In the News - Friday, December
stories written by John or
Elliott unless otherwise noted
view of Alta Peak from Three Rivers
the snowfall of Monday, Dec. 7.
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
IN THE DECEMBER 11
Tigers: Fall Sports 2009
photos and rosters
public safety and fire and police protection, there
is no more important issue that affects the entire
community than public health. At the cornerstone of
public health is a good hospital.
At last Monday’s Three Rivers Village
Foundation town meeting, topping the agenda was a
program on local health care. So how does the Kaweah
Delta Health Care District, which serves Visalia,
Three Rivers, and the Highway 198 corridor region
of Tulare County measure up?
In a word, “excellent,” according
to Lindsay Mann, CEO of the district. A career administrator,
Mann said Kaweah Delta Hospital, once its new trauma
center is fully operating, will house every medical
specialty outside of transplants.
Kaweah Delta, Mann said, throughout its
history and since the current hospital building adjacent
to Highway 198 opened in 1961, has always planned
for the future. The original 230-bed facility was
actually “over-built” for its time.
The downtown campus expanded during the
1960s and later the west campus area was developed
that today houses the Cypress Rehabilitation Center
and the Lifestyle Center.
medically based, full-service fitness center, the
Lifestyle Center is an example of how we are changing
the paradigm of health care,” Mann said. “By
taking some responsibility for your own health, you
can do far more than what a doctor can do.”
In the past, the mind-set of most patients
was to simply wait for something to break down and
then seek treatment. The spiraling upward cost of
that treatment has caused even more people to wait
even longer until their illness becomes an emergency.
That’s why, Mann explained, there
is such a crisis at so many emergency rooms.
first thing we do when a patient comes into to Kaweah
Delta is ask if they have a primary-care physician,”
Mann said. “The cost of that patient’s
care could be reduced as much as one-quarter to one-third
if they already have primary care.”
Once in the system, the service and the
patient’s health invariably show improvement.
To help more patients develop that primary-care relationship,
Kaweah Delta operates several clinics like San Juan
in Exeter to treat patients who, in the past, often
checked into the emergency room at Kaweah Delta Hospital.
Patients without medical insurance or
who are unable to pay are never turned away, Mann
care to those who cannot afford to pay costs the district
$13 million annually,” Mann said.
Unfortunately, much of that cost is passed
along to those who pay for health insurance in the
form of higher premiums, Mann said.
But the good news is that Kaweah Delta
is on the cutting edge for cardiac and cancer care
and treatment, Mann said. The district is making a
substantial investment in all the latest technology
and recently completed a $30 million north wing.
Even though the district is non-profit,
its margin of profitability has been reinvested in
upgrading the hospital and its health-care services.
The end result is the ability to attract skilled physicians,
develop a graduate medical residency program, and
provide an impressive level of care, Mann concluded.
Supervisor Allen Ishida also spoke and
asked the community to support the county’s
efforts to purchase a new fire engine for Three Rivers.
He also said there is still plenty of uncertainty
about the county’s budget for 2010.
To date, Ishida said, of the county’s
4,000 employees, Tulare County has had to lay off
five percent of its workforce. Other counties, he
said, are cutting 10 percent across the board.
The next town meeting is scheduled for
Monday, Jan. 11.
Wet weather in the weekend
The fast-moving storm that passed through
the region on Monday dumped .75 inches of rainfall
in Three Rivers at the 1,000-foot elevation. Nearby
peaks above 2,000 feet received a dusting of snow,
and it was bone-chilling cold all week with temperatures
dipping into the upper 20s just before daybreak.
That precipitation brought the season’s
total to 3.46 inches or just slightly ahead of 2008,
which had 3.20 inches of rainfall as of December 13.
On Thursday, Dec. 10, Ash Mountain in
nearby Sequoia National Park reported a total of 5.30
inches of rainfall for the current season. Lodgepole
rangers reported a total of 16 inches of snow on the
ground at 6,800 feet.
But all those numbers should be moot
by the time a series of new storms moves into the
region by today (Friday, Dec. 11). Snow levels are
expected to hover around 5,000 feet with a couple
feet or more of the white stuff in higher elevations.
It’s beginning to look a lot like
a white Christmas, especially the farther up in the
mountains one may travel.
There is also an updated forecast for
El Nino watchers. The mass of warm water in the equatorial
Pacific actually extends much deeper than was first
What that means is a strengthening little
waif of a weather pattern that should bring above
average December and January precipitation to California
and the Southwest. Batten down the hatches.
No holiday program at TRUS
The annual holiday program at Three Rivers
School is a community tradition and the kick-off to
the holiday season, at least for families, as it is
held during the last week before the winter break.
But just as the lights go dark on Broadway due to
various circumstances, the lights of the McDowall
Auditorium will be dark next week.
TRUS teachers have made the decision
to forego the holiday program for several reasons.
For instance, nearly half the teachers at the kindergarten-through-eighth-grade
school are teaching combination classes, which means
twice the curriculum. And, remember, standardized
testing is always looming on the horizon.
In addition, just as the “holiday
program” is no longer called a Christmas program
and Christmas vacation is today “winter break,”
there are students in the school who do not celebrate
Christmas. This diversity in the classroom is an education
in itself as is the teaching of respect for all religious
And, finally, while a holiday program
is lighthearted and fun, preparing for it takes time
away from the teaching curriculum.
started talking about alternatives and settled on
a ‘Salute to History’ in February,”
said Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent. “All
classes will focus on some aspect of their history
curriculum through poetry, songs, skits, or other
In addition, the spring “Talent
Show” will return. This will provide the students
with a creative outlet to show what they’ve
got to the Three Rivers community, as well as give
parents the opportunity to see their children on stage.
Sue Sherwood assures that the holiday
program will return.
Woodlake Tigers pounce on opponents
2009 fall sports season
In an era when many school districts
are seriously considering cutting their sports programs
altogether due to lack of funding, sports at Woodlake
High are thriving. Interest in the dozens of programs
is the highest since the early ‘90s; fans and
players came out to support and participate in impressive
numbers throughout the recently completed fall season.
year, the WHS Tigers, coached by Scott Hernandez and
Jeff Beck, et al., went deeper into the CIF Central
Section football playoffs – defeated in the
Division V semifinals at Corcoran on Friday, Dec.
4 – than they have in the past decade.
Jeff Beck of Three Rivers, the Tigers’ offensive
coordinator, credits the turnaround to the commitment
of Scott Hernandez, head coach, to build a winning
kids want to be part of a winner and it shows by the
numbers who once again want to play football at Woodlake,”
Coach Beck admitted it’s not quite
the glory days of the Leo Robinson era yet but the
team is getting better each season. Coach Robinson,
who passed away in 2002, coached at Woodlake for 41
The 2009 Tigers finished 7-5 overall
and 2-2 in East Sequoia League play in a season that
featured impressive wins over the likes of Caruthers
players are learning that it takes a year-round commitment
to build a winner,” Beck said. “That means
hitting the weight room, running, and working out
even when the calendar says it’s not football
A varsity football team’s future
is only as good as its junior varsity, and this year’s
JV Tigers also made impressive strides in becoming
a perennial winner. Coached by Eddie Dominguez, the
JVs finished 6-4 overall; a 3-1 league mark earned
When the Tigers have won in the past,
Three Rivers players have been prominent in the team’s
success. Coach Dominguez cited the outstanding play
of Daniel Keeley, Alex Gray, and Tim Smith among his
up-and-coming Three Rivers Tigers; his local Woodlake
standouts are Miguel Reynoso, Isaac Salcedo, and Jorge
Tori Johnson’s volleyball program also depends
heavily on its Three Rivers connection. Brother coaching
duo Mike and Lawrence Cook of Three Rivers are there
to assist with all three teams and have been instrumental
in the establishment of local club volleyball, a principal
ingredient of any team’s success.
The varsity volleyballers finished 6-2 in league play;
the JVs went undefeated in league play for the second
consecutive season; the frosh were 4-4.
All-League honors went to Kelsey Ruehling,
Rookie of the Year; Vanessa Reynoso and Madison Beck
garnered First Team honors.
tennis, coached by Mike Judson, continued its winning
ways. The squad took East Sequoia League honors once
In the league individual tourney held
at Orosi, Woodlake swept three of the four top singles
places and finished fourth in doubles play. Julia
Lara was the No. 1 singles player and league champion.
The Woodlake girls were defeated by Fowler
5-4 in the semis of the Division IV Central Section
The boys’ cross country team, coached by Tony
Ramirez, finished an impressive second to perennial
state power McFarland at the ESL meet. The team captain
was Phillip Dixon, a senior from Three Rivers. Alex
Law, also of Three Rivers, was the team’s most
Best overall performer was Anthony Martinez
who qualified for the state meet at Woodward Park
on Saturday, Nov. 28. Anthony, a senior, ran a personal
best 17:28 and finished in the middle of the pack:
100th out of 200 runners.
Leticia Garcia, a frosh runner, was the
outstanding girl this season. Garcia also qualified
for the state meet at Woodward Park and finished the
three-mile course in 21.25.
Coach Ramirez said the sky is the limit
for the potential of his frosh star and can’t
wait to see Leticia’s times next season.