December

   The ongoing road construction on the Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park has some holiday schedule changes. The road construction is a 1.5-mile stretch of highway from Amphitheater Point, 11 miles from the park entrance station at 4,400 feet, to Deer Ridge.
   Through Sunday, Nov. 28, no day or night work is scheduled. Traffic through the one-lane road construction zone will be directed by traffic signals. Delays will be no longer than 20 minutes.
   Monday-Friday, Nov. 29-Dec. 3— Two-hour delays from 8 am-4 pm on weekdays (pass-through at 8 am, 10 am, noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm). One-hour delays Monday through Friday from 7-8 am and 4-5 pm. Half-hour delay Monday through Thursday from 5-5:30 pm (construction works generally ends at 2 pm on Fridays). Lower (uphill bound) traffic released first. Single lane traffic is in place. During hours of construction, traffic will be led through the construction zone by a pilot vehicle. During non-construction hours (between day and night shifts — 5:30-9 pm) and on weekends, signal lights regulate traffic with delays up to 20 minutes.
   Friday, Dec. 3— Work planned from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. See previous listing for delays within this time frame.
Night work commences Mondays at 9 pm and continues through Fridays at 6 am with one opportunity to pass through the construction area each night at 11:30 p.m.
   Vehicle length restriction— The portion of the Generals Highway from Hospital Rock to the Giant Forest Museum is CLOSED to vehicles greater than 22 feet in length until December 31, 2010 (this requirement was recently reduced from 32 feet) due to Federal Highways road construction vehicle size limits.
   Camping and touring— Several private RV campgrounds are available in Three Rivers and Lemon Cove that will accommodate any size of vehicle; public campgrounds that accommodate RVs are Horse Creek at Lake Kaweah and Potwisha in Sequoia National Park. A private company based in Three Rivers — Sequoia Sightseeing Tours — is available year-round for tours of Sequoia attractions or customized tours throughout Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Visit the Camping page, accessible from the homepage on this website.
   Winter conditions— As of Wednesday, Nov. 24, the road through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is closed due to snow. It will reopen when parks road crews have it plowed.
   Also as of Wednesday, tire chains required or four-wheel-drive vehicles only from Hospital Rock to Wuksachi Lodge and in the Grant Grove area.
   Travel tips for ice and snow:

  —Drive for conditions: slower speeds, slower acceleration, slower steering, and slower braking in winter conditions.

  —Use your headlights.

  —Don’t use cruise control.

  —Four and all-wheel drive vehicles will not stop or steer better in icy conditions.

  —Leave extra room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. And remember, big trucks take longer to stop.

  —Slow down when approaching intersections, bridges, or shady spots.

  —If behind a snowplow, stay behind it until it is safe to pass. A snowplow driver has a limited field of vision. Stay back (15 car lengths) until the plow pulls off the road.

  —Slow down and be extra cautious near the chain-up and removal areas where often people are along the roadway.

Give the gift of giving

   Remember your own delight as a child when opening a brightly wrapped box to reveal the surprise inside? You can provide that same sense of surprise and delight to a child or teen who otherwise might receive little or nothing.
   The Woodlake Toys for Joy drive, led by the Woodlake Family Resource Center in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Woodlake, has provided smiles to 700 kids annually for the past eight years.     These moments of joy have been made possible entirely by donations of good hearted neighbors.
   Even so, there have been children who missed out, and this December there will be even more families facing a bleak holiday season due to the current economy. Teens are particularly in need and often have been overlooked.

  “Teenagers are always the toughest,” said Greg Gonzalez, Woodlake city councilman and the toy drive coordinator. “We are always short on gifts for teens.”
   While grateful for the success of the past eight years, Greg has even higher hopes for the future. What better way to spread the true spirit of the holidays than to share with a family in need?
   If you can squeeze just a bit more out of the holiday budget to show a needy child or struggling teen that someone cares, contact Greg Gonzalez at 300-0452.
   In Woodlake, donations of new, unwrapped toys are now being accepted at the Woodlake City Hall, First Choice Market, all Woodlake schools, and the Woodlake Family Resource Center, 168 North Valencia.

South Fork ranch joins
1st Saturday playlist

   Don and Teriz Mosley are inviting visitors to their working ranch on this coming 1st Saturday (December 4). From horses, cows, and sheep to chickens and turkeys, there is plenty to do and see.
   The Mosleys use natural and sustainable ranching methods. The cows are grass-fed and the poultry is free-range.
   The Mosleys have a milk cow (and calf), make their own butter, gather the chickens’ eggs, raise home-grown vegetables, and more.
   The ranch is also frequented by local wildlife. There are also many birds this time of year as they use the open space as a stopover during the winter.
   Howard Hill, a friend and neighbor, will be selling his handmade wooden nutcrackers and home-grown nuts.
   Hot cider, hot chocolate, pumpkin bread, and banana bread will be served. The Mosleys’ homecured olives will be for sale.
   Families and children are especially encouraged to visit. The ranch will be open from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. It is located at 45487 South Fork Drive.
   For directions to the Mosleys’ ranch and a list of all participants in December’s 1st Saturday event, pick up a map at Anne Lang’s Emporium on the day of the event.

Shop local during inaugural
‘Small Business Saturday’

   Black Friday started it all, but as Internet shopping became as prevalent as visiting a brick-and-mortar retailer, along came Cyber Monday.
   Not to be left out, small businesses are jumping on this bandwagon. On November 27, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the first-ever Small Business Saturday will attempt to become part of the shopping-mania tradition.
   The day’s creator has everything to gain if this idea takes off. American Express OPEN — the credit card company’s small business unit — has partnered with nearly 20 advocacy, public and private organizations, and visitor’s bureaus in the hope that over time communities across the country will recognize Small Business Saturday in a meaningful way that helps drive more holiday shoppers to small businnesses instead of corporate malls and big-box retailers.
Why shop local?

  —For every $100 spent at a local small business, $68 returns to the community.

  —Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees.

  —Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.

  —For every year over the past decade, 60 to 80 percent of new jobs were generated by small businesses.
   From these statistics, it is obvious to see how vital small businesses are to local, statewide, and national economies.
   Support Small Business Saturday, as well as Three Rivers business-owners, by patronizing the local, independently owned small businesses in town. That could mean anything from going out to dinner at some point during the holiday season to reserving a part of your holiday gift budget to spend at a local small business or two.
   There are small, independently owned businesses in every city across the U.S., but it is the small towns such as Three Rivers where the entire existence of the community depends on them, whether for towing a car, purchasing a home, stocking up on groceries, dining out, or holiday shopping for everything from tools to original art. So help make Small Business Saturday a success all year long by patronizing small businesses.


Keeping the ‘co-operative’ in a co-op

By Jana Botkin

   What is a co-op? If the hyphen is eliminated, it could be mistaken for a pen of poultry!
   In this context, “co-op” is an abbreviation of the word “cooperative” and means a joint venture or collaborative effort.
   In an area with few galleries and other places for selling artwork, artists often combine their time, money, and art to create their own gallery. Everything is shared — the space, the expenses, the “sitting,” and many, many decisions.
   It takes a tremendous effort and a bit of luck to put an effective co-op together. The participants need to share a vision, to have approximately the same level of professionalism, and most of all, to have a leader or two, depending on the size. In all groups, there will be those who work their fingers to the bone, those who coast, and all sorts in between.
   A shared vision has to be addressed before anything else. If some envision a cute store full of unique tchotchkes and others want spacious white walls hung with a few knockout pieces, there will be conflict.
   If some think it should be open to any and all artists while others believe a certain level of quality should be maintained, there will be conflict. If some never notice dust and spiderwebs while others develop a twitch each time something lands on the countertop, there will be conflict.
   There are those who want all types of art, others who only want two-dimensional pieces. Some think a mix of styles is preferable, others want only representational, and some think that abstract is the only true art.
   Regardless of the decisions reached about style, a compatible level of professionalism is necessary for retail success. There can be endless discussions of “art versus craft,” and reaching agreements on quality can almost require Solomon-like wisdom. If some art is clearly made by hobbyists and other is made by highly skilled practitioners, the difference will confuse the customer.
   Personalities can make or break a co-op. To combine a large number of opinions in an orderly fashion requires a strong leader. There has to be lists of tasks, assignments, goals, and accountability for completion. Meetings need to be kept on subject and participants need to be kept on task or things result in chaos.
   Co-ops tend to be a bit fluid as artists grow and change. With the right mix of artists sharing a vision, a co-operative gallery can be formed for a season, or it can last for years.
  Jana Botkin of Three Rivers is one of 23 artists at the new Main Gallery co-op in Visalia. It is located at 209 W. Main St.


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
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