In the News - Friday, December
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
rain, snow event forecast
Forecasts released December 16 by the National Weather
Service in Hanford are calling for periods of significant
rainfall throughout the region and heavy snows in
the nearby mountains. Starting today, the foothills
in and around Three Rivers can expect what forecasters
are calling a deluge over the next five days.
Forecasters are predicting from five to 10 inches
of rainfall throughout the period that will translate
to a similar amount in feet of snow for elevations
above 7,000 feet. Wind gusts of 100 mph are expected
on the crest of the High Sierra.
The Valley floor is bracing for one to three inches
of rainfall. In addition to the winter storm watch
that will remain in effect until mid-week, there is
a small stream advisory in effect for all areas as
flooding is imminent.
To help residents prepare for the incoming series
of storms, the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services
is identifying flood-prone areas for crew assignments
and making sandbags available at fire stations in
Three Rivers and Lemon Cove.
County officials are urging all residents to stay
inside during the heaviest downpours and carefully
consider the surroundings when approaching any flooded
area. In addition, unless one lives or works in the
nearby mountains, it would be best not to attempt
high-country travel until the storms dissipate.
Lake Kaweah has recently drained its storage pool
to the lowest levels of the current season in preparation
for what's predicted to be a huge increase in all
Rice, MD: 30 years in 3R
1: The formative
This is the first of a two-part series on the career
of AJ Rice, M.D., that commemorates an unprecedented
30 years of practicing medicine in Three Rivers.
In the past century , the doctors who have
had a practice in Three Rivers have been few and far
between — Demaree, Ison, King, Rice, Molina. One of
these country doctors — A. Joel “AJ” Rice, M.D. —
stands out because December 2010 marks his 30th year
of practicing medicine in Three Rivers.
brand of medicine, which since 1982 has included homeopathy,
has employed both conventional and unconventional
treatments. Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine
that treats a patient's symptoms with highly diluted
preparations. Homeopaths employ aspects of the patient's
physical and psychological states when recommending
And thanks to Family Healthcare Network, which came
along in 2001 and partnered with Dr. Rice, the good
doctor, now 67, is able to continue what he has been
doing for the past 30 years — treating a growing legion
of patients who have always trusted AJ to do his very
best with their interests at heart.
AJ would be the first to admit that his medical career
and path to this place in his life has been a long,
strange but wonderful trip. Growing up in Pittsburgh
, Penn. , it wasn't a dream of his to even be a doctor.
one day, I saw a movie about a doctor in Europe who
was going from house to house treating his patients,”
recalled AJ. “I thought that was really cool and I
would like to do that.”
The seed for doctoring was planted but not nurtured
was a jock and only a C student in high school when
I graduated in 1960,” AJ admitted. “But when I got
to college I was really turned on by the sciences
and my professors.”
That early inspiration came at the University of Pittsburgh
, where the aspiring medical student earned a pharmacy
degree. The years 1964 to 1971 were spent enrolled
at the University of Iowa earning a medical degree
and a Ph.D. in medical education.
goal was to do academic research and be a college
professor who taught doctors,” AJ said. “I was interested
in how drugs react to different diseases and how the
body handles certain disease states.”
After graduation from the Iowa programs, AJ headed
west where in the next few years he interned at Stanford
University Medical Center and then landed a fellowship
at UC San Francisco. AJ recalls the UC program as
heavy with highly competitive types who turned him
off from wanting a career in academia.
Ironically, one of AJ's advisors at UC San Francisco
was an expert in neuroendocrine tumors. In recent
years, AJ was diagnosed with one of these same carcinoid
cancers and continues today to battle his way back
to good health from this extremely rare disease that
his professor had devoted his research career to diagnosing
and finding treatments.
I was at UC, that's when I became a weekend warrior
and began taking 24-hour shifts as an emergency room
doctor at Kaweah Delta in Visalia ,” AJ said. “I could
earn in one month of four shifts [about $1,500] what
the fellowship paid for an entire semester.”
But what AJ really wanted was a break from the rigors
of academia and to go explore the world.
‘70s were in full swing and it seemed for all my life
I had been in school,” said AJ. “I wanted to go out
and explore life and find myself.”
It wasn't long before AJ discovered the laid-back
lifestyle of Three Rivers. While he contemplated what
to do with his life he got married, fathered a daughter,
and lived in a teepee on the South Fork.
In 1977, the Visalia Times Delta got wind
of a story about a doctor who asked the phone company
for an installation at his teepee. The company complied
by providing the connection in an adjacent oak tree.
The article stated that Dr. Rice was living in the
teepee while working part time as a doctor in Visalia
. His days off were spent working with a neighbor
to build his Three Rivers home.
AJ fondly remembers those carefree, hippy days but
then his marriage ended and he noticed that his life
was not truly centered and lacked purpose.
was saving money and traveling the world,” AJ recalled.
“I became a vegetarian, I was riding my bike for 50
miles daily and, for a few years, it was a great lifestyle.”
But what AJ realized was that his life lacked professional
goals. That's when he came up with the idea to start
his own medical practice.
that time [late-1970s], Dr. Harry Ison had his practice
and he was the family doctor for just about everyone
in Three Rivers,” AJ said. “I didn't really want to
compete with Harry. I wanted patients who wanted to
live an alternative lifestyle.”
To be continued…
Two phases of Generals Highway construction have now
become one so get used to timing your drives up the
mountain to arrive at the roadwork right when the
traffic is let through. This weekend and from December
24 through January 2, delays will be 20 minutes or
less as directed by the traffic signals.
The work zone is the width of a single lane
only, so the traffic controls are necessary. Impatient
drivers ignoring these traffic controls and prematurely
entering the construction zone will impede traffic
flow from the opposite direction and will be cited.
open… and what's not
most have probably been aware since the decorations
went up around Labor Day, Friday, Dec. 24, is Christmas
Eve and Saturday, Dec. 25, is Christmas.
Here's a rundown on what will be open and closed in
Businesses— Limited and/or varying hours;
Government— Most federal, state, and county
offices will be closed. Emergency services will be
staffed. Park visitor centers normally operating this
time of year will be open.
Post office— Dec. 24: 9:30 am-12:30 pm ;
Dec. 25: closed.
Library— Closed Dec. 23-28.
Banks— Dec. 24: Bank of the Sierra will
close at 2 pm ; Valley Oak Credit Union will close
at 3 pm .
Three Rivers Drug— Dec. 24: 9 am-2 pm .
contest seeks national park shots
National Park Service and National Park Foundation
officials are encouraging all who visit national parks
and public lands to take their best shot and submit
the photo in its annual Share the Experience photo
contest, sponsored by Olympus . Olympus is a digital
camera maker and a leader in the manufacturing of
The winning entry will be used on the 2012 America
the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreation
Area Lands Pass.
The winner will receive a prize package that includes
a four-night stay at their favorite national park,
$1,800 worth of photo equipment, a complimentary 2012
annual pass, and several more gifts. The contest runs
through Friday, Dec. 31.
Amateur photographers may participate by uploading
photos on www.sharetheexperience.org
or through Facebook, Flickr, or Shutterfly to the
For rules and a complete list of prizes see the contest
solstice, full moon, lunar eclipse coincide
The Three Wisemen once told the tale of an awesome
night sky. As the Gospel of Matthew goes, the magi
were inspired by a “star in the east” to travel to
Jerusalem . This brilliant Star of Bethlehem, they
said, signified the birth of Jesus.
Well, the night skies this December, more than 2,000
years later, have also been spectacular. The Geminids
earlier this week shot glowing hot rocks through the
sky at a rate of up to two or three at a time, as
seen by the naked eye.
On Tuesday, Dec. 21, the first day of winter, a rare
occurrence will take place in the night sky. It's
the millennium's first total lunar eclipse completely
visible from all of North America .
Although the winter solstice is something not seen,
it refers to the moment when Earth is tilted farthest
from the sun and when the Sun is at its southernmost
point in its year-long journey along the horizon.
While the solstice technically occurs
only for an instant, the day when it takes place is
the shortest of the year and the night the longest.
Occurring concomitantly during this longest night
of the year will be a total lunar eclipse visible
across North America . If this weren't enough, the
December 21 full moon — known as the Long Night Moon
— will be the highest in the sky until 2020.
What could ruin this experience for night-sky gazers
will be clouds, which are unfortunately in the forecast.
If there's a break in the clouds, Kaweah Country viewers
should begin to look to the skies around 10:15 p.m.
on Monday, Dec. 20, to see the eclipse.
At 10:33 p.m., the moon will begin to go into the
darker central shadow from the Earth, and for over
an hour — from 11:41 p.m. to 12:53 a.m. on December
21 — it will be completely eclipsed.
Two ingredients are necessary for a total lunar eclipse:
a full moon and a path passing through the Earth's
shadow. If these two occurrences happen at the same
time, the moon can glow any color from red to turquoise
for one to three hours as it passes through.
The Earth casts a shadow just as buildings or people
do, but Earth's shadow is more brilliant — it's red.
Human shadows are mundane as they lack an atmosphere.
The Earth, however, has a spectacular atmosphere that
changes day to day. This makes every lunar eclipse
different in terms of color.
The reason the moon is orange during an eclipse is
the same as the reason the sky is blue. When sunlight
goes through Earth's atmosphere, blue light bounces
around more and doesn't escape, making the sky blue.
Oranges , yellows, and reds, however, continue on
and reflect off the moon.
A partial lunar eclipse occurred this year on June
26, but was not visible from North America . The next
total lunar eclipse visible from this continent will
occur December 10, 2011 .
Lunar eclipses are one of the easiest sky-watching
activities to view without aids. Viewers need only
to step outside and look up.
meets Three Rivers
Where can some of the world's finest Kona coffee be
found? In Three Rivers, of course.
Gregory Thompson is owner of Orville Studley's brand
products. He has recently returned home from Hawaii
second-place laurels from the 11th annual Keauhou
Resort Kona Coffee Label Competition.
No small feat for a haole, or non-islander,
but with a label designed by Bill Crenshaw of Sutter
Creek Advertising, Orville Studley's won handily.
The competition took place during Hawaii
Coffee Cultural Festival, a 12-day celebration of
the history and heritage of Kona coffee held annually
Locals and visitors alike have become familiar with
Orville Studley's fine jerky products, offered at
the Jerky This! stand, located at 42362 Sierra Drive
(across from Reimer's Candies).
started Jerky This! in 1999, then by 2003 had developed
my own brand of jerky,” said Greg. “People have responded
well to Studley's jerky, so now it's time to branch
out into other areas.”
Greg's plan for the future is to seek out other high
quality Hawaiian coffee beans, perhaps to offer a
“Five Island Blend,” a variety pack of five different
beans that the consumer may blend to suit individual
Presently, Orville Studley's Coffee is available at
Jerky This! and Antoinette's Coffee and Goodies in
Three Rivers. Antoinette's will be offering free samples
of Greg's Kona coffee this Saturday.
Another way to acquire the award-winning coffee is
through an innovative partnership Greg has forged
with the Future Farmers of America. Just as the Girl
Scouts sell cookies, FFA students now sell Orville
Studley's Coffee to raise funds for their cause.
“American coffee consumers can support American
farmers and American education while stimulating the
U.S. economy one cup of paradise at a time,” he said.
Just to make it easier, the Orville Studley's website
allows purchasers to give credit to an FFA
of their choice via the “Credit a Chapter” page.
So if you're in the mood for some first-rate Kona
coffee, pop on over to Antoinette's or visit www.orvillestudleys.com
to purchase. What a great gift idea!
For additional information, call Greg at 679-0719.
musicians play in Macy's Parade
On Saturday, Nov. 20, three Woodlake
students boarded a plane to New
York City .
They were among 250 Macy's Great American Marching
Band members currently flocking to New
across the nation.
Representing Woodlake on this prestigious occasion
to march in the 84th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day
Parade were Luke Savage, Daniel Cabrera, and me. We
were nominated to apply to the Macy's Band by Woodlake
High School band director Bethanie Hansen.
That night in New
we met our roommates and were fitted for uniforms.
The blazing red and white uniforms sparked pride and
excitement throughout the company.
The next day, we spent touring the city, remembering
the past at the Ground
the evening, we unwrapped brand new, sparkling instruments.
When we were lined up by section in preparation of
our first rehearsal — Luke and Daniel among the 26
trumpets and me among the 12 mellophones — we were
introduced to our director, Dr. Richard Good.
I cannot describe the exhilaration of being a part
of a band that massive and talented. Our first notes
resounded clear and full. A moment of astonished silence
The next three days were a blur of nine-hour practices
intermingled with experiencing the city life of New
By parade day we were ready to put on the performance
of a lifetime.
Thanksgiving Day started at 2
five busloads of band members arrived at the dress
rehearsal in Herald's Square in below freezing temperatures.
After rehearsal and a sleepy breakfast at the Hard
Rock Café, all 250 of us were lined up and
waiting for the parade to begin.
The three-mile march seemed to take 10 minutes and
soon we were leading Santa Claus into Herald's Square
for the televised part of the performance. Our energetic
performance was unlike any that I will ever again
experience, and I will always cherish the memory of
those ecstatic moments.
Analisa Skeen is a Woodlake High senior
who resides in Three Rivers.
Editor's note: Macy's Great American Marching Band
is in its fifth year, being founded in 2006. Honoring
America 's finest high school musicians, this band
is comprised of select students from each of the 50
and her horse win in new arena
Christy Wood of Three Rivers usually can be found
competing in or judging events with the Appaloosa
Horse Association as she is partial to this breed
of horse. She currently owns four registered Appaloosas.
on the weekend of November 20 and 21, she and her
Appaloosa mare Zippin Dollie Te, also known as “Dollar,”
traveled to the east side of the Sierra to compete
in their first Ultimate Cowboy Trail Challenge, held
was going to be my stepping stone to start entering
extreme cowboy racing, so I went to scope it out,”
said Christy, who owns Wood ‘N' Horse Training Stables.
There were 60 riders who participated in the qualifying
round on Saturday, and 16 advanced to the finals Sunday,
she explained. The age divisions were youth, non-pro,
had to memorize 29 obstacles in two arenas and out
as well,” said Christy. “They gave us nine minutes
to complete the course.”
Christy completed the course in five minutes, 45 seconds,
and was the overall winner in the Pro division. Dollar
won Top Horse, making all Appaloosas and their owners
won the entire Ultimate Cowboy Trail Challenge and
was handed a check for $1,000,” Christy said.
Not surprisingly, Christy mentioned that she plans
to enter more of these races throughout 2011. But
she also will be back on the Appaloosa show circuit
with a goal to once again compete at the World competition
Dollar is also the horse that Christy rides during
the all-Appaloosa Chief Joseph Trail Ride, an annual
event that follows the flight of the Nez Perce in
Joseph Carey and Elizabeth Smith were married Saturday,
Nov. 20, 2010 , at the Visalia Nazarene Church . After
a honeymoon spent traveling the Pacific Coast Highway
from Morro Bay to Monterey , the couple has made their
home in Visalia . Joseph is a postal clerk at Three
Rivers Post Office.
the road again:
fairs, festivals and more
One of the most visible ways of selling art in a place
like Tulare County is the ubiquitous arts-and-crafts
fair. There was a time when these were rare events,
and one of the best was and still is Three Rivers's
own Redbud Festival.
As a little girl living among the oranges of Ivanhoe,
this event seemed like a great big deal. The Redbud
had an aura of specialness around it as my great Aunt
Mary Barnett would tell us about her weaving or the
Tibetan “boys” who sold the exquisite rugs of their
native country to support themselves through COS .
A show takes a tremendous amount of work for the producers
as well as the vendors. One needs a sense of the show:
it organized, publicized, and well-attended? Does
one's work fit? Is there too much similar work already
at the show? Will it be worth the work, travel time,
As with much of the business of art, a crystal ball
would be a great asset. The vendors must decide what
to take, then gather, package, price, and load it.
In addition to the merchandise, there are all the
display items. Once it is all transported to the site,
it must be unloaded and carried to a 10-by-10-foot
square where it gets arranged into a beautiful albeit
temporary show space. There are little details to
be worked out with neighboring vendors, making sure
that displays don't cause tripping hazards or sometimes
sharing the backs of screens for others to use.
But wait, there's more! After all that, the artist
gets to talk and smile and listen to many visitors
all day. Everyone wants to tell about their aunt's
next-door neighbor's kid who loves to draw muscle
men and race cars, or a daughter who “needs to do
something with her art.”
There is a fine line between listening enough to be
polite and getting trapped while other potential customers
are lost. The vendor can't lose sight of the fact
that she is paying for a temporary store to sell her
work, not running a How-To-Be-An-Artist clinic.
One of the most awkward parts of these shows is the
way they end. Almost every show contract requires
a signature agreeing to stay until the advertised
ending time. And almost every show's traffic vanishes
about an hour before the end.
Unfailingly, there are vendors who pack before the
show ends. Often I have found that by staying until
the final moments, there are last-minute buyers who
are grateful to find exhibitors still in place.
When the vendors are about to croak from exhaustion,
it is time to box it all up and haul it back to the
car. Often it feels as if I am taking more home than
I brought, probably because packing onsite is much
more rushed than packing in the studio. At times,
I've relied on photos of how it was all placed in
the trunk of my car so that I can fit it all back
Craft shows are about much more than just selling
art. Marketing, exposure, future sales, credibility,
visibility, and connecting with the public are less
tangible aspects but just as important. In addition,
participating in shows right here in Three Rivers
is a huge social occasion for the producers, vendors,
Jana Botkin, owner of Cabinart in Three Rivers, packed
and unpacked her paintings several times this season
as she participated in the Senior League Holiday Bazaar,
Perfect Gift Boutique, and Stocking Stuffer Boutique
over three consecutive weekends. She will also be
at the Redbud Festival in May.
Marcia Sweet of Woodlake died Thursday, Dec. 9, 2010
, at Kaweah Delta Hospital. She was 73.
A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Saturday,
Dec. 18) at 10 a.m. at St. Aloysius Catholic Church,
125 E. Pleasant Ave. , Tulare . Interment will be
Marcia was born July 26, 1937, in Bakersfield to Ellery
and Florence (Skip) Mulock. Marcia moved to Tulare
at the age of five and was a 1955 graduate of Tulare
Union High School.
With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Washington
State University and graduate study at California
State University, Fresno, she went on to receive her
Master of Arts degree in Education from Fresno Pacific
Her early career of teaching music included local
schools Sundale, Oak Valley, and Buena Vista . She
was proud to be director of the Tulare Western High
School Band from 1981 to 1984.
She directed at La Sierra Summer Music Camp in 1984,
was guest conductor for the Tulare-Kings Music Educators
Association Honor Band in 1985, and the Tulare County
Elementary-Junior High Honor Band in 1985.
In addition to teaching music, Marcia counseled students
for future employment opportunities and education.
She also taught Career Education, was a multi-subject
teacher for TAPP (Teenage Parent Program), and was
an independent study instructor through the Tulare
County Department of Education.
Her latest career ambitions were fulfilled as she
taught independent study at Sierra Vista High School
and was a music teacher at Three Rivers Union School,
Tipton Elementary School, and St. Aloysius Parochial
School ( Tulare ), where she also co-founded the Summer
Marcia left this life peacefully, which was so unlike
the busy life she lived. She had an insatiable passion
to instill the love of music in every child she met.
Marcia was always racing to teach her kids, driving
too fast and with music way too loud. It was never
just a class to her, those were “her” kids, and she
loved every one of them.
In her words, “Every one of those students is an individual,
every one of them has something different to contribute,
and when all of them are put together, they're a symphony.”
Marcia is survived by her son, Louis J. Sweet, and
wife Lori; daughter Stacy Castro and husband Randy;
and her four cherished grandchildren, Cain, Chad,
Mackenzie, and Regan; brother Ellery Mulock and wife
Anna; two nieces; and one nephew.
At Three Rivers School 's Holiday Band Concert on
the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 14, the band dedicated
a song to the school's former band instructor. Current
band teacher Athena Saenz is a former student of Marcia's
from Tulare, and some of the older students in the
TRUS band remembered Marcia as being the reason they
initially became interested in playing an instrument.
The family will be honored by any remembrances made
to the donor's favorite charity or organization.