Kaweah Commonwealth - Three Rivers

News and Information of KAWEAH COUNTRY - Three Rivers,

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Lemon Cove and Woodlake

Visitor Information:
Three Rivers
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Real Estate
Local History
Travel Information
Weekly News and Features
Weekly Weather
Calendar of Events
Columns/ Opinions
Readers Poll
Newspaper Archives

Live Web Cam of
Sequoia National Park,
the High Sierra,
and Three Rivers, California
Kaweah Kam

AddThis Feed Button

In the News - Friday, December 26, 2008


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

Hall of Fame highlights

extraordinary Californians

   The third annual California Hall of Fame ceremony was held Monday, Dec. 15. The event was conceived in 2006 by Maria Shriver, who is dedicated to recording the unique stories and personal achievements of selected California residents, highlighting their inspirational lives, and ensuring the inductees are part of the permanent record in the California State Archives.
   Each year since 2006, a dozen Californians have been honored for their extraordinary contributions to the state, nation, and world. Upon being nominated, the current year’s inductees agree to participate in the red-carpet ceremony, as well as loan items to assist in the creation of a display in the California Museum that honors their lives.
   This year’s exhibits contain some impressive historical objects, which will be on display through Oct. 31, 2009. There is the ceremonial Golden Spike (which is only on loan for three months) that connected the east and west sections of the Transcontinental Railroad, Oscars and an Emmy, a horse-drawn carriage and the first electric car, and so much more.
   The formal induction ceremony included a welcome address by First Lady Maria Shriver, an introduction and overview by Dina Eastwood (Clint’s wife and museum board chair), and a message by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said, “Because of California, all my dreams became a reality.”
   During the course of the evening, the California Dreamers Challenge scholarship was presented to Elena Murato, a high school senior from Los Angeles. Maria Shriver presented Elena with a check for $10,000 for her essay entitled “Helping Heroes.”
   The scholarship was created by the California Museum, in cooperation with Comcast and the California State Fair and Exposition, to give high school seniors the opportunity to relate how their dream will leave a lasting mark on California, the nation, and the world.
   After a brief biography of each honoree, “Spirit of California” medals — created by world-renowned sculptor Robert Graham, a 2008 inductee and part-time Three Rivers resident — were presented by Governor Schwarzenegger to each inductee.
   In this issue and next, THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH will highlight the extraordinary lives of these 12 individuals.



Part One

Dave Brubeck
(b. 1920)

   Born and raised in Concord, this native Californian put the West Coast on the jazz map and fundamentally changed the way jazz is played. Brubeck’s quartet was the most popular jazz band on the planet in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, and their tune “Take Five” is the bestselling jazz single of all time.
   Dave was born the son of a cattle rancher, and his mother was a piano teacher. He credits the fact that his mom practiced during her pregnancies and all through their childhood that each of the Brubeck brothers had classical tendencies as musicians.
   But Dave rebelled, and unlike his brothers, incorporated the European polytonal harmonies with his jazz style that led to his unique orientation as a jazz artist. Throughout his career that has spanned more than six decades, he has constantly sought a justifiable means of creativity through an integration of jazz and classical expression.
   After graduating from Pacific College in Stockton, Dave served in the U.S. Army in World War II, where he formed a popular dance band. Following the war, he returned home and attended Mills College where he studied classical composition that laid the foundation for his prodigious career.
   The signature Brubeck sound has incorporated musical techniques from around the world. He composed several tunes like “In Your Own Way” and “The Duke” that have become jazz standards.
   Seeking to improve international relations during the Cold War years, the U.S. chose the Dave Brubeck Quartet as cultural ambassadors. Their inaugural tour in 1958 took them around the world, visiting the Soviet Union, Poland, Iran, and Iraq.
   Throughout his storied career, Dave brought cool jazz to some of the world’s hottest spots. In 2008, the U.S. State Department honored Dave as the first individual recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy.
   Dave is also well known for his stand against racial discrimination. He and his jazz entourage weathered the storm created by several highly publicized incidents where he cancelled performances when asked to replace his black bass player with a white musician.
   Since the 1960s, Brubeck and his quartet or trio have composed many pieces to promote religious harmony and peace. One monumental piece “Upon This Rock” commemorated the visit of Pope John Paul II to San Francisco in 1987.
   Dave received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. At the venerable age of 88, Dave continues to compose and perform and promote peace and harmony in his life, in the world and for his beloved California.

Jane Fonda
(b. 1937)

   Throughout Jane’s long and versatile career, her work on stage and screen has enthralled audiences in a variety of roles. As a young political activist in the 1960s and 1970s she was an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. In the 1980s she became a fitness guru and her original Jane Fonda workout video remains the largest grossing video of all time.
   Today, she continues to work tirelessly for social and political change. She focuses her energy and philanthropy on teen advocacy, combating gender stereotypes, and educating adolescents about reproductive health.
   Jane was born in New York City, the daughter of actor Henry Fonda. She began her career as a model but soon realized she had a passion for acting.
   After studying with renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg, Jane became a member of the Actors Studio in New York.
   Her first appearance on Broadway was a starring role in the 1960 hit There Was a Little Girl. For her work in that show she earned a Tony nomination. Success on the silver screen followed.
   Jane’s first major box office hit was Barefoot in the Park, co-starring Robert Redford in 1967. Her subsequent work in over 40 films brought numerous awards; she won two Oscars, one for her 1971 portrayal of a prostitute in Klute and another for her 1978 performance with Jon Voight and Bruce Dern in Coming Home.
   Among her credits as a successful producer are China Syndrome (1979), 9 to 5 (1980), and On Golden Pond (1981), the latter a critically-acclaimed film that explored an aging father and daughter relationship of two characters played by Henry and Jane, father and daughter in real life.
   Jane revolutionized the fitness industry with the release of Jane Fonda’s Workout in 1982. For an encore, she produced 23 exercise videos, 13 audio recordings, and five books – selling more than 16 million copies and motivating millions of women and to get fit.
   At 71, though she admits she is in life’s third and final act, she shows no sign of slowing down. She focuses the majority of her energy on environmental issues, human rights, and the empowerment of women. She is a member of the Women and Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on several boards of organizations that help women.
   In 2001, she established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health at Emory University in Atlanta.
   In 2005, she wrote in her memoir Jane Fonda, My Life So Far:

  “The big difference between life and acting is that in life there is no rehearsal and no ‘take two.’ This is it; better to get it right before it’s over.”
   Jane Fonda has had a long and colorful relationship with California, and her life epitomizes a pioneering spirit and a passion to help others and make a difference.

Theodor Geisel

   If you don’t recognize the name, you will upon learning his middle name, which is also his mother’s maiden name: “Seuss.”
   Dr. Seuss’s destiny was formed early in his childhood as his mother would read rhymes as bedtime stories and his father worked at a zoo. Thus it was whimsical animals and innovative prose that became the focal points of his bestselling children’s books.
   His first children’s book – And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street – was published in 1937. Throughout his career, he wrote and illustrated 44 books, including such classics as Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and Horton Hatches the Egg.
   His The Cat in the Hat was a primer using a vocabulary of only 225 words. These books proved to be the most challenging for him to write, but The Cat in the Hat was just the first of many in his bestselling Beginners Books series that combined engaging stories, outrageous illustrations, and playful sounds to teach basic reading skills. Before Dr. Seuss came along, all children had were the Dick and Jane series of books that weren’t near the level of entertainment that the Dr. Seuss classics were when teaching youngsters to read.
   At the Hall of Fame ceremony, Jack Nicholson had the honor of introducing Dr. Seuss and he did so with an entertaining Seuss-like rhyme delivered in cool, suave, Jack Nicholson style. Dr. Seuss’s wife, Audrey, accepted the posthumous award.

  “I said I would come and say nothing,” she told the audience. “But I’m a woman.”
   She proceeded to give a glowing tribute and provided exceptional insight into the life of this extraordinary man who adopted California as his home. She admitted that Dr. Seuss didn’t set out to write books with a moral in mind because, he would say, “kids can see a moral coming a mile away.”
   Dr. Seuss’s display in the museum is actually a reading room that is decorated with his artwork, including 10 framed lithographs and five “Unorthodox Taxidermy” heads, which are actually colorful three-dimensional re-creations of his whimsical animals. There are stools and a couch in the carpeted reading room and 10 of Dr. Seuss’s most well-loved books to peruse.

Robert Graham
(b. 1938)

   One of the requirements to be a current Hall of Fame inductee is that those being honored agree to attend the evening ceremony. But such things as illness can’t be planned, and Robert Graham, world-renowned sculptor, was unable to attend due to his recent hospitalization.
   Attending in his place to accept the Spirit of California medal that Graham himself created was his son, Steven Graham. Graham was honored for his civic monuments and public art installations as well as his ongoing contributions to the art community.
   Robert Graham, 70, was born in Mexico City and has ties to Three Rivers. Since 1992, he has been married to Anjelica Huston, an actor who owns a Three Rivers ranch. Graham was last in Three Rivers during the summer.
   Robert Graham attended San Jose State College for two years, where his art instructor was Mark Briggs, who was raised in Three Rivers. Needless to say, Graham must have done very well in art class as his civic monuments, public and private commissions, architectural projects, and award designs are in locations throughout the United States.
   His sculptures are mainly focused on the human form. His work has been the subject of more than 80 solo exhibitions and three retrospective exhibitions in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and Mexico, and is included in many national and international museum collections.
   The Hall of Fame display in his honor includes maquettes of three of his most visible works: His Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C., which was created in 1998 and is located on the western edge of the Tidal Basin near the National Mall; the ceremonial entrance to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum known as the Olympic Gateway, which was commissioned for the 1984 Olympics; and The Great Bronze Doors, which were erected at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles in 2001.
   Three other small bronze sculptures and 12 drawings round out the display. When the award-winning artist is not in Three Rivers, Graham and wife Anjelica Huston reside in Venice in a home that he designed.
   On behalf of the community of Three Rivers, we wish him a speedy recovery.

Quincy Jones
(b. 1933)

   To describe Quincy Jones as a consummate impresario reveals only the best-known part of a multi-faceted musical and entertainment career that has spanned six decades. “Q,” as he is called by a multitude of friends and fans around the globe, is a composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, television station owner, magazine founder, bestselling author, multi-media entrepreneur, and humanitarian.
   Quincy was born in Chicago but raised in the Seattle area where his father found work as a carpenter in the naval shipyards of Bremerton. At the tender age of 11, Quincy found an escape from a troubled adolescence by plinking the keys of a piano he found in an unlocked recreation center.

  “That’s where I began to find peace,” Quincy wrote in his 2001 autobiography. “I knew this was it for me. I finally found something I could trust and began to learn how to hope and cope.”
   As an aspiring musician, he watched intently when the jazz greats played Seattle.

  “Music made me feel full, strong, popular, self-reliant, and cool,” Quincy wrote. “Jazz gave Black men and women dignity.”
   When Quincy was playing music, he felt a sense of dignity and pride; a reason to celebrate every day and life itself. It was a world that offered freedom.
   By age 25, Quincy was fronting his own band and jamming with all the jazz greats from his mentor on trumpet, Clark Terry, to Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, and his good friend, Ray Charles. He marveled at Ray’s independence.
   Quincy met “RC” when he was 14 and Ray was 16. It was Ray who inspired Quincy to live on his own and make music his livelihood.
   The career of Quincy Jones is full of superlatives. He is the all-time most nominated Grammy artist with 79 nominations (27 awards). He has written the scores for 33 major motion pictures and themes for several popular television shows.
   As a recording artist, Quincy has a number of award-winning albums and he also produced Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the bestselling album ever. In 1984, he produced We Are the World, the top-selling single of all time of which the proceeds were donated to fight famine in Ethiopia.
   That collaboration was just one of many humanitarian causes to which Quincy devotes his talents. Through his Project Q Foundation, he is working to improve the health of millions of children in developing countries.
   Recently, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Quincy as a Jazz Master, the nation’s highest jazz honor. Quincy has been an integral part of the West Coast entertainment industry for more than a half-century, and his life epitomizes the pioneering spirit of his adopted home, California.

Jack LaLanne
(b. 1914)

   Jack LaLanne is known as the “Godfather of Fitness,” and we can all only hope to be as fit as he is at age 94. He and his wife, Elaine, 83, are living proof that exercise and good nutrition truly do have their benefits.
   But Jack LaLanne had to learn the hard way. Born in San Francisco to French immigrant parents, he spent most of his childhood years eating a diet of sugar and junk food.
   At age 15, after hearing a series of lectures on health and nutrition, he made the choice to change his diet and exercise habits. He began weightlifting and studying human anatomy while pursuing pre-med in college, then attending chiropractic college.
   At the age of 21, he opened the nation’s first modern health studio in Oakland. He designed prototypes of much of the exercise equipment in use today, and by the 1980s, there were more than 200 health clubs bearing his name.
   In his Hall of Fame display is a 1950s-era TV on which his television show is continuously broadcast. It is the longest-running exercise program ever on television, spanning 34 years, from 1951 to 1985.
   There are also magazine covers, exercise equipment such as “The Glamour Stretcher” and handstand workout gear, LaLanne brand vitamin and mineral formulas, books, cookbooks, and his Hollywood Walk of Fame star (that he received in 2002), exercise album (not video, not DVD, but instructional record), his red jumpsuit and aerobic slippers, the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer (his most recent business venture), and the handcuffs that he wore in 1955, when at the age of 41, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
   When he was 60, he repeated this feat, this time also shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat. At age 70, once again handcuffed and shackled, he battled strong winds and currents during a 1.5-mile swim, towing 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.
   LaLanne is a founding member of the President’s Council for Physical Fitness and received its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He currently serves on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Council on Physical Fitness.
   He continues to exercise at least two hours daily. His diet philosophy remains “If man made it, don’t eat it.”
   NEXT WEEK: Dorothea Lange, Julia Morgan, Jack Nicholson, Linus Pauling, Leland Stanford, and Alice Waters.

Motorist injured in

Horse Creek accident

   Details are sketchy as to what caused a 2007 Toyota Corolla to leave the Highway 198 pavement last Sunday evening, Dec. 21, at 8:40 p.m. The rain-slick roadway apparently was a factor but the exact cause of the single-vehicle accident is still under investigation.
   From information gathered at the scene, the CHP investigating officer reported that the driver, Sheila Turner, 22, of Visalia was headed eastbound just west of the Horse Creek Bridge and, for an unknown reason, lost control of the vehicle.
   The car then left the roadway and struck a tree, coming to a stop upon impact. The driver suffered head trauma and a laceration to the skull. She was stabilized at the scene and transported via Exeter ambulance to Kaweah Delta Hospital.
   A passenger in the car, Lisa Turner, did not appear to have major injuries. An update on the condition of the driver was not immediately available.

Winter weather

to ring in New Year

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

   Meteorologists are forecasting wintry weather to continue for much of the nation on the heels of a Christmas Day storm causing many travelers to forego their final destination or at best arrive a day or two late. That’s because airports around the country were snarled by heavy snowfall in some areas not use to coping with a winter wonderland.
   Alaska Airlines canceled 450 flights out of Portland and Seattle and those closures had a rippling effect on travel plans all across the West. Many urbanites from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine, spent part of Christmas week literally skiing in the streets.
   Closer to home, three to four feet of new snow had lots of holiday revelers flocking to Giant Forest and Yosemite for snow play and local skiing. Overnight lows dipped into single digits in the local mountains so all that snow is setting up nicely and here to stay.
   Three Rivers and its precipitation total continue to track slightly below last season but recent storms are helping local rain gauges play catch-up. After the round of storms on Wednesday and Thursday, Three Rivers has recorded more than six inches for the current season.
   There is still a long way to go to stay on par with the 2005-2006 season when Three Rivers recorded a whopping 28.26 inches. But after the recent storms, there are some encouraging signs going into January, traditionally the wettest month.
   When are the coldest temperatures likely to occur? The lowest readings occur just before sunrise due to lack of any solar heating overnight.
   That’s why on these cold winter mornings it’s tempting to stay snug in bed… but don’t linger to long. Go outside and enjoy some of the best winter weather anywhere in the Lower 48 and ring in 2009 with some vigorous snowplay. Happy New Year!

Painting the town red

   Wearing red headpieces from a cowboy hat to Santa hat and every size and type in between, the local chapter of the international Red Hat Society gathered at the Gateway Restaurant for lunch on Friday, Dec. 12. The group has one stringent rule: Have fun! Up next for Red Hatters from around the world: They will be having fun in the famous New Year’s Day Parade in London.


Chamber’s year in review:

Accomplishments 2008

   The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce is pleased to share its 2008 accomplishments with its member businesses, area visitors, partners, and the residents of Kaweah Country. This year, the Chamber enjoyed immense success, expanding its projects and programs to improve the long-term economic health and quality of life in this wonderful region.
   Accomplishments include:
—Attended the Bay Area and Long Beach Travel Shows; contacted over 20,000 vacation planners and travel agents promoting tourism to Three Rivers, Tulare County and the parks.
—Attended the Sequoia Adventures Expo to promote tourism opportunities for local residents.
—Produced and distributed a new Three Rivers brochure and map to promote local businesses and the neighboring national parks through six California Welcome Centers and at the Visalia Chamber of Commerce.
—Sponsored the second annual, nationally-recognized Hero Appreciation Months, which provide local discounts for all current and former firefighters, EMS personnel, law enforcement, peace officers, Armed Services personnel, and military veterans and their families.
—Hosted the first annual Home & Country Living Expo to promote local service businesses.
—Produced the Three Rivers community phone book and local street map.
—Participated in and completed a three- to five-year strategic plan for the organization.
—Participated in a marketing and branding retreat to determine the future look and feel of the Chamber’s promotional efforts.
—Maintained the Chamber website, www.threerivers.com; explored ideas for creating a new site.
—Staffed the Chamber office and visitor center in partnership with the Three Rivers Historical Society, and distributed information about foothills businesses and the local national parks.
—Wrote monthly articles for the Visalia Chamber of Commerce newspaper about Three Rivers events and business news.
—Submitted articles to THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH several times each month about Chamber programs, projects, and activities.
—Hosted mixers and networking opportunities for business owners.
—Issued press releases about Three Rivers events, business news and Chamber activities.
—Created new resident welcome packets containing Chamber member services and information.
—Represented Chamber members at meetings and through partnership efforts with the Sequoia Valley Visitors Council, Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Visalia, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Tulare County Board of Supervisors.
—Assisted Tulare County with creating the Three Rivers portion of their new 360-degree e-map; explore it at:
—Partnered with The Fresno Bee to produce an advertising insert on Three Rivers for distribution to 37,000 homes; submitted ads to Discover Magazine and other publications to highlight Kaweah Country.
—In partnership with the community of Three Rivers, provided home-baked goodies, healthy treats, and pre-authorized Hero Appreciation Months discount cards as a thank you to the 2008 interagency Hidden Fire crew for their firefighting efforts.
—Met with the community of Three Rivers to gather input regarding the town’s entrance sign.
—Represented member businesses and solicited input for the proposed Scenic Highway Plan, the Three Rivers Community Plan and other local efforts; served as a liaison between business owners and County planners.
—Attended and helped sponsor
grand opening events at member businesses.
—Repaired the damaged visitor information board, located next to the Village Market, and updated its information.
   The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce represents more than 120 businesses in Three Rivers, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, and surrounding gateway communities. Board members own and manage their own businesses while volunteering their time to improve the economic health of the region. If interested in volunteering your time on the Chamber board or helping out with specific projects or programs, contact Johanna Kamansky, SFCC president, at 679-9066.


Weekly tip

   America’s food system is in crisis. It is making people sick rather than healing them.
   The U.S. government’s support of cheap, high-calorie foods has burdened our nation’s healthcare system. Preventable chronic diseases linked to diet are becoming evermore prevalent, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
   In the 1940s and ‘50s, we spent 30 to 40 percent of our income on food. We currently spend 8 to 9 percent of our income on food.
   When we eat fast food, we’re eating the values of fast food: Fast food marketers tell us that food should be cheap, that advertising confers value, that standardization is more important than quality, that kitchen work is drudgery.
   We have to understand that food is something very precious. It should be a household spending priority, right up there with designer clothes, cell phones, a new car, flat-screen TVs, or whatever else we decide we’re going to spend our money on.
   It is important to spend more money on food and spend a lot more time on food, both in preparing it and eating it. Think you can’t afford it? You can’t afford not to.
   Basically, it’s pay now or pay later. Buying fresh, healthy food today will cost less overall than what the healthcare system will charge out back.

   These stories and so much more in the weekly print edition of The Kaweah Commonwealth.


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
© Copyright 2003-2008 The Kaweah Commonwealth