In the News -
Friday, DECEMBER 8, 2006
gonna find out who’s naughty or nice…
Reimer’s Candies thieves
h elp themselves to sweets
Although there were two custom windows broken, it could have
been much worse as owner Lynn Bretz took down glass measurements Friday
morning, Dec. 1, after a thief or thieves made off with a sizable quantity
of jawbreakers, saltwater taffy, and boxed cookies from Reimer’s
Candies. Tulare County Sheriff’s Department investigators combed
the Sierra Drive business for clues and found a suspicious-looking shoeprint.
Bretz said the worst thing for him was the annoyance of having
to stop all the holiday preparations to deal with the cleanup. The weeks
prior to Christmas are the busiest days of the year for the historic shop
that has offered custom sweet treats in Three Rivers for a half-century.
Sometime during Thursday night, Nov. 30, or the predawn hours
of Friday, a person or persons smashed the panes in two side windows and
grabbed as much merchandise as they could carry from a counter that contained
hundreds of individually-wrapped candies and special holiday boxed cookies.
Larger boxes of Reimer’s renowned chocolates remained untouched
on shelves nearby as there was no evidence that entry was made in any
of the three buildings that serve as gift shop, candy shop, and ice cream
Bretz, who along with his wife, Mary Anne, have owned and
operated the store for two years, estimates the inventory loss at $400
plus several hundred more dollars that were needed to repair the custom
windows. The deck was strewn with dropped goodies, apparently left behind
during the getaway.
anyone considered that the suspect might be a smarter-than-your-average
bear?” asked one local after hearing about the break-in.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she was driving
by Reimer’s in the pre-dawn hours several years ago, when she saw
a large black bear trying to enter the front door of the candy store.
Nothing was taken in that incident but there was some minor damage to
If it was a bear or a more traditional thief with a sweet
tooth, the Scrooge of a culprit may just be gearing up for the holidays.
A few days later, a Christmas tree display was vandalized at the Three
Rivers Mercantile and an unknown quantity of trees was stolen, but it
is unknown if these incidents are related.
No arrests have been made in the Reimer’s case, but
a reward of $250 is offered for tips leading to a conviction.
Information about these or any crimes may be provided to
the Sheriff Department’s dispatcher, 733-6211.
Charter director retires
from WHS Foundation
When Bill Tidwell of Three Rivers received his ceremonial
plaque earlier this week for 15 years of Woodlake High School Foundation
service as a director, it represented much more than a thanks for a job
well done. His tenure on the Foundation board spans the entire history
of Woodlake High’s biggest booster, and he has been instrumental
in the organization’s greatest accomplishment — its burgeoning
annual scholarship program for high school seniors.
sure we are a more legitimate organization today because Bill was a member
of our board for all those years,” said Diana Pearcy, the WHS Foundation
board president. “He kept us on track when we needed it most and
knows more than anyone could imagine about bylaws and board procedures.”
Tidwell, who after serving in the Navy in post-World War
II Hawaii, earned a Ph.D. in Microbiology from UCLA and later retired
from a 40-year teaching career that included being a professor at San
At the urging of Sue Mills, another retired teacher and Three
Rivers resident who Tidwell knew from the Sierra Traditional Jazz Club,
he became one of the founding board members of the WHS Foundation in 1991.
He wanted to get involved, he said, because he really missed the contact
Tidwell won’t be leaving altogether as he will continue
to serve on the Foundation’s scholarship committee. Never one to
pass on an opportunity to utilize his gift as an educator, the Commonwealth
posed a few questions to Professor Tidwell related to the Foundation’s
Q— How has the Foundation evolved
since the board was organized in 1991?
A— The original Foundation board was
made up primarily of older businessmen (real estate brokers, bankers,
orange growers, etc.). As they left, their replacements were largely younger
business people who were alumni of WHS or school administrators.
The original body planned to seek large donations from businesses
run by those in the Woodlake Tigers network. Success was slow in coming
and more parents were added to the board.
The annual dinner during Western Week became a fundraising
approach since it would attract more alumni and friends. After a few years,
these relationships became stronger and donations began to come in. For
example, the total assets in January 1998 were $70,500; in August 2005,
they were $301,100.
Q— How have the scholarship students
changed that you have interviewed over the years?
A— At first, students had to learn
that all the talk about scholarships really meant something important.
In 1993, about 55 students applied; 49 actually came to be interviewed.
Of this number, six had grade point averages [GPAs] above 4.0.
In 2006, 65 applied and all came to be interviewed. Eight
had higher than a 4.0 GPA.
Recently, the students have had much stronger ideas where
they want to go to college and what they want to study. The variety of
schools they attend and the majors they prefer are also greater.
The word has spread about what takes place in the interviews
and the students seem more open to strangers and the recommendations from
Q— What is the future of Woodlake
High School and academia in general?
A— I hope that Woodlake High will
continue on its current path. Attending college is widely accepted by
the community now, so kids think in terms of continuing their education
beyond high school. Woodlake still has classes for those not interested
or capable, and they are not looked down upon.
Constant standardized testing at the lower levels, with “reward
money” involved, bothers me greatly. It probably has administrators
pushing, if not forcing, teachers to teach to the test rather than using
their unique talents to inspire students with variable backgrounds, abilities,
and interests, and to love learning.
* * *
Bill Tidwell will remain as a member of the Foundation’s
advisory board, continue to conduct scholarship interviews and, of course,
dedicate even more time to instill his love of learning in all who will
WHAT WE’RE READING
BECAUSE WE GET as excited to visit a bookstore
as kids on their way to a toy store. Because we read when there’s
chores to be done. Because our home library, bedside nightstands, and
tables are overflowing with books that we can’t wait to read.
THIS IS SOME of what has prompted us to create this new feature
that will give us the opportunity to individually highlight “What
We’re Reading.” The books aren’t necessarily recent
releases, but have local, regional, or statewide significance.
An insider’s view of the University of California
By John Elliott
Any parent with a high school student contemplating attending
a university as a freshman faces a daunting task. It’s a competitive
world out there with way too many choices.
Being the parents of a new college frosh and another following
close on her heels, we have dedicated much of the last three years to
visiting, researching and, the subject of this article, reading about
The higher education that is offered to Californians —
at the 10 campuses of the University of California system, 23 California
State University campuses, or a community college — is simply the
best bang for the buck. Following our daughter’s lead, we narrowed
our college search to the University of California.
I found that a good place to begin in my new role as a UC
parent was by reading a book that I located in a campus bookstore during
one of our college visits. A Brief History of the University of California
is a neatly packaged, small paperback that begins with a quote from its
second president, Daniel Coit Gilman, 1872.
is not the University of Berlin nor of New Haven which we are to copy…
but it is the University of this State. It must be adapted to this people,
to their public and private schools, to their peculiar geographical position,
to the requirements of their new society and their undeveloped resources.”
Gilman’s prophetic words were uttered at a time when
a fledgling university contained one tiny campus in a state that had no
private college or university tradition. But California did have unbounded
pioneering spirit and a special sense of its own place.
Like so many of this nation’s public universities founded
in the 19th century, UC began as a land grant institution devoted to agriculture,
mining, and the mechanical arts.
Its very first campus, located in the city of Berkeley, was
made possible because of a generous donation in 1867 by the College of
California. The church-affiliated college made its land in Oakland available
and another larger tract four miles to the north.
Gov. H.H. Haight signed a charter for the new university
on March 23, 1868 — Charter Day — and the University of California
The surrounding townsite of the larger parcel was named for
George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne. The good bishop had visited America
in 1729 in the hope of founding a school to educate and evangelize the
aboriginals. Realizing this objective was ahead of its time, he furnished
the model for Columbia University and endowed three scholarships at Yale.
Classes began at Berkeley in 1873 after North and South Halls
were completed, the latter has been preserved and is the oldest building
on campus. Women were admitted from the start, causing President Gilman
to remark in 1874 that the proportion of women who rank higher in scholarship
was greater than that of men.
From the outset there was great debate as to whose interests
this university should serve. Critics wanted more emphasis on the purpose
of the land grant college and that its students should have the best training
in agricultural and mechanical arts. Defenders of the literary, agricultural,
and scientific departments already established maintained that the new
University was hospitable to farmers but its agricultural education must
be based on scientific methods of inquiry, not on vocational training
for future farmers.
Gilman, a Yale man, did not survive the turbulent 1870s and
resigned amidst unfounded charges that the University misappropriated
federal land grants funding. Fortunately for all Californians, before
he departed to assume the presidency at Johns Hopkins University, Gilman
laid the foundation for UC’s future greatness.
Under Gilman’s tenure, Berkeley doubled the size of
its library, started the first visiting lectureships and graduate fellowships,
and essentially defined the standards and aspirations that continue to
guide UC today.
This book and its discussion are simply too good to put down
at this juncture. Next time I will profile just how it evolved from a
single campus to 10, all of which have a specialized role in serving its
more than 200,000 students.
ADDITIONAL READING: Because our daughter made the decision
to attend the original University of California at Berkeley, another recently-read
and fascinating guide, which would be pertinent to anyone with an interest
in the state’s history, is: University of California, Berkeley:
An Architectural Tour (2002), by Harvey Helfand
Sierra exploration was first of its kind
By Sarah Elliott
If I’m not hiking in the Sierra, then I want to be
reading about this spectacular range.
A recent find is a book published in 1974 that will appeal
to all mountaineers, whether of the active or armchair variety. High Odyssey:
The First Solo Winter Assault of Mt. Whitney and the Muir Trail Area was
written by Eugene Rose.
Some longtime residents will remember seeing Rose’s
name in print on a regular basis. Gene is a former reporter and photographer
from The Fresno Bee who wrote extensively on issues affecting the Sierra
Nevada mountain range.
Using the extensive diary of Orland “Bart” Bartholomew
and selecting 56 photographs from nearly 400 that documented the trip,
the author compiled a story about a mountaineering feat that had never
before been accomplished. In the winter of 1928-1929, Bart skied the crest
of the Sierra Nevada from Cottonwood Creek, south of Mount Whitney, to
the Yosemite Valley — loosely along the route of the John Muir Trail.
He was the first person to ever attempt such an undertaking
during the snowy season.
Bart’s journey began on Christmas Day 1928 and ended
April 3, 1929. He traveled the 300 miles alone on six-foot-long wooden
skis, using poles adapted from garden-rake handles, with a tarp for a
tent, only a down robe for sleeping and warmth, cooking over an open fire,
and carrying a 70-pound pack that included an Eastman-Kodak folding bellows
His 30th birthday came and went somewhere along the route.
Multi-day storms and whiteouts, avalanches, frozen lakes and massive cornices,
and even an “alpine hurricane” determined when and where he
Bart experienced some tense moments and close calls, including
a fall into a creek. This became a precarious situation as not only was
he wet, but his pack also went into the water, soaking all his extra clothes
film, camera, food and first-aid supplies had been protected by their
waterproof bags, but spare clothing and the down robe he used as a sleeping
bag were hopelessly soaked.”
He also was witness to wolves, wolverines, and porcupines,
something the rest of us probably won’t see in the Sierra, winter
or summer, in our lifetimes.
To ensure adequate sustenance during his trip, Bart spent
the previous summer placing 11 food caches in strategic locations along
his planned route. Thirty-gallon garbage cans were painted dark green
and packed with 50 to 60 pounds of food.
The caches were carried into the wilderness on packhorses.
They were stashed off-trail, well away from hikers and hunters who may
have helped themselves.
Bart summited 14,000-foot Mount Langley and, on Jan. 10,
1929, made it to the top of Mount Whitney, the first winter ascent of
what is the highest mountain in the then-48 United States.
as I was to reach the summit, it seemed all obstacles known to mountaineers
had been amassed to thwart progress,” Bart wrote in his diary. “By
the time Whitney’s broad shoulder had been reached the sun was alarmingly
low… and [there was] the danger of being trapped on the mountain
Bart’s skill with a camera parallels that on his skis.
The crisp black-and-white photos don’t merely describe the scenes,
the imagery ensures all experience the Sierra’s winter terrain.
Bart (1899-1957) ventured into the Sierra and triumphed over
nature without modern inventions consisting of anything titanium, Polartec,
or Goretex. He spent much of his time in elevations above 10,000 feet
and in temperatures that dropped to 14 degrees below zero while navigating
the most treacherous terrain in California during the harshest season.
I read this book with a topo map at my side and followed
Bart’s journey closely. There is a basic map in the book that also
traces his route.
ADDITIONAL READING: A few other favorite Sierra titles include:
The Pass (1906), by Stewart Edward White; My Ranger Years:
Sequoia National Park, 1935-1947 (1993), by Gordon Wallace; The
Last Season (2006), by Eric Blehm; and Angels in the Wilderness:
The True Story of One Woman’s Survival Against All Odds (2005),
by Amy Racina.
Copies of parks GMP now available
As reported in last week’s issue, the “Final
General Management Plan and Comprehensive River Management Plan”
and “Environmental Impact Statement for Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks and Middle and South Forks of the Kings River and North
Fork of the Kern River” has been completed and released (“Guide
Book: Sequoia-Kings Canyon have a new plan,” Dec. 1, 2006).
The purpose of the Final GMP is to establish guidelines for
the planning and desired future conditions of the parks for the next two
decades. All public comments received are included in the plan.
Last week, details were sketchy as to how to obtain a copy
of the three-volume plan. Currently, the plan is online at:
CDs and limited print copies of the plan may be requested
by calling Sequoia-Kings Canyon, 565-3101.
HORSE STORY: New DVD
Whether you are a horse fanatic, history buff, or just enjoy
good cinematography, you won’t want to miss Tapadero. The recently-released
DVD documentary will be previewed tonight at a cowboy gathering at Ritchie’s
Barn in Visalia (see Kaweah Kalendar listing, page 12).
The feature-length filmmakers, Susan Jensen (director) and
Paul Jensen (producer), self-described “horse people,” chose
the title Tapadero, inspired by the long-leather stirrup covers by the
same name that hung from the famous Visalia saddle. Terry Ommen, a retired
policeman whose second career is that of Visalia’s historian, helped
furnish some background for the story of the saddle and that of the local
vaqueros who used it.
The Visalia saddle traces its origin to 1869, when it was
made and used by the vaqueros and cowboys who worked the cattle ranches
of the San Joaquin Valley. The film probes the Spanish roots of this fascinating
cowboy way that remains alive and well on California cattle ranches today.
To tell the epic story of the vaquero, the filmmakers traveled
to Sonora, Mexico, and followed the Anza Trail — from Culican to
Tubac, Ariz., and all the way to Monterrey, where the first mission in
Alta California was established in 1770.
The first vaqueros who came to California were Spanish and
in the company of the Franciscans who founded the missions.
The vaqueros, and the breed of horses that they developed
for the hostile Southwest environs — the Spanish Barb — were
indispensable to the mission system because it was cattle that were the
sole source of income in the province for many years. The mission padres
taught the indigenous people to ride, and the Californio vaquero was born.
In California’s mild climate and geographic isolation,
the early vaqueros “took as long as it took” to train their
horses, slow and painstakingly, according to Jerry Jensen, the film’s
narrator. Their early horse training methods were passed on by oral tradition
and produced some of the finest horses and horsemen in the world.
weather in California was conducive to more days on horseback than anywhere
else,” Jensen said.
When the Anglos arrived in greater numbers after 1850, they
crossbred their thoroughbreds with the Spanish horses. By the 1940s, their
descendant stock — the quarter horse — was made a standard
That breed was smaller and more maneuverable than many other
of the world’s great stallions and has been bred for comfortable
travel over long distances. The quarter horse remains the horse of choice
for most cowboys on working ranches today.
But western horse training is still evolving. Today, if you
ask a Californio who influenced his or her horse methods, two names are
always mentioned — brothers Bill Dorrance and Tom Dorrance. At the
essence of their renowned method was one simple premise: “Look at
the world through the horse’s eyes.”
The result is a horse that’s a willing partner, not
a beast of burden. Although these profound brothers are gone, Tapadero
visits the Dorrance Ranch, high atop Toro Mountain overlooking the Carmel
Here, Bill’s son, Steve Dorrance, and his wife, Leslie,
reminisce about these two patriarchs of Western horsemanship.
Tapadero also portrays modern-day cowboys, buckaroos,
and Californios, all of whom share in the epic legacy of the vaquero.
For more information or to purchase a DVD, contact Susan
Jensen, filmmaker (805-695-0164), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or log
onto: www.tapadero.com for a list
of locations that have the documentary in stock.
Fingerprints: Discovering the real you
By Kay Packard
Have you ever looked at the tiny ridges on the inner surface
of your fingertips or thumbs (a.k.a. your fingerprints)? Take a look.
Then look at someone else’s around you. Notice how some ridges are
very deep, some shallow, some almost too faint to see with the naked eye.
A magnifying glass is useful for observing the details of
these ridges on the fingertips. Investigators and forensic experts rely
on fingerprinting for positive identification because it is the only unchangeable
and infallible means to identify an individual.
The friction ridges found on the fingers can also be seen
on the palms and soles of the feet. The biological function of the ridges
is to help us grasp and hold onto things.
We can compare the lines on corduroy cloth to the friction
ridges of the fingerprint. However, unlike the corduroy, the ridges vary
in length, width, depth, and direction.
The patterns are formed during prenatal life and fully formed
in the womb between the fourth and seventh month. Fingerprints remain
unchanged in their assigned detail during the lifetime of the individual.
Oodles of research over the past 100 years — including
computers, most recently — solidify evidence that the fingerprint
patterns are unique to the owner of the hands. Professor Andre Moenssens,
author of Fingerprint Techniques, wrote “Studies done by many examiners
have shown that the fingerprints of identical twins are different, as
are the prints of triplets, quadruplets, and quintuplets.”
Now, consider that these fingerprints can be decoded to reveal
a message about the unique you. Similar to how the doctor looks at your
tongue to give clues about your health, an experienced hand analyst can
read the fingerprints on your fingers to define your life purpose and
As a hand reader, I look at each fingertip, record the number
and type of print patterns, consider the appropriate learned algorithm,
and then describe the information to the owner of the prints. Imagine
the magnificence of knowing your life purpose. It’s your reason
Understanding life lessons gives us a road map of curves,
bumps, and dips in the road so that we can handle them with ease.
To experience a professional hand reading or return for a
follow-up session, contact me at 561-4490. I will also be reading hands
at the Whitewater Gallery on Saturday, Dec. 9. Hope to see you there.
For more information, go to my website: www.handfactor.com.
WHS athlete shatters
Alley Reeves, a junior at Woodlake High School and second-year
varsity basketball player, shot her way to several records last week at
the 16th annual Visalia Invitational Basketball Tournament.
The tournament hosted 16 teams with play beginning Wednesday,
Nov. 29, and concluding Saturday, Dec. 2.
didn’t expect much going into the tournament other than the experience,”
said Kent Owen, WHS girl’s basketball assistant coach. “Woodlake
and Corcoran were the only Division 4 schools entered; the rest were Division
1 through 3 schools.”
Woodlake lost to Sunnyside of Fresno in the first game Wednesday
and won the next two games. The team played in the Consolation Championship
game Saturday afternoon.
with only seven players due to prior commitments, took on Golden West
of Visalia and lost by eight points in the final game,” said Kent.
Alley was selected for the All-Tournament Team, set two all-time
tournament records, and tied a third all-time tournament record.
Most Free Throws Made in One Game—
Alley tied the record — 15 — which had been in place since
1996, when it was set by Allison Peterson, also a WHS player.
Most Free Throws Made in Tournament—
The previous record was 32. Alley left that one in the dust after making
41 free throws during the tournament.
Highest Percentage of Free Throws Made in Tournament—
Alley set a new record in this category as well with 80 percent of her
free throws hitting right on the mark.