In the News - Friday, December
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
IN THE DECEMBER 2 PRINT EDITION...
TIGERS: FALL SPORTS TEAMS 2010
No one injured in
Visitor Center shooting
On Thanksgiving Day, a man drove through
the exit lane at the Sequoia National Park entrance
station then fired shots near the Ash Mountain visitor
center. The incident ended when the 42-year-old male
from the Sacramento area was surrounded by law-enforcement
rangers and taken into custody on the afternoon of
Thursday, Nov. 25.
The man threw down his handgun and was
arrested without incident. According to witnesses
at the scene, the man had been shouting about the
end of the world and Armageddon while he fired at
least eight rounds.
A search of the suspect’s vehicle
recovered drug paraphernalia and 10 pounds of packaged
marijuana with an estimated street value of $35,000.
He was transported to a local hospital
where he was held for psychiatric evaluation. Charges
in the case are pending.
Furnace flash sparks blaze
Tulare County firefighters responded
to a report of smoke pouring out of a condominium
located adjacent to the Three Rivers Golf Course and
behind the Village Market on Tuesday, Nov. 30. According
to an investigator of the lunch-hour incident, it
was the quick-thinking and work of a local —
Yolanda Araiza — that saved a furnace flare-up
from becoming a serious structure fire.
When Pam Lockhart, who with her husband
Greg owns the condo, turned on the heat in the vacant
unit to make ready for a luncheon, she smelled something
burning and the place began to fill with smoke.
That’s when Yolanda, an experienced
volunteer firefighter, who just happened to be a guest
for lunch, climbed onto the roof of the one-story
structure and called for water from the garden hose.
She immediately began pouring water through a vent
that doused the blaze.
A fire-prevention investigator reported
finding scorch marks in the attic near the furnace.
Without the quick thinking and actions of Yolanda
before firefighters arrived, he said, there would
have been a far more serious fire.
For their mop-up efforts, firefighters
also enjoyed Pam’s chili and homemade dessert.
“It’s all good,” said Pam. “It
was just a few girlfriends getting together for lunch
and the main course turned out to be a five-fire-engine
Drug trafficker sentenced
A spokesperson for Sequoia and Kings
Canyon National Parks reported last week that Gilberto
Ontiveros Valencia, a Mexican national, had been sentenced
in connection to growing thousands of marijuana plants
at various sites on park lands during the years 2002-2009.
Ontiveros was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison
for growing marijuana and being an illegal alien in
possession of a firearm.
Ontiveros was apprehended during a raid
in 2009 at a grow site in Sequoia National Park. He
was suspected of having been responsible for all the
grow sites within one canyon in the park since 2002.
One complex of grow sites that Ontiveros
was linked to damaged over five acres of previously
undisturbed park land. During cleanup operations at
the site, rangers removed over a half-ton of garbage,
10,000 feet of irrigation hose, and a variety of hazardous
In addition to the prison sentence, Ontiveros
was ordered to pay $59,094 in restitution to the park
for the costs of the cleanup. The investigation and
subsequent conviction of Ontiveros was a team effort
by members of the Investigative Services Branch, the
U.S. District Attorney’s Office, and Sequoia
and Kings Canyon National Parks rangers.
IN OTHER PARK NEWS, several motorists
were reported to have run the red signal lights in
the Generals Highway construction zone.
“Anyone who enters those the restricted zone
is risking causing a crash that could result in injuries
or fatalities,” cautioned Dana Dierkes, the
parks’ public information officer. “The
few minutes you might save is just not worth the risk.”
The majority of these incidents occurred
during the busy Thanksgiving weekend.
City of Woodlake breaks ground
$20m wastewater treatment project
Woodlake officials and project dignitaries
at the groundbreaking ceremony held Wednesday, Dec.
1, which marks the start of the largest project ever
undertaken by the City of Woodlake. The two-phase
project will include the construction of a wastewater
treatment plant, two sludge ponds, and the replacement
of two main lines that lead to the site.
On hand at the ceremony were Rudy Mendoza, City of
Woodlake council member; Rick Joyner, Quad-Knopf Engineering
planner; Frances Ortiz, council member; Jose Martinez,
council member; Bill Lewis, city administrator; Raul
Gonzales, mayor; Lisa Butler, U.S. Department of Agriculture;
Steven Beck, Santec engineer; and Robert Nelson, USDA.
teams' records see ups and downs
what happened during the fall season
The great thing about sports is that no matter how
bad a game is lost or a play is botched there is always
another time to win or redeem oneself. Unfortunately
for a number of fans and parents who remember their
own glory days, it’s more like “What have
you done for me lately?”
Everyone enjoys winning but the rewards
of participating in interscholastic sports are about
a lot more than wins and losses.
David Pasquini, a teacher at Woodlake Valley Middle
School, who also coaches girls’ junior varsity
volleyball and boys’ varsity basketball at Woodlake
High, views all those practices and games as a time
to see his students in a different light.
“For me the gym is just another classroom where
I get to interact with student athletes,” said
Coach Pasquini. “It’s here where each
player can learn important life lessons about working
together with others, being a good sport, and team
East Sequoia League (ESL) selections
for each of the varsity teams will be announced next
The most popular of any school sport, it generally
draws the most fans and generates the most revenue.
At Woodlake, only 10 percent of the gate income goes
back into football; at other schools it’s more
like 50 percent.
Want more success for Tiger Football
reminiscent of the glory days? Then there needs to
be more support for the program. Dollars translate
to better equipment, more stipends for coaches, better
facilities, a commitment to developing players, etc.
It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy
—– if you build it, Woodlake Tiger administration
and community, the players and the wins will come.
This years’ varsity Tigers finished the season
4-6 and chose not to go to the CIF Division V playoffs.
“We know where we need to improve and the adjustments
that must be made to make this a winning program,”
said Coach Jeff Beck, the offensive coordinator. “It’s
all about player development and getting the kids
to listen to what we tell them.”
JV Football— Won
a second consecutive co-league championship and finished
with an overall record of 7-4, and 3-1 in league.
“We teach them to play as if it’s their
last game,” said Eddie Dominguez, JV head coach.
“We started quite a few frosh so we’re
looking forward to having a strong team next year.”
varsity Lady Tigers finished with an overall record
of 10-5; their 7-1 record in ESL play was good for
a co-league championship. JV Lady Tigers were a perfect
8-0 in ESL play, good for a “three-peat”
as league champs.
The frosh Lady Tigers were 6-2 in ESL
play, which provided them with a league championship.
From top to bottom, volleyball was a huge success
this season under the tutelage of Coach Tory Johnson,
ESL Coach of the Year. Congrats, Lady Tigers!
It was a rebuilding year for girls’ tennis as
the varsity squad lost its top 10 players to graduation.
With 14 out of 21 first-year players and no varsity
experience, the season was quite a challenge.
In league play, the girls managed only
one first-round win, 7-2 over Lindsay. In the second
round of league, the girls beat Lindsay 7-2, Orosi
5-4, and McFarland 5-4. The league record was 4-6,
which was good enough to tie for third place out of
six teams (McFarland is in the ESL for tennis).
Second-year player Joee Denis of Three
Rivers was the team captain, team MVP, and number-one
player. She had a tough position as she had to battle
every team’s top player, but she improved and
ended up with six singles wins. Another second-year
player, sophomore Paris Carlsen was the number three
First-year players Selena Harrison of
Three Rivers and Dalila Vasquez of Woodlake had some
great wins and qualified for the Valley Individuals
(both eliminated in the first round). Rounding out
the talented sophomore class is Kalinda McElroy of
Three Rivers. She had some big wins at #5 and #6 singles;
the biggest coming against McFarland when she won
in a tie-breaker to tie the team match and give the
doubles team a chance to win the match.
The 2010 cross-country team enjoyed another successful
and competitive season. Among the boys, junior Leo
Hernandez led the way throughout most of the season;
team captain was Devante Bryant.
Leo Hernandez was named the Most Valuable
Runner. The boys finished second in the ESL for the
fourth consecutive year, again losing only to McFarland.
McFarland went on to win the Division III Section
title and remains a perennial state powerhouse.
At the Section Championship meet, the boys finished
seventh in Division IV.
Of the seven boys that made up the Varsity
team, six will return next year.
The girls’ team was much improved,
led by sophomore Leticia Garcia. Lety finished fifth
at the East Sequoia League meet and 14th at the Section
Championship meet. She was named Most Valuable Runner.
Also, running in the front pack of the
league race was Evanna Navarrette. Navarrette finished
seventh in league and 33rd in the division.
Operation Christmas Child seeks
Operation Christmas Child, started by
a student seeking community-service hours 12 years
ago, is once again gearing up for the holiday season.
Today, the holiday drive is sponsored by Community
Presbyterian Church of Three Rivers.
The following items are currently being
collected to fill Christmas gift bags for children
who may not otherwise have a present under the tree:
Toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo,
hairbrushes, combs, crayons, coloring books, candy
canes, and small toys and stuffed animals.
Donation boxes are located at Three Rivers
Drug & Gifts and the Presbyterian Church.
Monetary donations will also be graciously
accepted. Make checks out to Community Presbyterian
Church, make a notation of “OCC” and mail
to P.O. Box 685, Three Rivers, CA 93271, or deliver
in person to the church office.
Gift bags will be distributed on Saturday,
Dec. 18, in Three Rivers during the Three Rivers Bread
Basket’s Christmas distribution. Additional
gift bags will be handed out on Christmas Eve in Visalia.
1951 – 2010
Anthony B. Rohrkemper, a 30-year resident
of Three Rivers, lost his battle to a rare form of
cancer on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010. On this day before
Thanksgiving, he was surrounded by family members
at his Three Rivers home. He was 59.
Tony was born in Hamilton, Ohio, on March
13, 1951, to Ralph and Catherine “Kate”
Rohrkemper. The family relocated to Corcoran, where
Tony was raised. Tony was a member of the Corcoran
High School marching band, which is where he began
playing the flute.
After graduating from Corcoran High,
Tony attended U.C. Santa Barbara. He continued developing
his musical talent and was accomplished on the flute,
alto saxophone, and several other instruments, all
from which Three Rivers residents benefited over the
past three decades as he played in various local bands.
Tony moved to Three Rivers in 1976, where
he met his soon-to-be-wife Beth. The couple moved
to the Central Coast from 1979 to 1981, where their
daughter, Logan Kathleen, was born. They returned
to Three Rivers in June 1981, where they have resided
Tony was a skilled patternmaker and during
his career created technical products for industries
from aircraft to water management. For the past six
years, he worked locally, building custom homes with
his friend and employer Vince Andrus at Hindsight
Construction and alongside his brother-in-law and
neighbor Bill Nussbaum.
Tony was an avid mountain-bike rider,
spending every spare moment in the saddle on trails
throughout Three Rivers and abroad. Because of all
his passions, Tony had a large circle of friends.
As a result, his final days were spent
in the company of many of these friends and loving
family members. They gathered at his home to share
stories, memories, music, and love.
Maya Ricci and Jana Brittain of Three
Rivers led the Rohrkempers to hospice care. Because
of this compassionate service, Tony was able to remain
in the comforting surroundings of his own home, cared
for by wife Beth, daughter Logan, his brother-in-law
Bill Nussbaum and wife Marilyn Messa, sister Anne,
and hospice buddy Archie.
In addition to his wife of 30 years,
Beth, of Three Rivers and his daughter, Logan, of
Sacramento, Tony is survived by his brother, Mike,
and wife Gerry of El Segundo; brother Jim of Chatham,
Mich.; sister Anne and husband Bill Turnbull of Bellingham,
Wash.; niece Sarah and nephew Kevin and their families;
and his extended family of riders and musicians.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests
that remembrances in Tony’s name be made to
the Kaweah Delta Hospice Foundation (mail checks to
900 W. Oak St., Visalia, CA 93291; or call 733-0642
with a credit card) or to another charity of the donor’s
A Celebration of Life gathering will
be held at the White Horse Inn on Sunday, Dec. 26,
from 3 to 7 p.m. A memorial mountain-bike ride is
planned for what would have been Tony’s 60th
birthday, March 13, 2011.
Notice of Deaths
1926 ~ 2010
James A. Perry of Three Rivers died Wednesday,
Dec. 1, 2010. He was 84.
A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday,
Dec. 7, at 11 a.m., at Community Presbyterian Church.
A luncheon will immediately follow at the Three Rivers
1913 ~ 2010
Frances Beutler of Woodlake died Sunday,
Nov. 28, 2010. She was 97.
Frances was a former resident of Three
Rivers who with her husband Willis operated the Three
Rivers Market during the 1950s.
Visitation will be at Miller Memorial
Chapel in Visalia on Sunday, Dec. 5, from 2 to 5 p.m.
A memorial service will be held at the Community Presbyterian
Church in Three Rivers on Monday, Dec. 6, at 10:30