In the News -
Friday, DECEMBER 16, 2005
An automated teller machine (ATM) located behind
the Three Rivers branch of the Bank of the Sierra proved a little too
tempting last weekend and was burglarized sometime in the early morning
hours of Sunday, Dec. 9. The heist was reported at 8:30 a.m. that day
after a customer entered the bank’s parking area and noticed the
damaged cash machine.
From evidence gathered at the scene, it appears that at least
one thief had entered the ATM area by cutting through a fence located
along the rear of the property. A cutting torch was used to gain entry
and remove the faceplate of the ATM.
The industrious burglar then removed approximately $17,000
in cash. In a statement released by the bank’s corporate office,
detectives recovered evidence that should assist in the identification
of a suspect.
The case is unusual in that it is the first time that any
robbery or theft has been reported involving a Three Rivers ATM. The expensive
machine was extensively damaged and will be replaced, according to a bank
Anyone who might have noticed any suspicious activity at
the bank or who may have information in the case is being asked to call
Detective Tom Sherrill (740-4354) or Sgt. Kennedy (782-4810) of the Tulare
County Sheriff’s Department.
Mountain lion treed
It wasn’t a coincidence that a female mountain lion
was observed on Wednesday, Dec. 14, in cover along the Middle Fork of
the Kaweah River below the entrance to the Deer Canyon subdivision. Lions
often are found where deer are present.
This lion, weighing approximately 90 pounds, is most likely
the same animal responsible in last week’s attack on a family’s
dog that was tied up at a home across and downriver from the most recent
Just after 11 a.m., a property owner reported seeing the
animal at a construction site where he is building a riverfront home.
Nearby, he said, he had buried the butchered remains of a feral pig that
evidently attracted the lion’s interest.
The man said his golden retriever first alerted him that
something was nearby. When he went over to where the pig was buried, he
noticed digging at the site and that a mountain lion had climbed an adjacent
tree to avoid a confrontation with the dog.
With another man and the dog watching, the owner of the property
decided to observe what he knew was an unusual encounter. He called the
Commonwealth, he said, because he had read the recent story about the
lion in the area and wanted to document this encounter.
After several photos (see this week's print edition) and
about a half hour of observation, the lion was left alone and soon came
down from its perch and retreated to dense cover along the river.
“If there were small children here, I’d be worried
about what the animal might do,” said the property owner. “But
seeing that lion here along the river makes me appreciate living in Three
Rivers all the more.”
According to the California Department of Fish and Game,
lion sightings rarely spell trouble. As in this case, lions are mostly
shy and tend to avoid people.
Encounters between lions and people are infrequent and attacks
extremely rare. One common denominator in the number of sightings is that
they frequently occur in areas where people feed wildlife like deer and
Here’s how to best avoid an encounter:
—Don’t feed wildlife.
—Bring in pet food at night.
—Install motion-detector lighting.
—Deer-proof your landscape.
—Keep pets and livestock secure.
—Never hike or jog alone.
—Always keep small children close at hand.
—When standing or sitting under a tree or rock outcrop, always look
Kaweah Post Office
Due to a change in the contract to operate the historic Kaweah
Post Office on North Fork Drive, on December 3, Saturday mail delivery
was discontinued. Daily operating hours have also been reduced about 25
Window service is now available Monday through Friday, noon
to 3 p.m. Outgoing mail is still picked up weekdays at 2:30 p.m.
Some historians believe the quaint wood-frame structure is
the smallest continuously operated post office in the nation. The building
was first used as a post office in 1890 though its original location was
at Redstone Park, now the Chilcott ranch above Lions Arena. It was relocated
to its present site in 1910.
The property, including the building, is currently owned
by Kathleen McCleary of Three Rivers and is operated by the Postal Service
under a lease agreement.
At their regular board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 13, Tulare
County supervisors voted to increase trash rates for all unincorporated
areas of the county. For Three Rivers and Lemon Cove, the increases, effective
January 1, will average 13 percent.
Several county residents spoke out that if trash rates are
increased then some improvements to service should also be made. Three
Rivers residents did not voice complaints relative to the service provided
by its local hauler – Waste Connections of Kingsburg.
Supervisor Allen Ishida also reported that at his meeting
with the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council
on Thursday, Dec. 8, in Three Rivers, one of the members proposed a four-county
cooperative brochure to help promote tourism in Three Rivers and other
Sierra gateway communities. On Wednesday, Dec. 14, at a meeting with the
Three Rivers/Lemon Cove Business Association, Ishida urged that group
to partner with the Yosemite/Sequoia council.
Ishida was in Davis on Friday, Dec. 9, as a local representative
to hear a Sierra planning task force reveal plans for experimental fire-
suppression techniques that would be more environmentally friendly than
cutting traditional fire lines. The new fire control tactics were outlined,
Ishida said, in a study being conducted by ecologists from University
of California at Davis and UC Berkeley; more information on the proposals
will be made available soon.
Ishida said he is concerned with issues as they relate to
the national forests and parks of Tulare County.
“In the next decade, we’re going to experience an explosion
of population growth in Central Valley,” Ishida said. “These
people are going to want to recreate in the mountains so it is important
that these areas remain accessible.”
George H. Clausen
1959 ~ 2005
George H. Clausen of Woodlake died unexpectedly of a heart
attack on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005. He was 46.
A memorial service was held yesterday (Thursday, Dec. 15)
at the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.
George was born in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 27, 1959. He was
passionate about his son, George Ian; trains; sports; and fine cuisine.
George was the ride manager and train engineer at Rotary
Park Playland in Fresno’s Roeding Park. He volunteered with the
Foodlink program in Lemon Cove.
George also officiated high school basketball and water polo
games in Tulare and Kings counties and coached water polo and swimming.
Before the start of Tuesday’s basketball games at the Woodlake High
School Event Center, a moment of silence was held in George’s honor.
In addition to his son, George, he is survived by his father,
George G. Clausen of Woodlake, and sisters Margaret Head of Bakersfield,
Nancy Gordon of Davis, and Kathy de Contreras of Fresno.
In lieu of flowers, donations in George’s name may
be made to the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church’s Foodlink Program
(P.O. Box 44141, Lemon Cove, CA 93244) or to the Fresno Rotary Park Playland/Storyland
(890 W. Belmont Ave., Fresno, CA 93728).
Online condolences may be sent to: www.smithfamilychapel.com.
WOODLAKE HIGH SCHOOL
Lady Tigers win Strathmore tourney
Last Saturday, fans of the Lady Tigers and their trio of
Three Rivers coaches got a sneak preview of some of the exciting basketball
on tap for this season. That’s because Woodlake’s vastly improved
varsity girls’ basketball team came roaring back from a 14-point
third-quarter deficit to beat Bakersfield Christian, 58-56.
“I’m really proud of you all and especially those girls
who came off the bench after two of the starters got into early foul trouble,”
said Ed Lafferty, head coach. “That win was a total team effort.”
Like most basketball comebacks, the Tigers were fueled by
a pressure defense that forced numerous turnovers and gave the offense
just enough time to play catch-up. The defensive pressure denied Bakersfield’s
two talented long-range shooters in the second half and allowed Woodlake
to run the court and dictate the tempo of the game.
In the first half, Alley Reeves, a sophomore from Three Rivers,
who in the early going has emerged as the team’s leading scorer
and rebounder, was in foul trouble and had to sit on the bench. The team’s
best defender, Kaitlin Beck, a senior from Three Rivers, also committed
some early fouls and joined Reeves on the bench. At halftime, the Tigers
were on the short end of the scoreboard, 36-24.
But unlike teams of the recent past, this squad has more
depth, including six experienced seniors and some tall youth that could
spell big trouble for East Sequoia League opponents like Exeter and Corcoran,
who is currently ranked second in the Valley in Division 4. The steady
play of five of the seniors — Felicia Rojas and Terah Persall of
Woodlake and Kaitlin Beck, Anneka Anderson, and Jennie Elliott of Three
Rivers kept the game from getting out of hand.
Sophomore center Kayla Brown, also from Three Rivers, came
off the bench and played her best minutes of the young season. Kayla is
5 feet, 10 inches tall and has recently added a soft jumper from just
inside the foul line. She chipped in with five points and some aggressive
defense on Bakersfield’s bona fide six-footer.
In the second half, the Tigers outscored the Eagles 34 to
20. Alley Reeves led the Tiger attack with 18 while Beck and Rojas added
12 and 11 points, respectively.
The game must have reminded Greg Dixon, now a varsity assistant
coach and also part of the team’s Three Rivers connection, of the
2003-2004 season. That year, his JV girls, of whom four are now senior
varsity players, won two come-from-behind thrillers that led to a share
of the league title with Corcoran.
The Tigers’s other assistant coach is Kent Owen, also
a Three Rivers resident and member of the Woodlake High School board.
Owen has been a part of Lady Tiger basketball for the past two decades.
The win over the Eagles came after consecutive blowouts versus
Farmersville and Strathmore. It was the first Strathmore tourney first
place finish in recent memory and came over a Bakersfield team that is
currently ranked second in the Valley among all Division 5 teams.