In the News - Friday, December
stories written by John or
Elliott unless otherwise noted
IN THE DECEMBER 25 PRINT EDITION:
Country Christmas Cards
businesses send holiday greetings
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
for Rose Parade
Friday, Jan. 1, 8 a.m.
NBC or ABC
to view a video of Christy, Joe the Drummer
Blue Suede Dude
It was a crisp, clear Three Rivers day.
Fairly typical until Joe “The Drummer”
Parisi fired up the tunes.
The horse reared and attempted to bolt,
but there was a skilled rider on his back. Things
were quickly brought back under control.
This was the scene on North Kaweah River
Drive on Wednesday, Dec. 16, as Christy Wood worked
in tandem with Joe to desensitize her award-winning
appaloosa “Blue Suede Dude” to sounds
that may be encountered during a parade. Such lessons
can prove to be a challenge in a peaceful country
village like Three Rivers.
But Joe the Drummer with his trailer
of acoustics is a one-man traveling band that solved
Christy’s pressing training dilemma. For an
hour on two consecutive Wednesdays, Christy and Dude
have ridden behind, beside, and in front of Joe as
he plays the drums karaoke-style and Steve Wood drives
the van parade-style up and down the one-lane country
road adjacent to the old airport.
Dude wasn’t too sure about the
entire setup at first. But he trusts Christy implicitly
and was soon following the drum trailer, even bobbing
his head in perfect time to the music.
ROSE PARADE OR BUST—
Christy will participate in the 121st Rose Parade,
which takes place on New Year’s Day 2010 (Friday,
Jan. 1) in Pasadena. She will be riding with the Calizona
Appaloosa Horse Club and dressed as a Nez Perce woman.
Her group will be the 33rd entry out
of 92 total, appearing between the City of Torrance
and City of Burbank floats. There are 23 equestrian
units scheduled to ride in the parade.
She will be in authentic Nez Perz garb
and wearing a black wig and a basket-hat. Watch for
her on the left (far) side of her row on Dude, a stunning
white gelding with white mane and tail and black spots
on his rump.
The Rose Parade begins at 8 a.m. and
lasts two-and-a-half hours. The parade route is a
total of five-and-a-half miles.
It will be aired on NBC, ABC, Hallmark
Channel, HGTV, Travel Channel, and Univision. Approximately
40 million Americans watch the Rose Parade on TV,
as well as millions of international viewers.
Christy is the owner of Wood ‘N’
Horse Training Stables in Three Rivers. She is also
a trainer and riding instructor, champion rider, certified
show judge, and most recently, an author, having published
her first book in 2009, entitled Your Best Horse
Show: A Guide for Managers and Exhibitors.
for all 3R kids
Christmas is all about some special kids…
and their parents too!
Two local events highlighted an important reason for
the season — giving.
On Tuesday evening, Dec. 22, at Lions Arena, parents
began showing up to pick up 38 brand new bicycles
to be distributed to disadvantaged Three Rivers children
on Christmas morning.
The holiday bicycle give-away was part
of Waste Connections’s annual Operation Christmas
Promise. The annual give-away works like this:
Waste Connections, Inc., the local trash
disposal service for a host of Valley communities,
seeks out local civic groups and individuals to help
find children who might be in need a new bicycle.
After a target of need is established
for the giving, locals (service groups, businesses,
and individuals) provide a match to funds made available
by Waste Connections. The company then buys the bicycles
and assembles them in their shop for delivery to the
a win-win for the company and the kids,” said
Scott Shreves, a district manager for Waste Connections,
who was on-hand for the Three Rivers gift-giving Tuesday
Bread Basket special delivery—
On Wednesday morning, Dec. 23, disadvantaged Three
Rivers families attended a Christmas party hosted
by the Three Rivers Bread Basket food pantry at the
Three Rivers Arts Center. Santa was on-hand to distribute
gifts and food items to the children, their families,
and anyone who this holiday season is in need.
For this year, all who attended could
look forward to a little more joy in their Three Rivers
Christmas, thanks to some caring friends and neighbors.
DUI a factor in
The holidays just wouldn’t be the
holidays without a party or two. But when the party’s
over and it’s time to drive home, hand over
the keys to a designated driver or get a room and
sleep it off.
Apparently, William Bayse, 35,
of Dinuba chose to do neither of those options and
attempted to drive home after attending a Three Rivers
party. On Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 8:45 p.m., Bayse was
driving his 2004 GMC pickup westbound on Highway 198
below Slick Rock when he skidded across the eastbound
The solo spinout ended when the pickup
collided with the rocky embankment along the roadway’s
shoulder. The vehicle sustained damage to both the
front and rear ends.
Bayse was apparently shaken but uninjured.
He told a CHP investigator that when he came around
the bend there were deer standing in the roadway and
he swerved to avoid a collision.
The story was credible but then the officer
asked Bayse if he had been drinking. According to
the officer’s report, Bayse stated: “To
be quite honest, I’ve had a few drinks.”
After performing poorly on a field sobriety
test, Bayse was arrested and transported to county
jail where he spent the night.
when a motorist is arrested for DUI, that’s
only the beginning,” said Officer Wright, CHP
spokesperson for the Visalia District. “There’s
an automatic license suspension for a minimum of six
months and fines and court costs that exceed $3,000.”
Officer Wright said that the outcome
of the blood test can also influence the length of
the license suspension. Six months is automatic, but
seriously impaired drivers will get much longer suspensions.
In rural areas like Three Rivers where
there is no regular taxi service or public transportation,
it’s even more tempting to climb behind the
wheel after having a few drinks. The CHP is asking
that especially during the holiday season that friends
don’t let friends drive drunk.
and then driving is a terrible mistake and chances
are you will have an accident, get caught, or both,”
said Officer Wright.
House fire is holiday tragedy
The smoke and fire that were visible
from a large hillside house on Road 246 in Lemon Cove
were sure signs that something was terribly wrong.
When Tulare County fires units arrived on the scene
last Monday afternoon (Dec. 21), they found locked
steel gates at the bottom of a long driveway.
After gaining entry to the property,
firefighters found several rooms fully engulfed in
the interior of the house. They immediately began
to pour water on flames that were now coming through
an area of the roof.
All the walls of the 4,000- square-foot
residence were constructed of an adobe material, which
hampered the spread of the blaze that had been reportedly
burning for quite some time. The fact that the walls
were built of adobe also aided firefighters in the
suppression of the fire.
Approximately one-third of the residence
sustained damage from fire and smoke. All of the walls
remained standing and the fire only burned through
the tile roof in the portion of the structure above
The estimated damage to the house was reported to
be $200,000 and $50,000 to the contents. The occupants
of the house were not at home at the time of the blaze.
Firefighters were able to quickly douse
the flames but, tragically, the family dog perished
in the fire. The cause of the blaze is currently under
investigation and the fact that the roof only collapsed
over the kitchen may help investigators determine
the flash point.
‘Year of the Checkpoint’
is in force
California law-enforcement agencies
Just in case killing yourself or someone
else isn’t enough of a deterrent to drinking
and driving, then be forewarned that California law-enforcement
agencies are teaming up to conduct more checkpoints
than ever before. More than 250 will be held through
January 3, and 2,500 are planned during 2010.
Drunk drivers may be reported at anytime
by dialing 911.
What’s open… and
Friday, Jan. 1, is New Year’s Day,
a legal holiday. Here’s a rundown on what will
be open and closed in Kaweah Country:
Businesses— Most will be open. During the weekend,
most businesses will be open normal hours.
Three Rivers Drug—
Closed New Year’s Day. Normal hours on New Year’s
The Kaweah Commonwealth—
The newspaper office will be open Thursday, Dec. 31,
and closed Friday, Jan. 1. Newspapers will be available
at most outlets on Friday, Jan 1. They will be mailed
to subscribers when the post office reopens Saturday,
Rivers School and Woodlake High School are on break;
school resumes January 6.
federal, state, and county offices will be closed
Friday, Jan. 1. Emergency services will be staffed.
Park visitor centers normally open this time of year
will be open. National Park Service business offices
will be closed Friday.
No mail delivery Friday, Jan. 1. Normal collection
hours on New Year’s Eve, but window service
closes at 1 pm.
Friday, Jan. 1.
Jan. 1. Valley Oak Credit Union will be open 9 am-3
pm on New Year’s Eve; Bank of the Sierra will
have normal hours.
Trash collection— Three
Rivers Disposal customers whose collection day is
Friday, Jan. 1, will instead receive service on SATURDAY.
It’s awards season
Nominees are currently being accepted
for the annual Recognizing Excellence in Entrepreneurship
awards, sponsored by the Tulare County Economic Development
The deadline to nominate a Tulare County
entrepreneur is Thursday, Jan. 28. Winners will be
announced at an awards luncheon on Thursday, Feb.
Nomination forms are available at www.sequoiavalley.com
or by calling Lori Dunagan at 688-3388, ext. 103.
WOODLAKE AWARDS BANQUET
Nominations are due Friday, Jan. 15,
for Woodlake’s Man, Woman, and Youth of the
Year; Business of the Year; and Spirit of Woodlake
awards. Anyone may make a nomination, but there are
certain boundaries to which one must adhere.
The Man and Woman of the Year must reside
within the boundaries of the Woodlake Union Elementary
School District. The Youth of the Year — two
teenagers, one male and one female — must reside
within the Woodlake High School boundaries, which
includes Three Rivers.
The Spirit of Woodlake nominee may live anywhere,
but have a connection to Woodlake. And the Business
of the Year (selected by the Woodlake Valley Chamber
of Commerce) must be within the 93286 zip code.
Winners will be announced in advance
of the dinner/awards banquet, tentatively scheduled
for Saturday, Feb. 27. Nomination forms are available
at the office of THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH or by calling
VOICE OF THE ANIMAL
Flying Reindeer: Not just a
By Rae Ann Kumelos
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer
and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, and Donner and Blitzen.
But what do you know about that most famous reindeer
For some, the television appearance of
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer marks the true beginning
of the holiday season. Written in 1964 as a Christmas
promotion for the Montgomery Ward department stores,
the story of Rudolph and his flying reindeer friends
is the longest running special on television.
But do you know that behind this beloved
stop-motion animated TV show is a true story of flying
It makes perfect sense that reindeer
would be Santa’s animal of choice. Reindeer
live exclusively in the north.
Their thick coats and wide feet are perfect
for the sub-zero cold of Scandinavia, Russian Europe,
and Asia, where 5,000 years ago, reindeer were the
first large animals to be domesticated. In Greenland,
Iceland, Canada, and Alaska, reindeer are wild and
more popularly known as caribou.
Reindeer became extinct in Scotland in
the 10th century, but they were reintroduced to that
country in 1952. Laplanders use reindeer to pull sleighs,
and so does the postman in Wales, Alaska.
For centuries, reindeer herding has been
a way of life in the mountain forests along the Russian-Mongolian
border. Though threatened by economic, governmental,
and cultural changes, just as their ancestors did,
these northern indigenous people still raise reindeer
for packing, riding, and milk. Since female reindeer
are the only deer species to grow antlers, the people
consider a reindeer-doe the mother of the universe,
her antlers a symbol for feminine strength.
For these northern cultures, Reindeer
is revered as a totem power animal, one that can fly
through the world of spirit to commune with the high
gods. Reindeer is the sacred animal that carries the
Arctic shaman to the Otherworld.
In fact, the relationship between reindeer
and shaman holds special significance for Rudolph
and Santa. During mid-winter ceremonies, the shamans
of the far north would partake of the hallucinogenic
fly agraric mushroom – the bright red mushroom
with red spots that we see associated with fairy tales
and Christmas decorations – to achieve an altered
state that would allow the shaman to travel into otherworldly
realms. In ceremonies held to honor the December 21
winter solstice, the local shaman would enter a yurt
through the smoke hole at the top, bringing with him
a bag of the colorful mushrooms, departing again through
the smoke hole after the festivities. This entry and
departure through the ceiling led people to believe
the shaman could fly, and since reindeer also consider
the hallucinogenic red mushroom a delicious delicacy,
they were believed to fly with him.
Hmmm, a blessed man who carries a bag
full of special red and white gifts down a chimney,
lives in the far north, and flies with reindeer. Sound
In ancient Norse myth, Thor, the god
of thunder and lightning (which in old German are
donner and blitzen), also lived in the far north and
was associated with the color red. Thor fought the
gods of snow and ice to conquer cold and bring spring
– and he did it while riding in a golden flying
chariot pulled by two flying goats, Gnasher and Cracker.
During this holiday season, when you
see a shiny red-nosed Rudolph adorning a lawn, store
window, or parade float, remember this reindeer carries
in his sleigh a legacy of Arctic shamans, flying goats,
and the god of thunder and lightning; certainly reason
enough he should go down in history.
Rae Ann Kumelos’s
“Voice of the Animal” program is broadcast
on XM Satellite Radio. Visit www.voiceoftheanimal.com
to hear shows, sign up for the daily e-quote, or purchase
CDs (CDs also available locally at Nadi’s Studio).