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, December 7, 2012



It’s a done deal: Measure I

fails to garner two-thirds vote


  It’s official, certified, and a done deal, according to the Tulare County Elections Department. Measure I “yes” votes 845; “no” votes 479. Those numbers translate to 63.82 percent in favor and 36.18 percent against.

  That means that about 100 more yes votes were needed to pass the local parcel tax that would have added tens of thousands of dollars annually to ensure the continued autonomy and operations of Three Rivers Union School.

  Sue Sherwood, superintendent, principal, and seventh/eighth-grade teacher for the 140-student district, expressed disappointment at Measure I’s defeat but said that won’t deter the school staff from providing the same quality education for Three Rivers students at least in the foreseeable future.

  Drew Sorensen, the new superintendent of Woodlake Unified School District, which includes Three Rivers as one of Woodlake High’s feeder schools, said he watched the Measure I campaign with great interest. He admitted that in today’s economy, passing any school-related measure or bond is a difficult sell.

  Sorensen was Woodlake High’s principal prior to his leaving for the same post at El Diamante in 2001. Before he left he was able to persuade Three Rivers and Woodlake voters to spend millions to build the new event center and swimming pool on the campus of Woodlake High.

  “The requirement for two-thirds of the vote was no big deal in those days,” Sorensen recalled. “When we asked for a new gym and pool we received 78 percent of the vote.”

  But that was a different time more than a decade ago. Now Three Rivers School officials must make some difficult decisions, not the least of which will be to come back in 2014 and ask voters one more time for a local parcel tax.


Sequoia plans for next phase of roadwork


  Staff at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced this week that an environmental assessment for the next phase of Generals Highway construction has been completed with just four comments on the project received, which were “generally supportive of the project.” The construction will comprise seven miles of the scenic highway from Deer Ridge (12.5 miles from the Sequoia entrance station) to the Wolverton junction.

  The project will also include the 1.3-mile Wolverton Road, which is used to access the parking lot for the General Sherman Tree and the Pear Lake and Alta Peak trailhead.

  The project has a tentative start date of 2014. As with the other phases of the Generals Highway rehabilitation project, it will involve excavation and replacement of the roadbed and surface; replacement of existing pavement; rehabilitation, replacement, or redesign of drainage structures; replacement of asphalt curbs; replacement of guardrails; the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the road shoulder; and upgrades to turnouts and scenic overlooks.

  A priority of the entire project has been to preserve the aesthetics of the historic road, which opened to public travel in 1926.

  This project began in 1997, and at that time it was estimated to take 10 years. In the most recent press release, it was stated that construction “is expected to continue for an additional five to six years.”

  The Park Service also originally intended to work on phases of the construction on an every-other-year basis. However, the current construction, a 1.5-mile stretch of highway from Amphitheater Point to Deer Ridge has been ongoing since May 2010.

  At the October town meeting in Three Rivers, parks spokesperson Dana Dierkes reported that the current phase would be completed in November. However, November has come and gone and delays are still in effect along this section of roadway with no revised completion date yet announced.

  Currently, traffic is allowed through the construction zone at the top of every hour on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nightwork has ended for the time being, so at all other times of day and night, traffic is regulated by a signal light timed to 20 minutes.

  The Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park from Ash Mountain entrance to Giant Forest also remains closed to vehicles longer than 22 feet (combined length) during this phase of the roadwork.

  For the latest information on traffic delays, call 565-3341 (press 1,1,1) or inquire at park visitor centers where staff will help visitors time their travel to minimize delays.


Assault suspect released from custody


  After a Friday, Nov. 30, court appearance where she was informed of the charges against her, Judy Dovel of Three Rivers was released from custody. Next up in the case is a preliminary hearing scheduled for Friday, Dec. 14.

  Dovel, 66, is charged with several felony counts stemming from the alleged abuse of an 88-year-old Three Rivers woman whom she served as a part-time caretaker. The victim is reportedly in a rehabilitation facility in Visalia where she is currently recovering from bruises and head trauma.        


Winter services in the parks


  The good news is that the Generals Highway between the parks will not close for the entire winter this year. Last winter, once that section of roadway was snow-covered, it was closed for the season. This year, it will reopen after snowstorms as soon as park crews can get the roadway plowed.

  The Lodgepole Campground in Sequoia National Park, which in the past has been open year-round, is closed for the winter. Winter camping is available, however, at Wolverton, which is conveniently adjacent to the snowplay area and near some challenging cross-country ski trails. Although not an improved campground, once the snow falls all those amenities like a table and fire pit get buried anyhow, so Wolverton will offer a place to pitch a tent or park an RV that will be the same as any other snow-covered landscape.

  Restrooms will be available with flush toilets and potable water. The Park Service does offer this warning: “Snow plowing is a lower priority here than on main park roads. Plows may not reach cars and campers for one or more days after a heavy snowfall.”

  It’s mandatory in California to carry tire chains in the vehicle when in snow country. But Wuksachi Lodge offers a service that can’t be beat: they’ll install the tire chains for free for Lodge guests and $20 for anyone else from noon to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.


Woodlake Tigers return to their winning ways


Here’s the wrap-up on the fall teams


  It wasn’t that many years ago when the Woodlake Tigers conjured fear in the hearts of their opponents and were synonymous with winning. The football team under the tutelage of iconic Coach Leo Robinson won league titles almost annually for three decades and competed for Valley championships more years than anyone can remember.

  The Lady Tigers who played basketball in the mid-1980s won a state championship in 1985 and were the runners up for another. In 1988 some of those same Lady Tigers won a Valley championship in volleyball.

  There have been a couple trips to the playoffs here and there, but no Valley titles in the late ‘90s or until Boys’ Soccer broke the drought in 2004.

  The Soccer team has back-to-back victories the last two years. Will there be a three-peat in 2013? The team certainly is planning on it.

  Swimming, nearly every year since the new pool opened in 2002, and Girls’ Tennis the past two seasons, have dominated East Sequoia League play.

For many years since those glory days of the 1980s, Tiger fans have endured some bitter defeats, and the majority of the teams had to endure a streak of losing seasons. But during the past couple of years, there has been a gradual resurgence and Woodlake now finds several of its sports programs knocking on the door of greatness.

  The reshuffling of the Valley divisions a few years ago (e.g., volleyball competes in Division 4 while football is in Division 5) clearly leveled some of the playing fields. Woodlake Soccer (Division 5) reaped immediate benefits.

  Boys’ Soccer won consecutive Valley championships in 2011 and 2012 and now this season are joined by the Lady Tigers in Volleyball who just last month won their first Valley crown in 24 years.

  Even more dramatic was the turnaround of a Football team that finished 1-9 just a season ago. This season, the Tigers finished their impressive winning run just a win short of the Valley title game.

  Tiger Football utilized a familiar formula for success and a page out of the past – outstanding play at quarterback, at least one running back with more than 1,000 yards rushing, and a defense that stiffened when the game was on the line. And they did it all on the road while their home field is under construction.

  It appears there is a pattern here at Woodlake. It’s lots of hard work and patience, dedicated coaches, with some community support for new facilities, and that equals success.  New pool, new gym, new football field, new baseball fields, new tennis courts (coming soon), new track (coming soon). In other words, if we build it,  they will play hard and we all win.

  Varsity Volleyball— The Lady Tigers played some of the best volleyball at Woodlake in the last three decades. They were a perfect 10-0 in ESL play, won a Valley championship, the program’s first since 1988, and hosted a first-round State regional playoff game, which they won 3-0 vs. Laguna Blanca (Santa Barbara).

  Coach Tori Johnson’s Lady Tigers finished 27-5 overall and maybe best of all, three of the teams’ statistical leaders — Brenda Acosta (junior/assists); Melissa Samaniego (junior/blocks); and KiAnna Cunningham (sophomore/kills) all will return next season.

  Varsity Football— Head Coach Scott Hernandez guided his road-weary Tigers to a 10-4 overall record, 3-2 in East Sequoia League play. The Tigers opened the Central Section playoffs with a 21-14 win vs. Sierra, then lost in the semi-finals at Corcoran.

  Senior quarterback Philip Woods of Three Rivers finished fourth in the ESL in passing and is hoping to land with a Division 1 university. He’s entertaining lots of suitors but is leaning toward Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.

  Senior fullback Eric Martinez gained 1,714 yards, good for second in the ESL. John Kulick, a sophomore from Three Rivers, was the second leading ground gainer so the Tigers won’t skip a beat in their 2013 running game.

  Tiger Football and Soccer fans will soon be enjoying new stands and a revamped state-of-the-art Robinson Memorial Field encircled by a brand-new all-weather track. If you build it more kids will play and the fans will come too.

  JV Football— The JV Tigers finished 6-4 overall and 3-2 league.

  “Overall, we had great success this season, especially when you consider this was mostly a freshman team,” said Eddie Dominguez, head coach. “All the guys played hard, but I’m really proud of those who came back from some trouble with their grades. They worked extra hard and played some outstanding football.”

  Miguel Perez was worthy of mention for his outstanding play and Eddie Pena stepped in at quarterback when the starter went down and did an excellent job running the offense for eight games, Coach Dominguez said.

  Cross Country— The boys finished fourth in the ESL. Senior runner Leticia Garcia qualified for the State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno for a record third time.

  Garcia placed fifth overall at the Central Section Championship Meet by running a 20:39 over the 5K course. Garcia clocked a 21:05 at Woodward Park good for 98th place in a 204-runner field.

  Tennis— Coach Mike Judson’s Lady Tigers continued the building of their winning tradition in Tennis. Seniors Selena Harrison of Three Rivers and Dalila Vasquez took the ESL doubles title; the team finished in second place overall.

  In the area tourney, the girls advanced to the Valley championships by beating Dinuba and Tulare Union.

  Harrison said she hopes to attend UC Davis to study veterinary science and probably won’t pursue team tennis unless it’s in a club setting. Dalila said she has already been approached by the COS coach and hopes to be playing there next season.


FBC invites all to Christmas program


  The “Majesty of Heaven” is set to be performed three evenings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Dec. 14-16, by the Living Christmas Tree at the First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.

  “Majesty of Heaven” is a beautifully crafted retelling of the miraculous events of that first Christmas when God in heaven bridged the chasm that existed with our humanity by the gift of his Son.

  Since its inception in the 1990s as a gift to the community, the Living Tree has grown not only in the number of singers, but the tree itself now stunningly seems to brush the rafters of the sanctuary. This setting makes a wonderful and warm contribution to the power of the message.

  The production is being directed by Three Rivers own Eileen Farrell, whose storied career performing, training and producing has spanned the decades and the continent. With songs by Chris Tomlin and Stephen Curtis Chapman, among others, this contemporary Christmas choral is destined for greatness.

  The production begins at 6 p.m. It is free but any donations made will go to support Three Rivers Union School. Refreshments are included.

  This article was contributed by Steven Swinney.




Ann Hogrebe

1928 ~ 2012

  Ann Marie Hogrebe, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Monday, Dec. 4, 2012. She was 84.

  A rosary will be held Thursday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m., at Salser and Dillard Funeral Chapel (127 E. Caldwell Ave., Visalia). A memorial mass will be held Friday, Dec. 7, at 1:30 p.m., at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 608 N. Church St., Visalia. Interment at Visalia District Cemetery will be private.

  Ann was born to Patrick J. and Catherine (Harkins) Glennon in Hanover Township, Penn., where she was raised and educated. In 1950, she married Anthony Hogrebe.

  The couple moved to California in 1957. Ann was a national show coordinator for Redken Labs, a cosmetics company. After residing in the San Fernando Valley for 27 years, the couple relocated to Three Rivers upon Tony’s retirement in 1986.

  Ann and Tony moved to Visalia in 2001. She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

  In 2008, Ann was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Tony. Her parents and sister Joan also preceded her in death.

  She is survived by two sons, Anthony Jr. and wife Liz of Brea and John E. Hogrebe of Visalia; and two sisters, Marion Glennon of Ventura and Kay and husband Elmer Bodnar of Mariposa.

  Remembrances may be made to St. Clair’s Altar Society, P.O. Box 1001, Three Rivers, CA  93271.


Ann Hogrebe

June 21, 1936 - November 29, 2012

  A service was held Sunday, Dec. 2, at Three Rivers Arts Center. An obituary will be published in the Friday, Dec. 14, issue.

Nancy Jonnum

July 10, 1940 ~ December 5, 2012

  A service date will be finalized by today (Friday, Dec. 7). Call Evans-Miller-Guinn Exeter Chapel for information (592-5161). An obituary will be published in the Friday, Dec. 14, issue.


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 2003-2012 The Kaweah Commonwealth