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In the News -
Friday, DECEMBER 17, 2004
Only in the
December 17 print edition:
County to review
In what’s become a year-end ritual, on Tuesday, Dec.
21, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors will listen to a report that
2004 was another “successful,” albeit short, whitewater rafting
season on the Kaweah River. The Kaweah River Management Plan (KRMP) that
was adopted in 1997 stipulates an annual update be provided to the BOS
relative to commercial whitewater rafting in Three Rivers.
The KRMP was intended to address certain problems that resulted
in the past from river rafting along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River
in the section between Sequoia National Park and Lake Kaweah. The regulatory
ordinance sets limits on the amount of companies allowed to operate and
determines how many rafting trips are permissible on any given day.
The plan allows the eight licensed companies to utilize the
river and run up to eight rafts with 64 people per day. A post-season
evaluation looks at capacity restrictions and solicits community input
on the preceding season.
The 2004 season, that again was dependent upon a snowpack
that was below normal, started (April 24) and ended earlier (May 30) than
the previous five seasons. The entire season was mostly confined to five
weeks and was the shortest season since statistics have been compiled
starting in 1997.
Typically, the season has lasted six or seven weeks. An above
normal snowpack in 1998 extended the season to 17 weeks. Interesting to
note, though not contained in the county documents, is that the upcoming
season for 2005, in terms of snowpack, is beginning to look more like
1998 than any of the others since the KRMP was adopted.
In 2004, Tulare County issued licenses to eight companies
(six of which have been licensed since the start of the plan in 1997)
— Mariah Adventure Connection, All Outdoors, American River Recreation,
Kaweah White Water Adventures, Tributary Whitewater Tours, Whitewater
Connection, Whitewater Voyages, and Wilderness Adventures. This was the
first year on the Kaweah River for American River Recreation that replaced
Beyond Limits (1997-2003). Beyond Limits declined to apply so its license
was granted to American River Recreation, the only outfitter on the county’s
In 2004, the total commercial rafting use, based on numbers
furnished by the companies, was 1,392 rafts and 247 rafts. These numbers
include clients and guides though safety “kayakers,” who typically
run with the rafts to aid clients who topple into the river, are not included.
Peak usage of the river in 2004 occurred in May. The greatest
number of trips were conducted during the Memorial Day weekend and the
ensuing weekend. The start and end of the season is defined when more
than one company is operating commercial trips.
In contrast to 1998, which had the greatest use, an average
of 213 rafters ran the river per week in 2004; during its heaviest use,
the average number was 257 per week. The critical difference is the length
of season, which in 1998 ran all the way into early August as opposed
to typically ending around June 1.
Throughout the season, county planning staff is required
to visit Three Rivers at least two times to observe how the commercial
outfitters are complying with the KRMP. Due to the shorter season in 2004,
only one onsite inspection was made on May 17.
The county inspector observed parking in and around put-in
and take-out areas, monitored noise on the river, and counted the number
of rafts. Generally, the inspector reported that commercial rafting caused
little or no impact and was conducted in a professional manner.
Under the terms of the ordinance, the county also maintains
a complaint log that in the early seasons, contained a few entries for
noise and trespass. In the past three seasons, there have been no investigable
County planning staff will briefly summarize the 2004 update
of the KRMP at Tuesday’s meeting in the chambers of the board of
supervisors. Those wishing to make public comments on river rafting or
any other county matter are encouraged to attend. For a copy of the 2004
KRMP update or more information, call 733-6271.
Rivers angel for 40 years
1925 ~ 2004
Shirley O’Connell, a resident of Three Rivers for 40
years, died Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004, at Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia.
She was 79.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday, Dec. 13, at St.
Clair’s Catholic Mission. A graveside service immediately followed
at Three Rivers Cemetery, and a reception was held at St. Anthony Retreat.
On July 31, 1925, Shirley Marie Herbert was born in Fort
Worth, Texas. The family moved to Los Angeles in 1940 where she attended
Immanuel Arts High School.
In 1949, Shirley married James Pat O’Connell. In 1958,
the couple bought their first business, a Mobil service station on the
corner of Slauson and La Brea in Los Angeles.
While living in the Los Angeles community of Westchester,
the couple had two children. James Patrick was born in 1953 and Jay Michael
was born in 1959.
In late 1964, Shirley and her family relocated to Three Rivers,
where she and her husband owned and operated Pat O’Connell’s
Mobil Service (later known as Pat O’Connell’s Service).
For the past 40 years, the O’Connells were a team who
dedicated their lives to providing an indispensable service to both the
residents of and travelers in the community that is above and beyond the
normal day-to-day job. The O’Connells have worked tirelessly well
into what most would consider retirement years. Shirley’s selfless
hospitality is nothing short of legendary, and the lives she touched in
positive ways number in the thousands.
Shirley was active in a number of civic organizations. She
was a longtime member of the St. Clair’s Altar Society and was involved
in the planning of a number of events at the St. Anthony Retreat House
in the earlier years of that facility’s existence. Shirley was a
member of the Lady Lions, which in years past was the women’s support
organization to the Lions Club.
Shirley was an avid bowler in her younger years, enjoyed
making hand-sewn and quilted baby blankets, loved a good mystery novel,
had a fondness for cats and, speaking of cats, had a collection of Garfield
toys that got a bit out of hand, reminisced her son, Jay.
Shirley was preceded in death by her son, Jim, in 1974. She
was also preceded in death by her sister and two brothers, including Jack
Erwin Herbert, who was killed in service aboard the sinking USS Indianapolis
at the end of World War II.
In addition to her husband of 55 years, Pat, Shirley is survived
by son Jay of Los Angeles; daughter-in-law Susie; her two grandchildren,
James Patrick (JP) and Colin Finn O’Connell; her brother, Robert
Herbert, of Snohomish, Wash.; nephew Mike Herbert of Columbia Falls, Mont.;
two nieces, Denise Doggett of Snohomish, Wash., and Debbie Anderson of
Oak Harbor, Wash.; and numerous grand- and great-grand-nieces and nephews.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations
be made in Shirley’s name to the St. Clair’s Altar Society,
P.O. Box 429, Three Rivers, CA 93271.
1937 ~ 2004
Gary Glen Lane of Three Rivers died Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004, at Kaweah
Delta Hospital in Visalia. He was 67.
A memorial service will be held today (Friday, Dec. 17), beginning at
11 a.m. at the Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers.
Gary was born on Sept. 12, 1937, to Irwin and Winifred Lane in Phillipsburg,
Kan. He was raised in Colorado.
On Nov. 15, 1958, he married the former Frances Foos in Colorado Springs.
Gary worked as an operations manager in the banking industry for many
years, retiring from his career at Wells Fargo Bank.
In addition to his wife of 46 years, Frances, of Three Rivers, Gary is
survived by his sons, Robert and wife Valerie Lane of Los Angeles and
William and wife Maria Elena Lane of Simi Valley; his mother, Iris Lane
of Colorado; four sisters, Marcia Duell, Barbara Martin, Vicki Ramirez,
and Luanne Dunn, and four grandchildren.
Online condolences may be sent by logging on to: www.smithfamilychapel.com
1918 ~ 2004
David Robert Earl Weaver of Three Rivers died Friday, Dec.
10, 2004. He was 86.
David was born Oct. 9, 1918, in Tulare to Clarence and Monica
Weaver. He was raised in the San Joaquin Valley.
During World War II, David was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In
1944, he married the former Mavis Pennywitt Rucker.
David received his master’s degree in education from
the University of Southern California. In 1973, he earned his Ph.D. there
in counseling and guidance.
He was an elementary school teacher and principal for 14
years. David moved to Three Rivers in 1984 to reside in his family’s
home, the present-day Indian Oaks Residential Care facility on Old Three
David is survived by his two daughters, Carol Lynn Hoisington
of Sevierville, Tenn., and Dianne Foglia of Upland; and his son, Dan Weaver,
of Three Rivers, wife Elizabeth, and granddaughter Lorraine Weaver.
1918 ~ 2004
Alice B. Butler of Three Rivers died Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2004.
She was 86.
Alice was a native of California. She moved to Three Rivers
to be near her daughter, Suzanne Stedman.
1909 ~ 2004
Irene Clay of Visalia died Monday, Dec. 6, 2004. She was
During the 1940s and ‘50s, Irene and her husband, Willy,
lived in Three Rivers. The couple owned and operated the Moro Rock Tavern
(present-day White Horse Inn).
A service was held Thursday, Dec. 9, at St. Mary’s
Catholic Church in Visalia.
Lake Kaweah rollover
On Saturday, Dec. 11, a solo vehicle accident occurred near
Lake Kaweah just before sunrise. A passing Three Rivers motorist, who
was flagged down by the victim standing next to the road, called the California
Highway Patrol at 6:30 a.m. and assisted at the scene.
The crash occurred when Victor Diaz, 58, of Fresno was driving
his 2003 Toyota Tacoma pickup eastbound in the vicinity of Lake Kaweah
in foggy, limited visibility. Diaz, who stated that he was driving 40
to 50 m.p.h., reportedly fell asleep at the wheel. When he woke up he
realized he had crossed the westbound lane and braced for the crash.
Diaz’s vehicle became airborne, flipped over, and crashed
into a rock where it came to rest.
According to information gathered at the scene, the vehicle
traveled approximately 50 feet down an embankment before coming to a stop.
Diaz was not seriously injured but the pickup was heavily damaged.
The CHP cautions all drivers to slow down in foggy conditions
and during holiday periods be especially watchful for impaired motorists.
In 2003, the CHP arrested 82,000 drivers statewide for driving
under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The CHP conducts additional enforcement
activities throughout the holidays at a variety of roadside checkpoints
to deter drinking-and-driving.
National drunk-driving statistics confirm that more arrests
are made on Christmas Eve, not New Year’s Eve as is widely believed.
TRUS board swears
On Wednesday, Dec. 8, the Three Rivers Union School board
of trustees met for their final meeting of 2004 and dealt with several
procedural matters. Newly appointed members Kristina Roper-Graber and
Chantel Medeiros-Horton were administered oaths of office and officially
began their four-year terms.
Moises Garza was re-elected as president of the board. Roberta
Harris was elected to serve as clerk. Marie Powell was elected as representative
of the board and will vote in the 2005 election of members to the county
committee on school district organization.
Under old business, the board continued discussion relative
to policies for seventh and eighth-grade fundraising. The board heard
from parents who suggested that a policy be adopted that would credit
parents and students who actually participated at functions like the annual
Jazzaffair fundraiser dinner.
was important that the board clarify that the fundraising must be for
the benefit of all students regardless of whether they participate or
not,” said Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent and principal.
Sherwood also said that fundraising in general has been very
successful in the current school year and has been a tremendous help to
the cash-strapped district. The biggest single contribution came from
the Three Rivers School Foundation that provided $15,000 to fund the music
The art program also faced the prospect of being cut but
is being coordinated by parent Dyann Graber who has called upon local
artists as instructors.
Arts Alliance, Woman’s Club, and the Lions Club all made donations
to our art program,” Sherwood said. “Without the monies and
the in-kind donation of local artists, a quality art program at Three
Rivers School would not be possible.”
A serving of Christmas spirit
On Wednesday, Dec. 15, Santa helped out at First Baptist
Church where they were distributing dozens of FoodLink food boxes and
Christmas toys to families in need in Three Rivers. The annual holiday
gift-giving is coordinated by the Three Rivers Community Food Pantry,
which provides food and other support to local residents year-round.