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In the News - Friday, December 14, 2012



Shopping local is easy, diverse

By Holly Gallo

  Communities are increasingly finding that saving a few bucks often comes at a very high price. Consider these statistics: FOR EVERY $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 stays in the local economy compared to less than half if spent at a national chain. LOCALLY OWNED businesses contribute more to local charities and fundraisers than do their national counterparts. LOCAL MERCHANTS spend a much larger portion of total revenue on local labor to run the enterprise and sell the merchandise. LOCAL MERCHANTS provide strong support to local artists and authors, creating further local economic impact. IF EACH household simply redirected just $100 of planned holiday spending from chain stores to locally owned merchants, the local economic impact would be substantial.

   Here is a small sampling of gift ideas available right here in Three Rivers:
   THREE RIVERS DRUG offers more than just the cures for your seasonal ailments, and its wide array of trinkets and collectibles presents a great opportunity for holiday shopping. There are gifts for all ages and sentiments, from stuffed animals to antique coins, board games to intricate cedar wood gift boxes. Their most popular gift this season has been their Three Rivers sweatshirts, which now come in new styles. Stop by between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and meet the employees who loyally pledge that Three Rivers Drug is the best place in town to buy gifts for the holidays.
   VILLAGE ANTIQUES offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. From stocking stuffers to family treasures, the shop’s wide variety of classic jewelry, historic artwork, antique furniture, and rare collectibles are unique gifts for anyone on your list, whether they be seasoned antique hunters or otherwise. In addition to showcasing new items every week, Village Antiques is offering a 20 percent discount on most items in the store for the holiday season. Store hours are noon to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
   Kevin and Melissa Sayler of SAYLER SADDLERY have been surprised to find that most of their success comes from the everyday, utilitarian needs of local residents, but their leatherworks shop also offers great shopping opportunities for special handmade gifts this holiday season. Although the Saddlery focuses on professional leather repair and special orders, their passion for quality and longevity applies to creative enterprise as well. Kevin, who has been doing leather work since childhood, suggests their cowboy boot wine bags or matchless leather belts as the best gifts in the shop, which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   Even though it’s Christmas every day at REIMER’S CANDIES AND GIFTS, employee Shelbi Wagner said, “There’s something for everyone here, no matter what you celebrate.” Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. “every delicious day,” the most obvious gift choice when shopping at Reimer’s is their homemade chocolate and candies. Turtles and cherry cordials tend to be the big hits around the holidays, and English toffee is the preferred gift for the more “masculine” tastes on your shopping list. Though sweets are the specialty, Reimer’s also boasts a wide collection of non-edible holiday classics. Their delicately crafted nutcrackers, nativity figures, and ornaments fly off the shelves during the holidays, and this year they will debut a collection of Byer’s Choice Carolers. The festive cheer is contagious at Reimer’s, and Shelbi promises that “you’ll be delighted when you come here.”
   BARBY’S ANTIQUES AND MORE may have a modest exterior, but walking through the front door will reveal a cove of unique treasures. Used books and children’s toys run the perimeter, along with their assortment of turquoise, coins, arrowheads and Indian jewelry. The latter is a singular favorite of Barby’s patrons, as are the whimsical carved “wooden mushroom” faces by Tip Richardson of Tulare. You’ll never know what you can find at Barby’s, including what kinds of deals since patrons have the opportunity to bargain the prices of some items. Barby’s is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (closed on Sunday).
   SIERRA SURPLUS AND SURVIVAL is home to some unique and clever stocking stuffers. Glow sticks, hand warmers, emergency candles, pepper spray, and hand-crank flashlights amass among the displays, and these are among the top sellers. While their zombie targets are a celebrated craze, the adventuresome (or accident prone) loved ones on your shopping list may enjoy the emergency trauma and surgical kits, which are the most popular items in the store. Children’s items are also available, from dolls to walkie-talkies and boomerangs. Sierra Surplus is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on Sunday and Tuesday).
   If looking to finish holiday shopping and also support local artists, COLORS is a perfect stop. The walls are awash in paintings, both large and small, and the shelves are stocked with handmade crafts decorative and utilitarian alike. The bestselling gift this season is the apple baker, an instant dessert maker that has buyers constantly discovering new ways to use it everyday. Also popular are the locally made themed candles, which currently mimic favorite winter drinks (and are almost indistinguishable from the real thing). Mixing and matching the works of art are another great way to create a unique gift, such as pairing the delicately crafted leaf soap dishes with homemade goat’s milk soaps or selecting a few small, original still lifes to make your own unique arrangement. Colors is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day until Christmas.
   THREE RIVERS MERCANTILE is good for more than just everyday home improvement and repair needs. A fun find this season is their White Mountain ice cream maker, which will allow its user to make enough homemade ice cream to feed their entire family this holiday and throughout the year. The more popular gifts this winter are beautiful wind chimes ranging from the petite and delicate to the robust and resounding. Shoppers will also find great stocking-stuffer ideas in their dollar bin, as well as walking sticks, art supplies, toys for children, power tools for craftswomen and men, fishing supplies, and fire pits. Make a point to explore their variety any time from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
   MY SISTER’S CLOSET is a great stop for those willing to explore different gift ideas. As new items are always coming in, the unpredictable diversity promises a new bounty of art, trinkets, jewelry, and clothing each day. The shop’s main features are used books and movies, as well as rare treasures, in addition to the wide assortment of clean, ready-to-wear clothing for men, women, and children. This season, the thrifty new and gently used clothing shop’s bestselling gifts are from their vintage jewelry collection. They are also having a five-for-$20 sale on DVDs. My Sister’s Closet is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday.
   Knitting and crocheting enthusiasts will find like minds and unique finds at CREEKSIDE YARNS. Their towering selection of yarns includes basic cotton and synthetic fibers, but they also have more special threads of yak, camel, sugarcane, fine wool, linen, silk, cashmere, hemp, and recycled blends. They have a lending library for patterns and scrap yarn for practicing, or pattern kits, needles, knitted scarves, shawls, hats, socks, and baby clothes for sale. There’s also an entire room dedicated to items being sold at 50 percent off. If new to the fabric arts, or unfamiliar with a pattern, they offer free lessons to help finish a project or even learn the basics. Whether you have a knitting fanatic on your list or someone looking for a new hobby, Creekside Yarns can help 11 a.m. through 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and Monday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
   The THREE RIVERS HISTORICAL MUSEUM provides two means of relief for your holiday season. In regard to gift giving, the Museum’s gift shop is modest in space but bursting with intrigue. They have a selection of used books available for a small donation, but the gift shop’s best gift is from their collection of books written by authors from Kaweah Country, books about Kaweah Country, or both. Currently on display, among others, are books written by the authors recently celebrated at the Historical Society’s author reception, such as Magnus Flyte (aka Meg Howry and Christina Lynch), Betty A. Luceigh, and Mark Tilchen. The Museum offers another service in that when holiday gifts have been exchanged and visiting families are in need of an outing, the Museum captivates the young and inspires the curious. Open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, it can be the perfect quiet family excursion after the busy holidays.

General Grant Tree: Nation’s Christmas Tree

and only living National Shrine

  As part of the 87th annual Nation’s Christmas Tree Ceremony, held this year on Sunday, Dec. 9, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks rangers placed a wreath at the base of the General Grant Tree in honor of those who have died in this nation’s wars. Honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice during this solemn tribute at the only living National Shrine were Jeremy Martin, Colleen Bathe (chief of interpretation), and Pete Sawtell.
   Sponsored each year by the Sanger Chamber of Commerce, the gathering included Christmas carols, a Christmas message, and the reading of a proclamation from President Barack Obama. The General Grant Tree was designated as the Nation’s Christmas Tree in 1926 by President Calvin Coolidge. In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower named it a National Shrine.

Historical Society acquires Bequette house

  The board of directors of the Three Rivers Historical Society has completed the purchase of the Bequette house and the adjacent 2.5 acres of land. The historic property is listed on the California Inventory of Historic Resources and is located immediately west and adjacent to the group’s museum headquarters.
   The vernacular-style house was built in the late 1920s and has historical associations with the original Mineral King Road and the pioneering Bahwell family who operated a store and saloon on the property in the 1870s. The home was built by Bruce and Jessie Bequette;   Jessie’s family (MacKinnon) owned the property previously and lived in another home on the site that was destroyed by a fire in 1914.
   Jessie Bequette, who died in 2010 at the age of 103, was the granddaughter of Walter Fry, the first civilian superintendent of Sequoia National Park. She was also member of Woodlake High’s storied Class of 1924.
   The purchase price of the property was $72,000. The historical society is currently seeking funds to defray its capital indebtedness.

WHS alum is Woodlake’s new police chief

  After conducting a national search that took several weeks to interview all the candidates, City of Woodlake officials have their man — and they ended up finding their new chief of police in nearby Farmersville.
   Lt. Mike Marquez, 35, was officially sworn in as Woodlake’s new police chief at the Monday, Dec. 10, city council meeting. The former Farmersville Police Department lieutenant replaces John Zapalac, who suddenly retired in August 2012 after becoming embroiled in controversy with city council members over department policy.
   When Ramon Lara, a 2000 WHS alum, was appointed as Woodlake’s city manager earlier this year he said that he was glad to work where the local community is like extended family.   Now Marquez, a 1995 Woodlake High School grad, also returns home to his family as the new police chief after working in Farmersville since he was hired by that department in 1997.
   Marquez told the city council that being a career cop was all he ever wanted to be. At age 13, he joined the Tulare County Explorers.
   After graduating from high school, he immediately entered the police academy. Right out of the academy, he was hired by Farmersville PD.
   In 2003, he was promoted to sergeant; seven years later he made the rank of lieutenant.  Since his official pinning last Monday night, local Woodlake guy Lt. Marquez is now Mike Marquez, Chief of Police.

Off road
(Photo caption) A Jeep Cherokee with Arizona plates ran off the road in the predawn hours of Sunday, Dec. 9. According to the CHP, the vehicle was tagged for removal, but the motorist returned in the meantime and retrieved the vehicle, so the mandated tow was not necessary. Since there were no injuries reported or property damage, the registered owner was not cited.


Annual concert celebrates the holiday season

By Bill Haxton

COS CHAMBER SINGERS: Saturday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m.
Community Presbyterian Church, Three Rivers
Admission: $12 Children and students free; adults accompanying children also free.

  For the third year running, Three Rivers is fortunate to host the powerful, accomplished voices of Jeff Seaward’s award -winning College of the Sequoias Chamber Singers. The program is new every year, drawing gorgeous polyphonic chorales from the Renaissance, balancing these with nostalgic contemporary carols, and always including a surprise selection or two from ethnic and cultural sources that are new to most of us.
   A master of presentation, Jeff Seaward knows how to please an audience. Every part of the program is different. His staging is wonderfully creative. His sense of drama is eye-opening. His humor is catching. And all of this he weaves into a bright and joyous tapestry of singing, good cheer, and well-being.
   The program opens with the soaring, ethereal harmonies of 16th century Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria’s O Magnum Mysterium. One of the most famous motets of the entire century, it begins with two upper voices in a reverential duet, then expands into a full atmosphere of unbounded awe.
   Also on the program is romantic composer Johannes Brahms’ comical Neckereien.  Neckereien roughly translates as “teasing” and comes from a traditional folk poem in which a man (optimistically) informs a woman that she will be his. The woman (less optimistic) replies that she will not be his and describes the wildlife incarnations she will adopt to avoid him.    Undaunted, the man waxes poetic explaining how he will catch her, even if she were to become a dove, a rabbit or a fish.
   The first half closes with three stirring selections from Handel’s immortal Messiah.
    Who knows what the second half will bring. In the past, Jeff Seaward has always produced a surprise, sometimes marching his singing choir up the middle aisle, sometimes surrounding the audience with call-and-response singing that actually creates a three-dimensional experience of song.
   This month’s concert is generously sponsored by Reimer’s Candies and Gifts and by an anonymous donor.
   Tickets are available at Chump’s DVDs and at the door.


Nancy Jonnum
1940 ~ 2012

   Nancy Elizabeth Jonnum died Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. She was 72.
   Nancy was born to Donald and Lois (Sheridan) Dotson in Long Beach and was raised and educated in Whittier. The middle sister to Judy and Kathy, she was at once delicate and strong, her quiet determination and instinct for good decision-making setting her on a trajectory toward a fulfilling, fruitful life.
   In 1962, Nancy graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a B.A. in Education. In 1967, she married Jerome Randall Jonnum. The couple gave birth to son Christopher and daughter Molly in 1968 and 1970, respectively, after which the family moved to Antelope Valley.
   Although Nancy’s main profession was elementary school teaching, which she practiced fairly regularly from 1962 to 1996, she also worked as an airline flight attendant, a park director, and owner of Big Rock Pottery, a ceramics business in which she sold her own creations, through her own shop in Palmdale, other area shops, and art shows. She occasionally traveled to Latin America to study ceramics and Spanish.
   Thanks in large part to Nancy’s graciousness and hospitality, her rural Llano home became a sort of desert oasis for get-togethers with extended family and loved ones, who could often be found playing badminton on the large front lawn, being pulled behind the tractor on hay rides, embarking on long-distance motorcycle excursions, or simply enjoying one another’s company. The house was also a more private nest for her immediate family, who would read together by the wood stove on winter evenings or hike down to the Big Rock Wash for springtime wiener roasts.
   On holiday weekends and family vacations, Nancy’s family went car camping around the southwestern United States, made backpacking excursions in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and enjoyed annual ski trips to Yosemite National Park. In her many quiet moments, she derived pleasure from reading, gardening, and exploring her faith.
   After her children moved out, Nancy retired in 1996. In 2000, she and Jerry moved to Three Rivers, where her artistic side flourished.
   Nancy’s pottery and sculptures were sold at local shops and events, she and Jerry created mosaics that can be found at Three Rivers School and around the community, and she became active in the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers, whose scholarship fund was particularly important to her.
   She also enjoyed domestic and international travel, camping, and attending folk music festivals, while she continued to host friends and family at her home on Cherokee Oaks Drive and develop her faith at St. Clair’s Catholic Church.
She will be missed for her steady kindness, her subtle generosity, her understated optimism, and her playful whimsy.
   Nancy is survived by her husband of 45 years, Jerry, of Three Rivers; her son, Chris, his wife, Viviana, and daughter Tika of Long Beach; her daughter, Molly, her husband, Matthew, and children Liam and Fiona of Twain Harte; and her sisters, Judy of Three Rivers and Kathy of Oakhurst.
   A memorial service was held Tuesday, Dec. 11, at St. Anthony Retreat in Three Rivers.
   Donations may be made in Nancy’s honor to the Lorraine Young Scholarship Fund (to be renamed the Jonnum-Young Memorial Scholarship), P.O. Box 981, Three Rivers, CA 93271.

Mary Anne Savage
1936 ~ 2012

   Mary Anne Savage, formerly of Three Rivers, died Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, at 2:35 a.m., with her son and daughter at her side. She was 76.
   Mary Anne was born June 21, 1936, the third child of Kathleen and Alan Savage Sr., joining older siblings Alan “Boots” Jr. and Janice at their home in Three Rivers on the Savage Apple Ranch located along the North Fork of the Kaweah River.
   The Savage Apple Ranch was established by Mary Anne’s grandfather, Fred Savage, who as a young man sailed from Liverpool, England, around Cape Horn to San Diego, then walked from there to Three Rivers to join the Kaweah Colony, a utopian cooperative community.
   Mary Anne, or Pip, as she was often called, attended Three Rivers Union School while Mary McDowall was principal, and she developed a close friendship with Mrs. McDowall’s daughter, Bobbie (Harris).
   During her youth, Mary Anne worked on the apple ranch with her uncle Ken Savage and cousin Stoney Savage. She was baptized at Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers and attended Woodlake Union High School, graduating in 1954. Mary Anne attended College of the Sequoias, sang in the college choir, and performed in several musicals.
   In 1956, she met her husband-to-be Jim Lang while working at his parents’ restaurant, Lang’s Motel and Coffee Shop (now Sierra Lodge). They had two children, Jan and Bill.
   Mary Anne continued working in the restaurant business at several well-known Three Rivers establishments: Sequoia Drive In (later Corky’s), Noisy Water Cafe, The Acorn (now We Three Bakery), and White Horse Inn.
   She also worked as the camp chef in Silver City when White Horse Inn catered for the Far West Ski Association and the U.S. Olympic Ski Team during the first attempt of the Walt Disney Company to develop Mineral King as a destination ski resort. Her diary entrees from this experience were published in the Far West Ski Association News.
   In 1972, she moved with her family to Prospect, Ore., where she kept a large garden, raised chickens and turkeys, and worked at the Prospect Cafe and Lounge, Cascade Gorge Cafe, and for the U.S. Forest Service. In her spare time, she served as a board member for the Prospect School District, sang in the community choir, and was a member of the Cascade Gorge Christian Church.
   In 1979, she moved to Southern California and embarked on a Christian mission to Australia with the Agape Fellowship. When she returned to the U.S., she worked at a gift shop on the Balboa Pier before finally returning home to Three Rivers in 1986.
   Back in Three Rivers, she worked as a cook at Corky’s Restaurant and later for her sister-in-law at Anne Lang’s Emporium. During this time, she wrote columns for the local newspaper documenting her memories of growing up in Three Rivers. “Tips By Pip” and “I   Remember When” appeared in the Sequoia Sentinel and, later, The Kaweah Commonwealth.
   In 1997, she relocated to Woodlake, where she met her second husband, Arvie Chadwick. She lived there until 2006, when health problems prompted her to move to Redwood Springs Healthcare Center in Visalia.
   She is preceded in death by her father, Alan Savage Sr.; her mother, Kathleen Savage; her brother, Alan Savage, Jr; her former husband Jim Lang; her brother-in-law, Dick Lang; her niece, Carol Lang, and “adopted family” and dear friends Kevin Darsey and Bob Johnson.
Mary Anne is survived by her sister, Janice Ketchum and husband Jesse of Las Vegas, Nev.; her daughter, Jan Lang, and husband Gary Halsted of Seattle, Wash.; son Bill Lang and wife Melody of Portland, Ore.; her grandchildren, Colby Lang and Emily Lang; her sister-in-law, Anne Lang of Three Rivers; her cousin, Stoney Savage of Visalia; her nephew, Alan “Gus” Savage III of Fairfield; her nieces, Beth Hart of Exeter, Katie Ketchum of Sebastopol, Hazel Ketchum of Charleston, S.C., Mary Chagnon of Morgan Hill, and Pam Savage; several grand-nieces and grand-nephews; and her “adopted family” and dear friends Susan Darsey of Three Rivers and Kathleen Johnson of Twentynine Palms.
   A memorial service was held Sunday, Dec. 2, at Three Rivers Arts Center when Mary Anne’s children were in town.
   Remembrances in Mary Anne’s name may be made to: Kaweah Postal Foundation, P.O. Box 14, Kaweah, CA 93237; and Three Rivers School Foundation, P.O. Box 99, Three Rivers, CA 93271.
   Editor’s note: In March 2013, The Kaweah Commonwealth will be publishing a special anniversary issue that will feature excerpts of Mary Anne’s columns.


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