In the News -
Friday, DECEMBER 23, 2005
County extinguishes CDF ties
In its most controversial action of 2005, the Tulare County
Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday, Dec. 20, to terminate
the contract with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
(CDF) to provide fire protection for unincorporated areas. The decisive
vote ended speculation as to whether Tulare County would create its own
fire department or continue using CDF.
The last county to end its contract with CDF for fire protection
was San Bernardino in 1997. The changing here will take at least 18 months
with the newly-created department expected to be in place by July 2007.
The termination of a relationship with CDF that lasted more
than 70 years became necessary when earlier this year a budget shortfall
dictated personnel cuts and the closing of five regularly staffed fire
stations. Those cuts reduced the number of personnel on duty in Three
Rivers but meant that the Lemon Cove station had to be closed altogether.
factor that motivated me to vote for the termination was the opportunity
to someday restore staffing at Lemon Cove,” said Supervisor Alan
Ishida. “Under the CDF plan, there was no chance for Lemon Cove
to be used except by paid-call volunteers.”
Ishida said the pros, especially the long-term savings of
taxpayer dollars, would far outweigh the cons like the $1.7 million for
startup costs. Three Rivers will actually fare better than it would under
CDF’s current “Amador Plan.”
[the county] will ensure that Three Rivers is staffed,” Ishida said.
“Your local fire engine will continue to be the first responder
in medical emergencies, too.”
Once the new county fire department is organized, Ishida
said, coverage of the Three Rivers area would be the shared responsibility
of the county and the state.
county will have to pay the state something for their services,”
Ishida said. “As a result, the local fire protection should actually
The board believes there are other advantages of the move
like new training facilities in the Valley and the creation of jobs.
firefighters at age 50 who retire from the state and then take a Tulare
County job will actually be earning more,” Ishida said. “For
some of the younger CDF employees who now only work in the busy summer
season, they will have the opportunity to work full time for the county.”
One seasonal said he hates to see the end for CDF but will
personally be better off.
"I was raised here in Tulare County, my wife and I have
a new baby, and we want to stay here,” said the CDF seasonal, who
asked that his name not be used. “If I stay with CDF, I have to
go where they send me. With the new Tulare County department, I’m
in line for a full-time job right here.”
In other county news, the annual review of the Kaweah River
Management Plan that regulates whitewater rafting on the Kaweah was also
on last Tuesday’s agenda of the regular board meeting. Ishida said
there were no complaints in the extended and, at times, busy 2005 season.
seems happy with how the ordinance works,” Ishida said. “It
[the regulatory ordinance] has really helped to defuse the trespassing
This past week, just in time for holiday gifting, Ishida
presented two local checks. The Three Rivers/Lemon Cove Business Association
received $1,000 for tourist promotions and the Lemon Cove Woman’s
Club received $500 for maintenance on the historic Pogue Hotel that also
serves as their headquarters.
50 years ago: December 23, 1955
NORTH FORK BRIDGE, gone. Dinely Bridge, gone. Pumpkin Hollow
Bridge approach, gone. South Fork bridge on Highway 198, gone.
HOMES WASHED AWAY. Businesses flooded. Cars destroyed.
Residents stranded. Livestock washed away. Pets lost.
MUD IN THE STREETS. Standing water in pastures, fields, and
orchards. Debris blocking roadways and piled up in yards.
EXPLOSIONS. FIRES. Rockslides. Mudslides.
THIS WAS WHAT Three Rivers residents endured exactly 50 years
ago today, in the early-morning hours of Dec. 23, 1955. There was no Christmas
in Three Rivers that year as residents were stranded, the town was cut
off from outside assistance, there were no basic services, and many were
PRESENTS AND CHRISTMAS trees and hopes of a happy holiday
washed down the river along with several houses. There were some close
calls, narrow escapes, a night of harrowing rescue operations, and lots
of heroic actions by townsfolk, but not a single human life was lost,
NEXT WEEK, A special section will commemorate the Flood of
High Sierra blooms adorn
Arthur “Shaz” Shahzade is a well-known figure
in Visalia. After all, he was a high school biology teacher for 49 years.
In addition, he coached high school baseball for 24 years.
He even has a stadium named in his honor.
Upon his retirement, Shaz branched out, so to speak, and
published Wildflowers of California (2001). Now in its third printing,
the new updated version contains 32 additional flowers, most of which
grow at or above 5,000 feet in elevation.
first edition did a pretty good job covering the flowers on the valley
floor and in the foothills,” said Shaz. “However, it was a
little weak on the upper Sierra flowers. I think it is now a better book
with better balance.”
The book is dedicated to the late Sam Pusateri (1912-1995),
a Three Rivers resident, biologist, author, and College of the Sequoias
For a Three Rivers resident, owning a wildflower identification
guide is as important as obtaining food and shelter. This book is available
locally at Anne Lang’s Emporium, Foothills Visitor Center, Reimer’s
Candies, and the Commonwealth office.