this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
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
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
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
How much will a site plan review
If required, the cost would include the
expense of drawing the required plans
and the application fee, which is currently
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.
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
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.
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
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,
Rockslide on Highway
A rockslide occurred about
4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day on the S-curve
between the Mineral King Road and Pumpkin
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
Horse team returns
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
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
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…
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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
The last 10 years of his
career were devoted to consulting on deep-space
communications with NASA and other aerospace
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
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
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
He was buried in the Three
Rivers Cemetery on Wednesday, Dec. 3.
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
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
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.
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
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.