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In the News - Friday, December 9, 2011



Burglary thwarted at Three Rivers Market

  It used to be said that if it isn’t nailed down sooner or later someone would steal it. Now it can be attached securely to a building and for some desperate thief or thieves, it’s fair game anyway.
   That is, until the property owner intercedes, not to mention an alarm that was triggered. This is the scenario that took place Wednesday night, Nov. 30.
   Apparently, someone backed up a four-wheel-drive truck to the front entrance of Three Rivers Market and attached a chain or a cable to the metal door handles. The driver then stepped on the gas and tore the heavy duty door handles clean off the glass, metal-reinforced double doors.
   Immediately, owner Sam Yim, who lives on the premises, was up front to greet the would-be intruders. At a recent town meeting, Sheriff Bill Wittman described what might happen to an unsuspecting bad guy if he tried to break into an occupied dwelling or business.
  “One thing most folks know in Three Rivers is if someone is crazy enough to break into the wrong place at the right time he might find himself staring down the business end of a shotgun or pistol.”
   It wasn’t necessary for Sam to recount every detail in this latest confrontation. Suffice it to say that the burglar fled the scene immediately and the loss to the property owner was zero except for some damage to the front doors.
   The case is currently being investigated by detectives of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. Anyone with information in this or any crime should call the Sheriff’s Department dispatcher, 733-6221.

Town meeting provides local, county updates

  Last Monday’s Town Hall meeting (December 5) featured final updates for 2011 on several hot-button topics. There were updates on everything from new Internet to county services including fire, roads, general plan, and water as it relates to the local Community Services District. There was also a presentation on community emergency response.
   Tom Sparks opened the meeting on behalf of the committee that is pursuing an upgrade in high-speed Internet for Three Rivers. He reported that there are at least three entities interested in providing new service and something positive is expected to be announced soon.
   Supervisor Ishida introduced two new staff persons – Helen Herrera and Allison Pierce, who have been assigned to assist the Board of Supervisors. Both outlined their new roles and stated that they will address constituent issues and coordinate extracurricular activities like gang awareness and Friday Night Live.
   Supervisor Ishida also explained that the next round of public hearings on the General Plan Update will shift to the Board of Supervisors in 2012. The Planning Commission, he said, is currently reviewing recent comments and is expected to pass the documents onto the BOS soon.
   Tulare County Fire Chief Joe Garcia was also on hand to furnish an update. He said the types of calls change this time of year from grass fires to structure fires.
  “There were 190 calls countywide in November,” Chief Garcia said. “The last structure fire in this area was a call from Silver City on October 26 when a cabin burned down.”
   Tony Boland, transportation services coordinator, said several local road repair jobs were completed 2011, including a segment of Sunset Drive. He said he’s looking for more funding and ideas of other areas that are in need of attention.
   Cindy Howell, Community Services District (CSD) general manager, presented an overview of current activities of the agency. She encouraged the community to use the CSD office for meetings and also to keep in mind that, as a certified local government, the CSD is a good conduit for local grants.
   Warren Campbell presented a multimedia program on community emergency response. Rev. Campbell said his Church at Kaweah has already staged one state-sanctioned training session and plans to do more.
   The next Town Hall meeting will be Monday, Feb. 7. For more information on the Three Rivers Village Foundation or to place an item on an upcoming agenda, call Lee Goldstein, 561-3204.

Volleyball highlights fall season

at Woodlake High School

Here's the wrap-up on the teams

   When you have more than 100 student athletes involved playing sports on eight teams there is bound to be wins and losses, ups and downs, and memories that will last a lifetime.
   More than anything else, playing sports is about getting to know your teammates. In the words of Tori Johnson, varsity volleyball coach, whose teams have experienced plenty of success recently, it’s about relationships.
  “What I teach the girls is based upon the John Wooden Pyramid of Success where each player strives to reach a new level of achievement on the court and in life,” Tori said. “At Woodlake, we’re not only a varsity team, but a volleyball program and one big extended family.”
   Of course, John Wooden (1910-2010) knew a thing or two about success. His UCLA Bruin basketball teams won 10 national championships. In fact, the Wooden way has influenced every sport at UCLA. Having won more than 100 national championships, that UC campus is the intercollegiate leader by a wide margin in all-time Division I national championships.
   For Woodlake varsity volleyball that approach has translated to four consecutive East Sequoia League championships.
  “What’s unique about this group of seniors is that they’ve never lost a league match in the four years they have been together,” Tori recalled. “It’s a truly remarkable achievement.”
   But Tori says the game her team will remember most this season is a Saturday night benefit game a few weeks ago when the opponent was a team of police and fire personnel. The volleyball community came together to raise money for Catherine Macias.
   Catherine, a Woodlake second-grader, suffers from inoperable brain cancer. The fundraiser was scheduled two nights before the opening round of the CIF playoffs.
   Some coaches would have been tempted to focus on the upcoming playoff games. Coach Johnson brought her girls out for the fundraiser and it was an experience that all in attendance will never forget.
  “We raised over $2,000 to help Catherine that night and to see her at the game facing her struggle to live was truly inspiring to all of us,” Tori said. “It was the highlight of our season.”
   And that highlight in a season of many. Woodlake’s volleyball teams are true champions.  The frosh team won a co-league championship. The JVs were undefeated league champions and a perfect 10-0 as were the varsity Lady Tigers.
  “All the wins were great and we advanced a round farther in the playoffs,” Tori said, “but the priority here is building for the future; building relationships and building character.”

   The 1-9 record does not tell the story of Tiger varsity football this season. According to fourth-year head coach Scott Hernandez, this was a team that on paper should have won more games.
  “We just didn’t get the breaks,” said Scott. “The boys worked their tails off, and in my four seasons here we’ve never before had the total buy-in to what we are trying accomplish as a team.”
   Coach Hernandez said the statistics don’t lie.
  “We averaged 250 yards rushing per game and when you add in some passing yardage that should have translated to some wins,” Scott said. “It seemed like every turnover we had, they turned into points. The critical mistakes killed us.”
   But Coach Hernandez and the Tiger faithful know that is the mark of a young team experiencing growing pains.
  “These kids never quit, they played hard every snap, and we get the majority of these players back next season,” said Coach Hernandez. “They did everything we asked them to do. What more can a coach want or expect?”
   ESL First Team honors and awards: Daniel Keeley, safety and wideout (Three Rivers); Matt Hirni, defensive end (Three Rivers); and Nate Mesa, tight end. Alex Gray (Three Rivers), with 57 tackles, was a Defensive Player of the Year nominee.

   The 6-3-1 overall record and 3-1 in league was good enough for a third consecutive co-league championship under head coach Eddie Dominguez. Among the coach’s outstanding players: Jesse Ordonez, Gage Smith, John Kulick (Three Rivers), Cade Headrick, Foster Hengst, Logan Marlow (Three Rivers), Gunnar Little (Three Rivers), Garrett Gomes (Three Rivers), Agustin Rodriguez, Austin Cushenbery (Three Rivers), and Wes Stevenson.
   Game highlight: Come-from- behind win to beat archrival Lindsay.

   As a team, the varsity girls finished in third place in the East Sequoia League behind co-champs Strathmore and Corcoran. The varsity girls lost to Taft, the No. 2 seed in the first round of the Division 4 playoffs. Their over record was 9-9; the team’s league record was 8-4.
   According to long-time coach Mike Judson, the top player was Selena Harrison from Three Rivers. She played No. 1 singles and teamed up at No. 1 doubles with Dalila Vasquez. Together they placed second in the league tournament advancing to the Valley tournament.
Team awards— Captain: Selena Harrison. MVP: Selena Harrison. Coach’s Award: Selina Ramirez. Most Improved-Varsity: Jessica Magana. Most Improved JV: Brianna Romero.

   Six girls and six boys competed on Woodlake’s cross country team, coached by Tony Ramirez. Each race, depending on course, was either 3.0 or 3.1 miles.
   This season’s overall top performer was Leticia Garcia, a junior runner who qualified for the CIF State Championship Meet, which is held each year on the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend at Woodward Park in Fresno.
   At this statewide meet that includes more than 1,000 high school runners, Leticia, representing the Central Section, ran a 6:36/mile pace during the 5K race to place 92nd out of the 194 runners in the girls’ Division 4. Watch for her as a senior.


WHS named to College Board 'Honor Roll' 

  In the past, an academic deficiency of Woodlake High School has been the inability of its AP (advanced placement) classes to adequately prepare students to pass the required AP exams. Students who wanted to opt out of having to take all the college-frosh level required courses needed a score of at least three or higher out of five to be considered for college credit.
   Tim Hire, superintendent of Woodlake Schools, announced this week that Woodlake was one of 367 districts nationwide that were named to the College Board’s second annual Honor Roll. To qualify, the district had to demonstrate improved AP performance but also that it was expanding opportunity for more students to be able to take AP courses.
  “I am pleased at the progress our students are making on the AP exams,” Tim Hire said. “We have bright, hardworking students that are dedicated to higher education, and these exams play a big role in our students having success in college.”
   The list of AP Honor Roll districts includes schools from 43 states and Canada. Pennsylvania led all states with 34 districts, followed by Massachusetts and New York with 30.
   To make the Honor Roll AP, data were examined from three years 2009-2011; there had to be a certain percentage of increase in participation; more participation by minority students; and performance levels had to be higher in 2011 than they were in 2009.
   The complete Honor Roll and more information may be found at: www.collegeboard.org.


Our bodies: A gift to ourselves this holiday season

by Charlene Vartanian

  Everyone has a body. It is through our body that we each have a direct experience of life. The more in tune we are with our physical body, the more connected we are with life.
   Our bodies communicate with us. They tell us when we are hungry, cold, angry, sad, or happy. They tell us when we are in pain, injured, ill, or feeling free, energized and active.
   Learning to decipher the messages of our body helps maintain our health, direct our happiness, and contributes to our sense of wholeness.
   Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions also affect our health and wellbeing. We have all experienced, at one time or another, the overwhelm of life.
   We overreact or perhaps shut down. Bodies do that.
   Both responses affect our being — all of our being — our mind, body, and our spirit.
   As we tend and nurture ourselves, the body’s nervous system automatically calms and stabilizes. Our breath deepens and our thoughts slow down.
   We think and act more clearly. Whether we have overreacted or shut down, the relaxation process corrects both.
   Our body collects itself, gathers its overwhelm, and releases its stored tension. We relax. We open. We feel whole.
   Having a body opens us to the cycle and flow of life, our joys and sorrows. Learning the nuances of our body, the habits of our thoughts, and the joys of our spirit go hand-in-hand this time of the year.
   Acknowledging and engaging that process benefits the body and enhances our direct experience of life. The gratitude that flows naturally, as a result, is the root of our shared humanity — the joy of our collective spirit.
   May we all experience joy in body and spirit this season.
   Charlene Vartanian, R.N., has offered CranioSacral Therapy massage and bodywork in Three Rivers for 10 years. Visit www.charlenevartanian.com or call 559-561-4215.

Food drives prevalent this time of year

  You better be driving around with a surplus of food in your car because you don’t want to be caught empty-handed at a business, an event, or a holiday party without something to give to the Three Rivers Bread Basket.
   Currently, food drives are ongoing into next week at the Bank of the Sierra and Three Rivers School. Attend the Chamber of Commerce’s mixer and you’ll want to donate there too.
   As the general population becomes more aware of eating healthy, it’s important to ensure that those depending on donations eat good food too, so concentrate on providing quality items.
   And don’t forget the local food pantry throughout the year, as the need is ongoing.

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
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