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
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, December 5, 2008


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

Scenic highway proposal

tops town meeting agenda

   The Three Rivers Town Hall meeting returns next week and the timing couldn’t be better. That’s because The Kaweah Scenic Highway designation is nearing completion and the unveiling of its corridor protection plan at last month’s meeting raised a number of questions and concerns.
   David Claxton, the county’s chief long-range planner and project manager, has been working overtime meeting with Three Rivers business owners and residents who are seeking answers on just how the scenic corridor’s regulations might affect future plans for rebuilding or one day when owners might want to sell a roadside business or property.
   Claxton will be the featured speaker at Monday night’s meeting. He said there was really only one big surprise in the plan and that involved the grandfathering clause.
   When the application was originally submitted it was widely believed that all existing businesses could be grandfathered and still included in the scenic corridor. A problem surfaced when Caltrans guidelines stipulated that any roadside properties that are not in compliance with current county ordinances could not be grandfathered in a scenic highway proposal.
   It didn’t take long for project boosters to realize that in order for the scenic highway to be approved, it wouldn’t be workable to grandfather some properties and not others.
   That situation of no grandfathering has local business owners and project boosters facing a dilemma. How is a practical consensus reached to garner the public support necessary for approval?

  “There really are no new restrictions in the corridor protection plan,” Claxton said. “If everyone would just take a look at the existing Three Rivers Community Plan and the Foothills Management Plan, these measures are already on the books and should be enforced.”
   County compliance staff readily admits that correcting violations in Three Rivers has been lax in the past.

  “We just don’t have the manpower to go out and hunt for violations,” said Bruce Kendall, code compliance chief.
   Kendall says his staff is buried now just trying to field the official complaints. So what’s happened in the outlying communities is that code violations, in some cases, have become the norm.
   Claxton says in a typical scenario, when an applicant comes to the county with plans, that’s when they become savvy about planning regulations and what is required to do a project. The scenic highway just adds another layer of enforcement, so everyone becomes a little more aware of the existing planning regulations.
   For the Monday meeting, Claxton has compiled a detailed list of frequently asked questions that he hopes to be able to answer.   Among those are some samples included below:

Is the 300-foot boundary a setback?
No. It simply delineates the area along the Highway where likely visual impact from development is greatest. The new ordinance is actually less restrictive than the existing ordinance that requires a 100-foot front yard setback for new development. This requirement was intentionally left out of the new ordinance so that underlying zoning setbacks would still apply.

How much will a site plan review cost?
If required, the cost would include the expense of drawing the required plans and the application fee, which is currently $1,087.

Why does the new ordinance have so many regulations?
There are 24 regulations outlined in the new ordinance. Of those, only three could be considered new. The other 21 already exist; new development in Three Rivers is already subject to these, the essence of which is in the scenic corridor protection plan. The new ordinance applies only to new development, not existing land uses or structures. If someone has an existing property along Hwy. 198, they will only be affected if and when they apply for a permit or other land-use entitlement like a special use permit.

   Claxton says he is aware that there are other questions and concerns and invites everyone to come to Monday’s meeting so that he can at least clear the air on the misinformation.

Propane technician

burned in explosion

   The apartments at 43651 Encina Drive in Three Rivers have the normal number of tenants who move in and out intermittently. The route driver for Jack Griggs Propane has been there numerous times to light a stove pilot and start up a new account.
   On Monday, Dec. 1, a routine service call at 3 p.m. turned into an emergency medical aid. The quick response of local firefighters helped keep the damage to a minimum and also provided medical assistance at the scene.
   The first unit to arrive was a local paid call firefighter, and what he encountered was a burn victim outside and smoke coming from one of the building’s units. Within minutes, more firefighters were on-scene and were able to treat the 58-year-old male for burns to his face and hands.
   At the same time, the fire that resulted from the propane explosion was suppressed by a sprinkler system that was activated within the unit during the fire. No damage estimates to the building or its contents were filed in the preliminary incident report.
   While the victim was being treated at the scene, it was noted that he may have ingested toxic flame. As is routine with most burn victims, the patient was airlifted via the California Highway Patrol helicopter to Community Medical Center in Fresno.
   At the Fresno Burn Center, the patient was treated for second-degree burns and later released. His injuries were not serious and he should be able to return to work by next week.
   According to information gathered at the scene, the cause of the propane leak and explosion was a broken connector line. The propane serviceman did not smell gas or hear it escaping prior to the explosion.
   There was evidence suggesting that the line may have been cut or broken when an appliance was disconnected or moved. The cause of the explosion and fire is currently under investigation.

Backpacker’s disappearance

is a mystery

   An abandoned backcountry campsite near Twin Lakes in Sequoia National Park has park rangers baffled. The discovery comes after the park received reports on Sunday, Nov. 30, from two hikers who reportedly noticed that the site was not occupied for more than 24 hours. That information earlier this week follows another sketchy report from a hiker more than a week ago about a similar unoccupied campsite.
   Search teams and specially-trained dogs have been combing the area, which includes the Lodgepole and Wuksachi trailheads, as well as backcountry locales such as Silliman Pass and Jennie Lake.  The camp, which has been dismantled by the Park Service, included a tent and backpack, some gear, and food still stowed away in a nearby bear-box.
   Currently, there are no reports of overdue hikers, no unresolved wilderness permits, and no abandoned vehicles. The NPS is looking for anyone who may have been hiking between Lodgepole and Silliman Pass since October 31.

  “We are looking for information about when this camp was set up, so even if someone did not see the camp, that could provide a clue in the investigation,” said Kyle Nelson, incident commander.
   It’s possible that after hiking the seven miles to Twin Lakes, someone discovered that backpacking just wasn’t for them. Parks information officer Alex Picavet said that in the past campground visitors have left gear behind. But in this current case, there could also be a lost or injured hiker in need of urgent assistance.
   Anyone with information about the mysterious camp is asked to contact park rangers. The parks’ dispatcher may be contacted day or night at 565-3341, extension 0.

Rockslide on Highway 198

   A rockslide occurred about 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day on the S-curve between the Mineral King Road and Pumpkin Hollow.

December night skies:

It came upon a midnight clear

   This month’s evening skies abound with gifts for anyone who takes the time to look up.
   This past Monday and Tuesday (December 1 and 2), Venus and Jupiter lined up side by side early in the evening, low in the southwest. Venus is the brighter of the two, with Jupiter to its right.    The crescent Moon was to their upper left, creating what looked like a popular computer symbol: ( :
   The Moon also just missed the planet Neptune this week, which was visible through powerful binoculars. Neptune looks like a faint star with a hint of blue.
   Today (Friday, Dec. 5), the Moon is at first quarter, so sunlight illuminates half of the lunar surface that faces Earth. One might expect a “half” Moon to be half as bright as a full Moon, but instead it is only about one-tenth as bright.
   There will be a full moon on Friday, Dec. 12. On Saturday, Dec. 13, the Geminids meteor shower peaks. Even if the skies are clear, the gibbous moon will drown out most of its “shooting stars.”
   Other planets visible in the sky this month will be Saturn and Mercury. Regulus, in Leo the Lion, will be the bright star near the moon Tuesday, Dec. 16.
   The earliest sunsets of the year are currently being experienced, which happen just before the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Also signaling the first day of winter, the solstice will occur Sunday, Dec. 21.
   The night skies are also full of bright constellations, especially toward the south and east. Look for Orion, the hunter; Gemini, the twins; and Orion’s hunting dogs, Canis Minor and Canis Major, which contains Sirius, the “Dog Star,” the brightest star in the night sky.

SFCC announces

December news and events

   Think Local for the Holidays— Looking for a local trip to take with family during the holidays? December is the perfect month to enjoy Three Rivers, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and surrounding gateway communities.
Get out and explore the parks on a day trip, enjoy lunch at one of the local eating establishments, and be sure to spend some time looking for just the right gift from a local retailer during your holiday shopping.
   Board Changes— In 2008, the Chamber bid farewell to Andy Grinsfelder, David Learned, and vice president Scott Mullikin. The Chamber’s board of directors and members are grateful for the time and talent shared by these folks to improve the economic health of the region.
   This year, the Chamber added C. Arlin Talley and Diane Mason as directors. They join a dedicated board that includes: Johanna Kamansky, president; Mark Tilchen, secretary; Chris Schlossin, treasurer; and directors Paul Bischoff, Linda Drouet, and Leah Catherine Launey. Alexandra Picavet serves as the NPS liaison.
   Anyone who is interested in working to improve the economic health of Three Rivers and surrounding gateway communities should consider volunteering their time and expertise on the Chamber board.
   Holiday Mixer— Join the Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce for their annual holiday member mixer Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This mixer, hosted in partnership with the Three Rivers Historical Society, will be held at the Chamber office and Three Rivers Museum at 42268 Sierra Drive.
   The business community and the public is invited to share their holiday cheer, celebrate the Chamber’s 2008 accomplishments, and enjoy refreshments while networking with local business owners.
   Santa is scheduled to make a special appearance around 7:15 p.m., and will be handing out candy canes to the well-behaved.
   The Chamber will also be taking this opportunity to recognize some of the folks who have helped bring the organization to its current level success, including the volunteers who staff the visitor center and museum daily and former key members and directors.
   Community Caroling— Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the second annual Community Caroling event on Saturday, Dec. 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. Gather in the lot next to the Three Rivers Mercantile at 41152 Sierra Drive to sing holiday songs while enjoying hot beverages and snacks around a bonfire.
   The Three Rivers Historical Society is planning this event with donations and contributions from local merchants throughout Three Rivers.


Wood ‘N’ Horse team returns

victorious from World show

   Fort Worth, Texas, was the venue for the Appaloosa World Championship Horse Show held October 26 to November 1. After a three-day drive, the Wood ‘N’ Horse Show Team arrived in Texas and started preparing for the tough competition.
   The World Show is an invitation-only competition, and exhibitors need to qualify by earning enough points as they show throughout the year.
   Erin Farnsworth of Three Rivers showed her mare, “Justa Native,” to a World Championship in Non-Pro Saddle Seat Pleasure and Non-Pro Hunter in Hand Mares. Erin also won Reserve Champion in Non-Pro Equitation Over Fences and placed in the top 10 in four other classes.
   Mary Ann Boylan and Sue Rojcewicz of Salinas showed their horse “I’m So Hot I’m Cool” and placed 10th and 11th in Ladies Heritage and Non-Pro Showmanship.
   Together, Mary Ann and Sue were honored with the Sportsmanship Award. The recipients of this honor are chosen by a secret panel of judges who watch how exhibitors deal with the pressure of showing.
   Christy Wood, the coach of the show team, showed her own horse, “Blue Suede Dude,” and won World Champion in Open Saddle Seat Pleasure, Reserve Champion in Ladies Heritage, and placed third and fifth in two Over Fence classes.

It’s a persimmon…

and what to do with it
by Anore Jones

  There are two main types of persimmons growing locally and currently available in stores and at fruit stands. The Hachiya is large with a long body and pointed flower end, whereas the Fuyu is smaller and more tomato-shaped with a flatter flower end.
   Both are shiny orange, but the big difference is that Fuyu can be eaten while hard or soft, but the Hachiya must only be eaten after they are completely soft or they are so astringent that you may choke and never taste one again.
   However, Hachiya may be dried while still firm, and in the process of drying they ripen to become delicious.
   The following directions are about drying and freezing Hachiya. Fuyu may be processed the same way but are not quite as delicious.
Pick them in either one of two ways, depending on how you intend to process them. Those to be dried whole must have a “T” handle left on the stem.
   Lay the picked persimmons out one layer deep so you can keep track of which ones are ripening first. Check them every few days to separate the ones that are softening. These need special attention, in order to catch each when it is perfectly ripe and soft all over.
   At this point you have three choices: (1) Eat it; (2) Make cookies, breads, candies, pies, etc., and (3) Freeze it, either as-is or pulped out into zip-loc bags.
   Frozen persimmons can be used in every way, except dried, all year long. They make fabulous smoothies on hot summer days.
   To dry them whole, choose those with “T” stems that are darker orange and closer to ripe but still completely firm. These must be peeled with a carrot peeler so they form a dry skin to hold the pulp as it ripens and dries.
   This is very important because if you don’t peel them, the skin will split as they soften allowing the pulp to escape.
   After peeling, hang them any way you can. I take a string, make a loop in one end, then tie each persimmon stem with a slipknot about two persimmon widths apart.
   When you have as many on one string as you want to fit a certain space, hang the string up high where it has the most warmth and air circulation. I use a hook, screwed into strong wood near the ceiling and string them across the room with the most heat and air circulation.
   They take up to a month to dry under good drying conditions. A fan keeps the air moving, which is important to keep them from molding. Hung outside and protected from rain, they turn white with a sugary coating. Dried inside where it is warm, they dry up orange.
   These whole dried persimmons are a delicious treat. Perhaps they are so good because the slow drying allows time for them to fully ripen and develop a symphony of rich flavors and a firm, chewy texture.
   The other way to dry them is cut into slices and placed in a food dehydrator. For this, do not peel them, but cut out a cone around the stem and discard.
   The less ripe the persimmon, the thicker it must be sliced to allow it to more fully ripen as it dries, otherwise it may dry slightly astringent and not so delicious. Sometimes I slice very hard persimmons an inch thick then let them sit overnight before turning the dryer on.
   They also can simply be cut in half and dried. These also can have a chewy, licorice-like texture.
   On the other extreme, a persimmon that is only a few days from softening, yet is still firm enough to cut, may be sliced as thinly as possible to make beautiful star decorations or crunchy, sweet flakes.

Gordon Wood
1944 ~ 2008

   Gordon Everett Wood, a lifelong visitor to Mineral King where he and his family maintained a summer cabin, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008, after a valiant six-year battle against chronic lymphocytic leukemia and liver disease. He resided in and was a 30-year resident of La Canada, Calif. He was 64 years old.
   Gordon was born Feb. 20, 1944, to Everett and Josephine Wood in Hollywood and grew up in Glendale, where he attended Glendale High School and Glendale College. He received a bachelor of science degree with honors in Electronics Engineering from the California State Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo and a master’s of science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley where he was on the Dean’s List.
   Gordon had a brilliant career in developing and operating electronic devices used in deep space exploration. He spent 32 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he built radios and ultra-stable oscillators for spacecraft that flew to Mars and the outer planets.
   He was the project manager for an experimental deep-space tracking station in the Mojave Desert, managed JPL’s Telecommunications Systems organization, and was responsible for communications with the first U.S. Mars Rover, Sojourner.
   The last 10 years of his career were devoted to consulting on deep-space communications with NASA and other aerospace industrial organizations.
   Gordon always considered his best project the development and operation of a personal webcam system (www.mk-webcam.net) in the Mineral King valley of Sequoia National Park.
   An avid traveler, Gordon visited 30 countries. He was a volunteer at the AIDS Service Center in Pasadena and was chairman of the Board of Governors of the Starlight Mesa Homeowners Association in La Canada.
   He received two NASA Exceptional Service Medals and the Caltech/JPL Award for Technical Excellence. He was a private pilot and an amateur radio operator. He was awarded a U.S. Patent for his invention of the Simultaneous Interference Tracking Technique.
   Gordon is survived by his partner of 31 years, Glenn E. Cunningham of La Canada; his sister, Carol Daroff of El Segundo; his cousin, Marcia Wood of Fresno; his aunt, Olive Manford of Yucaipa; nieces Wendy Nelson and Vicki Harvey; nephew David Daroff; and many cousins.
   He was buried in the Three Rivers Cemetery on Wednesday, Dec. 3.

Robert Maloy
1920 ~ 2008

   Robert S. Maloy died Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008, in Visalia. He was 87.
   Bob was born Dec. 31, 1920, in Bayfield, Colo., to Fannie A. and William Leroy Maloy. The family moved to Exeter in 1925.
   Bob attended Exeter schools, graduating from Exeter High in 1939. As a teenager, he worked summers at the Giant Forest and Mineral King pack stations.
   He attended Visalia Junior College (present-day College of the Sequoias). In 1943, Bob married the former Marion Junod in Three Rivers.

  When World War II began, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.  In 1944, he was assigned to the European Theater as an infantryman and walked from Luxembourg to the Czechoslovakian border. He eventually rose to the rank of sergeant.
  After returning from the war, his career took several directions, from rancher to the General Cable Corporation and California Reel to, finally, the state Employment Development Department.
   Bob was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Marion; his parents; brothers Lee (of Three Rivers), Wilburn, and Marvin; and sister Ila.
   He is survived by his sons, James Maloy and wife Linda of Tulare and Patrick Maloy of Lindsay; daughter Louise and husband Larry of Tulare; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
   Interment was at Exeter Cemetery. Remembrances in Bob’s name may be made to the American Cancer Society, 2211 N. Encina St., Visalia, CA 93291.

Ruth Edmiston
1924 ~ 2008

   Ruth Elaine Edmiston died Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008, at her Woodlake home. She was 84.
   Ruth was born Oct. 16, 1924, in Fresno. She was raised in Woodlake and attended Woodlake Schools.
   On March 1, 1947, she married Richard Edmiston. In 1984, Ruth was name Woodlake’s Woman of the Year.
   Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Richard.
   She is survived by her four children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
   Remembrances in Ruth’s name may be made to the Woodlake Presbyterian Church, where she was a lifelong member; Kaweah Delta Foundation; or a charity of the donor’s choice.

   These stories and so much more in the weekly print edition of The Kaweah Commonwealth.


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 2003-2008 The Kaweah Commonwealth