In the News -
Friday, DECEMBER 28, 2007
this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)
REVIEW: PART ONE
back on 2007
THE Commonwealth headlines didn’t include the gripping tribulations
of Britney, Anna Nicole, Paris, Lindsay, Don Imus, and Barry Bonds or
encompass the nationwide pet food recall or foreclosures due to a high-risk
mortgage boom, but there was local news with national implications and
lots of local news with, quite simply, local implications.
Each item that appears in this newspaper becomes a footprint
in time, a permanent record waiting to be rediscovered sometime in the
future. Having the luxury of a newspaper in such a small town means that
the life and times of the people and the region are documented and a more
complete story is written.
A community without a newspaper is like a book with blank
pages. It’s citizens, businesses, events, and milestones are like
dust in the wind — here today, scattered tomorrow.
So here is a composite look at Three Rivers 2007 month by month:
January 5— The High Sierra Jazz Band,
in a dispatch from their incomparable leader, Pieter Meijers, announced
that Sue Mills, the band’s manager for 22 years was stepping aside.
Rusty Crain, longtime Three Rivers resident and High Sierra fan, assumed
Sue’s duties of negotiating playing dates, festival arrangements
and merchandise sales.
GREG LOCKHART, OWNER/broker of Sequoia Pacific Realty, announced
plans for expansion and opened a Three Rivers office in the Pizza Factory
building in Three Rivers.
“In a typical year, there might be 70 or 80 sales in the Three Rivers
market,” Greg said. “In a cycle like 2003 to 2005, the local
market was even stronger, and I’m optimistic that there will be
a return to that type of business.”
AN EVER-GROWING number of hearty revelers took the annual
Polar Bear Dip plunge on New Year’s Day at the Gateway Restaurant.
The McIntyres rewarded all with hot chili and a hot toddy for those who
wanted to continue the party that they started the previous evening.
January 12— Kaweah Country shivered
with some of the coldest extended nighttime temperatures since 1998. The
Arctic blast posed a serious threat to several Valley counties that were
holding their collective breaths as to the potential damage to the billion-dollar
A CONTINGENT OF Woodlake High School students staged a 12-band
benefit concert under the auspices of the YMCA to aid the Arias family.
The Woodlake family had lost everything in a tragic Dec. 18 fire that
started in the attic of their house.
THE FORMER HOLIDAY Inn Express installed their new Comfort
Inn sign. The name-change became official on Nov. 1, 2006. Its 102 rooms
make the Sierra Drive property the largest lodging establishment in Three
THE JANUARY 1 snow survey yielded some paltry findings. Forecasters
were predicting that the entire season would not yield much above 19 percent
of normal throughout the entire Sierra Nevada region.
January 19— There wasn’t much
snow in the local mountains, but Malibu in Southern California received
its first snowfall in 40 years. The bitter cold in the Central Valley
abated somewhat, and though the air quality was some of the best readings
of the season, the snow totals were starting to worry downstream users
of the water in the Kaweah drainage.
THREE RIVERS SCHOOL welcomed three newly elected board members
— Bobbie Harris, Robert Burke, and Scott Sherwood. Harris was re-elected
for a second consecutive term, Burke returned to Three Rivers School after
serving on the Woodlake High School board, and Sherwood, son of Sue Sherwood,
TRUS superintendent and principal, won a seat after finishing third in
a field of four candidates in the November election.
Superintendent Sherwood said that with a declining enrollment,
TRUS faces a reality of less revenue while education costs continue to
soar. According to recent figures released by the state, 54 percent of
all districts are declining while 46 percent are growing.
SIERRA SUBS AND Salads added Take-N-Bake pizza. Owner Laura
Harris said: “It just doesn’t get any better than the smell
of a scrumptious pizza baking in your own oven.”
January 26— Earl Davis, a 60-year
Three Rivers resident died January 20. He was 88, and in addition to his
pioneer roots and being involved in several community organizations, Davis
was a charter member of the Three Rivers Lions Club.
A 61-YEAR-old Woodlake woman was targeted outside of the
Woodlake Pizza Factory by an assailant who snatched her purse. Investigators
received information that she may have been assaulted because she was
wearing a prominent gang color.
AS OF JANUARY 26, the rainfall total of 4.97 inches in Three
Rivers was well below normal as was the snowpack in the nearby mountains.
February 2— A pair of bald eagles
were photographed using a mature eucalyptus tree on Valencia Boulevard
in Woodlake for a winter roost. The majestic birds of prey were observed
for several months plying the islands and shoreline of Bravo Lake.
AS OF JANUARY 1, the former Golden Eagle series of national
park passes was replaced with a new interagency pass valid for admission
to public lands administered by five federal agencies. The per-vehicle
entrance fee to Sequoia-Kings Canyon remained at $20; the best deal for
frequent users was still an annual pass allowing unlimited visits to the
local parks for $30.
ON JANUARY 20, two dozen local volunteers under the direction
of Gary Whitney, participated in a workday at the Three Rivers Cemetery.
Six new markers were installed on unmarked graves, including one for Teddy
T. Gross, a former Kaweah postmaster.
THREE RIVERS SCHOOL students began monthly coverage of school
news in the Commonwealth. Among the journalists who submitted articles
for the first edition were Analisa Skeen, Kathryn Keeley, and Shannon
February 9— The weather, or lack thereof,
was still making news. The low precipitation totals were already being
touted as the driest since the 1990-1991 season.
way too early to preach doom and gloom, but we have yet to experience
a really good snowmaker in 2007 for the southern Sierra,” said a
National Weather Service forecaster from Hanford.
MORE THAN 100 locals turned out for the monthly Town Hall
meeting, sponsored by the Three Rivers Village Foundation. During the
proceedings, Supervisor Ishida presented checks of $500 to the Redbud
Garden Club and the Sequoia Natural History Association.
The money was made available, Ishida said, from the supervisors’
Good Works Fund. Another grant opportunity, he said, was the Sierra Nevada
Conservancy, a group created by the State of California to aid foothill
and mountain communities.
TOM SPARKS ANNOUNCED that county planners are working on
a corridor protection plan, the last step in the approval process for
the designation of Highway 198 in the Kaweah canyon as a scenic highway.
Sparks said he was hopeful that the plan would be available for public
review in a couple of months.
February 16— Rudy Giuliani made a
preliminary campaign stop on Tuesday during the World Ag Expo in Tulare.
The former mayor of New York City said that the events of 9/11 had helped
him to become better qualified to be President but he also admitted he
had a lot to learn about agriculture.
WATER AND AIR quality issues highlighted the seminars that
were offered to Ag Expo attendees. David Cone, a water quality coalition
official told a packed house that the region’s four major streams
— Kings, Kaweah, Tule, Kern — are not as polluted as the public
would think and overall the drainages are in good shape.
SEYED SADREDIN, THE executive director of the San Joaquin
Valley Air Pollution Control District, said agriculture is doing a good
job reducing emissions but will have to do more to meet more stringent
standards that take effect in 2012. The major polluters of Valley air
are mobile, like truck traffic that generates 80 percent of the Valley’s
pollution, he said.
MORE THAN 100,000 visitors from 70 countries attended World
Ag Expo. The largest trade show of its type generated huge tourist dollars
for the county and brought out “No Vacancy” signs in Three
Rivers for the first time since the 2006 holiday season.
February 23— Three Rivers businesses
were doing their annual wintertime reorganization ritual. The Totem Market
and Deli had a new owner as well as the Village Center, which was purchased
by Jim Brucker who also owns property in Springville.
THE SEQUOIA CIDER Mill restaurant was purchased by Efrain
Ponce of Woodlake. Ponce, a Woodlake developer who owns more than 40 area
properties, said one of his dreams was to own a Three Rivers property.
In the next year or two, Ponce said, he will be giving the
venerable property a complete makeover.
a place where we can showcase my wife’s good cooking and, of course,
her salsa with the fresh taste that’s been in the family for generations,”
Ponce beamed proudly.
WET WEATHER FINALLY made an extended appearance in the local
forecast. The next snow survey scheduled for March 1 was expected to show
some improvement in the snowpack as a series of Pacific storms came calling
in Kaweah Country.
TWO THREE RIVERS students — Meaghan Swinney and Jennifer
LaMar — entered the Miss Tulare County pageant, vying for $12,000
in scholarships and the right to advance and compete for the Miss California
title in June 2007.
March 2— Meaghan Swinney became the
second Three Rivers contestant to be crowned Miss Tulare County in the
past three years. The crowning moment came on February 24 when Meaghan
won out over 11 other competitors in the annual Visalia pageant.
THE OTHER THREE Rivers teen, Janessa Wells, who won the coveted
title in 2004, encouraged Meaghan to give it a try because she was convinced
that the 17-year-old beauty had what it takes to win.
I was in San Francisco for a dance recital, I visited Janessa and it was
then that I started thinking I might give it a try,” said Meaghan.
The newest Miss Tulare County said being home-schooled definitely
was a factor as it gave her the time to work on something else, and that
endeavor evolved into a dance routine displaying an awesome talent. Next,
the precocious Three Rivers student will compete in June at Fresno against
50 other women all vying to become Miss California.
SNOW TOTALS IN the Kaweah drainage showed some improvement
due to a storm that dumped four feet of snow in elevations above 8,000
feet. With each passing day, forecasters said, the odds against a normal
precipitation season are getting slimmer.
ROTARIANS DONATED DICTIONARIES to every third grader in Three
Rivers and Woodlake. For at least some local students the computer spell
checker was no longer the only option.
March 9— Jennifer LaMar, who finished
third runner-up in the Miss Tulare County pageant, was crowned Miss Stanislaus
County ensuring that two Three Rivers-raised students would be competing
for the title of Miss California.
I first found out that the Miss Stanislaus County pageant was one week
later [than Tulare County] I wasn’t even sure if I could enter both,”
said Jennifer, a junior at Cal State Stanislaus in Turlock studying to
be an art teacher.
But pageant officials gave the 21-year-old the okay, and
Jennifer did the rest. In this go-round, Jennifer wowed the audiences
with her poise and an awesome monologue during which she painted and,
in a few moments, managed to create some very impressive artwork.
A THREE RIVERS burglary ring was officially busted when Stan
McDowall, 67, of Three Rivers was convicted February 27 of nine felony
counts. McDowall was convicted on testimony of a former roommate and the
evidence from a camera at a Visalia home improvement store that filmed
the longtime local resident using a stolen credit card.
SPRING-LIKE CONDITIONS produced some very artistic contrails
— artificial cloud-like vapor trails from aircraft that tip weather
watchers to atmospheric conditions. On days when contrails disappear quickly,
dry weather is a certainty; in moist air, the eerie trails may persist
for many hours and travel great distances.
March 16— For the sixth consecutive
week, gas prices were on the rise. A gallon of regular unleaded gas cost
319.9 in Three Rivers while the national average was appreciably lower
EMERGENCY PERSONNEL RESPONDED to a tragic accident when an
elderly South Fork man became disoriented and fell 50 feet from a steep
cliff into the river behind his residence. A swift-water rescue team was
able to rescue the victim who was blind and then transported the victim
via helicopter to a medical center in Fresno.
FIREFIGHTERS RESPONDED TO a Hammond Drive residence to extinguish
a fire that consumed a storage shed. Apparently, the fire started when
oil-soaked rags spontaneously combusted.
PHIL DEFFENBAUGH, LAKE Kaweah general manager, told a Three
Rivers Town Hall audience that there were some delays on the start of
the new boat ramp and facilities that were being planned as an expansion
of the Slick Rock Recreation Area. Deffenbaugh remained hopeful that the
project would go to construction sometime in 2007.
March 23— After several years of planning,
the new Sequoia shuttle announced plans to begin operating during the
busy Memorial Day weekend. A historic agreement created a three-year partnership
between the City of Visalia and Sequoia National Park.
job is to deal with the Giant Forest portion of the shuttle while Visalia
will operate and own the equipment,” said Fred Picavet, Sequoia’s
contracting officer. “We [SNP] needed to do something to make this
park more enjoyable for millions of visitors and we think the shuttle
will help us do that.”
In effect, the shuttle will be operated as two different
routes. There will be a “Gateway Route” that runs from Visalia
to Ash Mountain via Three Rivers; and an internal route that connects
the foothills with all the area attractions in and around Giant Forest.
SUPERVISOR ALLEN ISHIDA reiterated the offer of grant money
from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a group on which he serves as a board
member. Ishida told a Three Rivers gathering at a conservancy workshop
that projects like weed abatement and the promotion of tourist amenities
have the best chance to be approved.
LAKE KAWEAH BEGAN its gradual climb in elevation as it stored
runoff from the Kaweah drainage. As of March 22, there was a storage of
44,419 acre-feet that was a byproduct of a mean inflow of 1,020 cubic
feet per second from the various tributaries that empty into the lake.
March 30— The snowpack remained far
below average at 46 percent of normal. The April 1 statistics were expected
to contain even more bad news because there wasn’t much water content
in the snow.
The season total for rainfall in Three Rivers measured barely
10 inches and was less than half of the total for the same date in 2005.
In 1996-1997, it didn’t rain a drop after March 30 until well after
the traditional end of the precipitation/water-forecasting season on July
COLLEEN BATHE ARRIVED at Sequoia National Park to assume
her new duties as Chief of Interpretation for Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks. Prior to her coming to Ash Mountain, the California native
spent the last three years at Bryce Canyon where she served in a similar
The annual Year in Review retrospective will continue
next week. Happy New Year!
The "Neighbor Profile" is a weekly interview with
an area resident who answers a series of stock questions. The complete
Neighbor Profiles are not online; they appear only in the print editions.
the Neighbor Profile subjects and excerpt quotes for 2007, appearing in
date order from January to December:
Sarah Graber— I love everything about
this town: The Alta elephant, Slicky, and Blossom Peak were the backdrop
of my childhood.
Dean Arlin Jackson— Three Rivers is
the place my wife and I were to spend the rest of our lives.
Kay Plunkett— Three Rivers took me
in and has been giving me help ever since through all my bad times.
Anthony Contreras— My heroes are the
men and women fighting to keep our country the best country in the world.
Traci Davis— Together [my husband
and I] decided we were tired of the hustle and bustle of the city and
wanted to move closer to my family in Three Rivers and live a simpler
Nancy Barnes— Three Rivers has always
been a favorite place to visit all my life.
Gail Barlow— We loved Three Rivers
right away, looked for a house right then, and found one. We moved from
Simi Valley 31 years ago.
Kent and Sandy Owen— Our community
is blessed with a first-class education system, K through 12. Woodlake
High is the top school in the Central Valley for percentage of students
continuing their education beyond high school.
Jessica Windrem-Mayo— My husband got
a job at Sequoia National Park before we knew anything about Three Rivers.
We moved here sight unseen and feel so lucky to have discovered this welcoming
community in such a beautiful place.
Martha Ponce— To all my nephews and
nieces who have had their parties at my house in Woodlake: Now we will
have them at our [Sequoia Cider Mill] restaurant in Three Rivers.
Cathy Alonso— Please stop by Sequoia
Pacific Realty’s Three Rivers office and say hello. Health and peace
Donald Hathcock— When I was a boy,
I lived below Terminus Dam on the road to Woodlake, near where the rock
crusher is now.
Susan Fraser— I enjoy being creative,
and my [In the Light Urns] company has offered me an excellent way to
Dan and Kathy Schwan— We love it here
in Lemon Cove. We’ve never lived in the country before or in such
a small town.
Corey Gemme— I have the High Sierra
Jazz Band to thank for bringing me here during the Sierra Traditional
Jazz Club performances, Jazzaffair, and for rehearsals.
Jo Ann Stanton— I came here for a
painting weekend, hosted by Gail Kirk, and I loved the area. My husband
and I were looking for a place to retire where he could have his 16-inch
Bette Bardeen— I first came to Three
Rivers in the summer of 1969, when I visited the parks with my six-year-old
son… We returned regularly to backpack in the parks.
Jose Perez— I’ve been a Woodlake
Lion for 31 years and during that time the Rodeo, the parade, and all
the Western Week activities have been the catalyst for something very
special in Woodlake.
Jeanette Barton— I was born in Lead,
S.D., and came to Three Rivers in 1943 where I lived with my sisters and
their families... I first saw my husband-to-be, Jim, in his Army uniform
at a Community Presbyterian Church potluck. We were married there in 1950.
Phyllis Mehrten— My great-grandfather,
“Dutch Bill” Mehrten… built a ranch house in Mehrten
Valley in 1856, where he owned thousands of acres and raised cattle and
Gerimaya Whyte— Three Rivers has an
interesting assortment of artists, eccentrics, nature folk, and characters
with all sorts of stories.
Keith Glentzer— I was born in Woodlake
and graduated from Woodlake High School with the Class of 1966...From
personal experience, I know that Woodlake High School prepares you to
go anywhere or be anything that you want to do.
Stacy Thornburg— I have met many wonderful
people here in Three Rivers… The parents and students at Three Rivers
School, as well as the staff, are one in a million.
Anneka Anderson— My dad always wanted
a log cabin and now we have one!
Judy Smith— My grandfather, known
affectionately as “Bronco” to his family and “Whispering
Bob” Lovering to the other cowboys, bought a section of land up
the South Fork in 1908 where he ran cattle for some 50 years or more.
Fernando and Magdalena Macias— I [Fernando]
met my wife in 2004 when she came to Sequoia from Poland. We fell for
each other instantly and shared our first kiss inside a giant sequoia
in Giant Forest.
Chris Leyva— I was born in Illinois
and raised in Ojai, Calif. When Andy’s job transferred to Tulare,
we decided to live in Three Rivers because it is similar to Ojai.
Paul Bischoff— I feel like one of
the luckiest people in the world to have a job where I can share the Big
Trees with people from around the world. Some people would call this work…
I call it inspirational!
Aleigh Sullivan— Our family moved
here when I was eight years old, and Three Rivers will forever be my hometown,
no matter where else I travel in the world.
Shandie Fox— My family moved here
when I was in second grade and I have loved it ever since… You know
everyone here and everybody says hello!
Angela Beristain— I have been associated
with real estate and the mortgage business my entire life… Then
I met the Century 21 Three Rivers bunch. Fate intervened…
John Sturdevant— One thing that you
can do is install a [One Earth Solar] energy system. Plug into the sun
and watch your meter spin backwards!
Kris Axtell— I have an awesome group
of sixth graders and a great staff to work with… We are enjoying
getting to explore Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Three Rivers,
and California in general.
Regi Phillips— Come visit us at the
Richfield Station in Lemon Cove. We want to promote go-karts so kids have
something fun and productive to do…
Stacey Burleson— After crazy careers,
commutes, and health issues, Lee and I made the move here. It’s
now been just a little more than two years, but I can’t imagine
being anywhere else.
Cal Johnson— I met Jill and we were
married in 1959. We decided to leave the L.A. area and move to Three Rivers
in 1965. We have never regretted the move. This has been a great place
to raise our family.
Jennifer Carpenter— After Chris returned
home from a 14-month tour in Iraq, we separated from the Army in 2005.
In the summer of 2006, an opportunity at Sequoia National Park opened
up [for Chris] and we moved here sight unseen.
Elizabeth Bauer— My family came here
because my dad got a job in Sequoia when I was 9. I came back after college
to work in the park also. I guess the cone doesn’t fall far from
the sequoia tree!
Darla Mendenhall— I came here with
Tyler, having never spent much time outside the city. I thought it would
be fun, and it’s been a real adventure so far.
Damon Loomis— My great-grandfather
by marriage, George Whitten, was the original owner of the Gateway Restaurant
and Lodge… I have trained karate for 17 years…
Tani Meadows— …I saw an ad for
Sequoia’s concessionaire in Backpacker magazine that said, “Work
among the Big Trees.” I thought that sounded like fun, so that’s
how I came to this area.
Judy Tow— I have been impressed with
the cohesiveness and kindness of this little community. It seems like
a really friendly and free kind of place.
Jill Johnson— After our three sons
were born, we made the best decision in our married life by moving to
Joanne Fansett— For years, the other
Fansett family begged me to move closer, but really I had to move to Three
Rivers because Jim is the only person tall enough to change my burned-out
Eulavon Mallouf— [I was told] about
a wonderful, cozy art boutique at the Three Rivers Arts Center, known
as “The Perfect Gift Boutique…” This will be my first
year, and I am very excited to be invited to be a part of this event.
Esther Zurcher— I’ve been traveling
to Mineral King since childhood… [Keith and I] are enjoying watching
Claire grow up here and have met many wonderful people — friends
for a lifetime!
Catherine Doe— We grew out of our
house in the Bay Area, so my dad and stepmom encouraged us to move to
Lemon Cove to live in their big, old house in the middle of a lemon, orange,
and tangerine grove.
Aurelia Mendoza— I would like to thank
everybody in Three Rivers for their support [of Serrano’s Mexican
Restaurant] and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and the happiest of New
Leah Spencer— Three years ago, I left
the South, heading for California to open my healing business. Soon after
arriving, I found Three Rivers and knew I’d found home.
rings in new laws
Be prepared for some changes in your driving habits next
year. Several new rules of the road passed by the state Legislature and
signed by the governor go into effect in the New Year, and the California
Highway Patrol wants motorists to be aware of the new regulations.
Effective January 1...
with Minor Passengers (Senate Bill 7, Oropeza): This law prohibits anyone
in a vehicle from smoking when a minor is present. The law applies whether
the vehicle is parked or moving. However, this law applies as a secondary
violation. An officer cannot stop a driver to determine whether this law
is in violation, but if the driver is detained for a primary violation,
the secondary violation will also be cited.
License Plates (Assembly Bill 801, Walters): This law prohibits the use
or sale of spraycoating products that impair the reading of a license
plate by electronic devices.
Registration (AB 1589, Duvall): This law allows a law enforcement officer
to have a vehicle towed that is displaying false registration, false license
plates, or fraudulent registration.
Personal Assistive Mobility Devices (AB 470, DeSaulnier): Expands on current
law, making it illegal to operate a mobility device, such as a Segway,
in a reckless manner or at a speed that endangers others. Operators of
such devices must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and the disabled.
Illumination (AB 478, Wolk): This law requires bicyclists to use lights
and reflectors while riding on a highway, sidewalk, or bike path during
Wireless Telephones (SB 1613, Simitian): Makes it illegal
to use a wireless telephone while driving, unless the phone is designed
and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking. The law provides
an exemption for emergency purposes.
Wireless Telephones, Under 18 (SB 33, Simitian): Makes it
illegal for a minor to use a wireless telephone, even if it is hands-free,
or any other electronic communications device while operating a vehicle.
The law provides for an exemption for emergency purposes.
and what’s not
Monday, January 1, is New Year’s Day and a legal holiday.
Here’s a rundown on what will be open and closed in Kaweah Country:
Businesses— Some closed; others will
have limited hours; call first. On Monday, Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve),
most businesses will be open normal hours.
Schools— Three Rivers School resumes
Monday, Jan. 7. Woodlake High School resumes Tuesday, Jan. 8.
Government— Most federal, state, and
county offices will be closed Monday, Dec. 31, and Tuesday, Jan. 1. Emergency
services will be staffed. Park visitor centers will be open. National
Park Service business offices will be closed Monday.
Post offices— Closed Tuesday, Jan.
Library— Closed Tuesday, Jan. 1.
Banks— Closed Tuesday, Jan. 1.
The Kaweah Commonwealth— Closed Tuesday,
Three Rivers Drug— Close Tuesday,
Trash collection— Three Rivers Disposal
customers whose collection day is Tuesday, Jan. 1, will instead receive
service Wednesday, Jan. 2. As a result, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
collection days will also be one day later.
address 3R Lions Club
It’s difficult to keep a secret or even surprise too
many folks in a small town like Three Rivers where news and even rumors
of news travel at warp speed. So when the local Lions Club president Glenn
McIntyre came up with a surprise guest for the club’s first social
hour and dinner meeting of 2008 next Thursday evening, Jan. 3, he didn’t
worry about who during the busy holidays might learn the identity of his
What he didn’t figure was the young Marine he had invited
had one very proud mom who found her son’s story compelling, especially
in light of the fact that in three short months, his youthful life did
an about face.
sounds almost too good to be true, but Aaron was headed from one party
to another until he made the decision to join the Marines,” explained
Patty Payne of Three Rivers, the Marine’s mom. “Now, at age
19, it’s like he has set his life on the straight and narrow and
is suddenly motivated to succeed.”
If you ask Aaron Payne, who graduated from Woodlake High
School in 2006, he would admit that what he liked most about those years
was playing football. His grades were above a 3.0 grade-point average,
but like so many other guys in school, there were no academic highlights
or any subjects that sparked a passion.
After graduation, he enrolled at Fresno State in classes
that would lead to a career in criminology or law enforcement.
never really liked the city or Fresno State and seemed headed down the
wrong road,” his mom said. “Then he made the decision last
summer to join the Marine Corps and suddenly he became positive about
The Paynes, especially Aaron’s dad Mike and mom Patty,
think it’s much more than a coincidence that the day he entered
into the military was September 11. Then just three months later, he completed
his basic training on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day, another date that
will live forever in infamy.
So if recent events are an indicator, everything seems to
be falling in place for a distinguished tour of duty in the military for
this Three Rivers kid turned Marine. After completing basic training,
where he earned a promotion as a squad leader, he is currently assigned
to the Visalia recruiter’s office until he reports back to Camp
Pendleton for more training on January 15.
After that combat training is completed, Private First Class
Payne will report to Pensacola, Fla., for occupational training in avionics
and electronics. He’s aiming to be an officer one day and his superiors
are starting to believe he has what it takes.
The youthful Payne says it was peer pressure of the Marine
kind that helped him realize his new identity.
guess you could say in the Marines you are brainwashed from day one to
learn that the consequences of your actions could be severe,” said
Aaron. “You either do your duty or end up in the brig.”
Come hear the story of how one young man found discipline
and his way through the challenging twists and turns of being a teenager.
Members and guests are always welcome at Lions Club meetings.
If you are not a Lion and want to make arrangements to attend
this month’s meeting, contact Glenn McIntyre, Lions president, 561-4133.
More than 900 toys
Christmas in the Woodlake community means giving, and the
recent 2007 holiday was one of the biggest efforts ever to ensure that
every child in the elementary school district received at least one specially-wrapped
gift. More than 900 toys were purchased, wrapped, and delivered to needy
families on Christmas Day.
year, we issued a challenge to each of the five schools in Woodlake to
raise money for our toy drive,” said Greg Gonzalez Jr. of the Woodlake
Family Resource Center. “The response was unbelievable as each school
raised a minimum of $500.”
The Resource Center works year-round to help families in
need in the Woodlake area receive health and social services and to get
adjusted to a new life that presents formidable employment obstacles and
finding suitable housing. The center routinely contacts needy families
with children so they are familiar with those who would benefit most by
the annual toy drive.
Gonzalez said that service groups, local businesses, and
some outlying companies all donated to ensure the success of the 2007
toy drive. A host of volunteers worked through Christmas morning to sort,
wrap, and deliver the gifts that went to some very wide-eyed and excited
The Woodlake Family Resource Center is a nonprofit social
services agency located at 168 N. Valencia Boulevard in Woodlake. The
center receives donations of used clothing, toys, children’s books,
and small household items in its mission to assist families year-round.
The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce board of directors
wishes to express their deepest gratitude and heartfelt wishes for a happy
“retirement” to Tom Marshall of The Office Staff and Country
Bear Originals. As of January 2008, Tom Marshall's dedication to, and
unpaid service on, the all-volunteer Chamber board, including its predecessor
business association, will have spanned the course of 15 years.
In April 1993, Tom began his service to area businesses by
helping re-energize the Three Rivers/Lemon Cove Business Association.
One year later, Tom took over the Three Rivers phone book and has been
in charge of putting the local directory together every two years since
Tom started the organization’s quarterly newsletter
and meetings. He created a website for TRLCBA and has maintained it ever
He was president of TRLCBA for four years. In no time at
all, Tom helped that small business organization grow and evolve, from
the original five members to the present-day 100-member Chamber of Commerce,
currently representing about half of all businesses in our area.
Tom has been the primary photographer for the Chamber. He
prodded both TRLCBA and the current Chamber until they got involved with
the local Redbud Festival and the Tulare County Fair.
Three months after the creation of the current Chamber of
Commerce, Tom helped set up its office in the Three Rivers Historical
Society’s museum. Then he began the task of supervising the all-volunteer
Tom helped make sure Three Rivers had an entrance sign and
has been involved in the ongoing project of retiring the current sign
and replacing it with a new one. He led the effort to have the Chamber
co-host the December 2007 Community Caroling event, in conjunction with
the Three Rivers Historical Society.
As the Chamber reassigns his duties and adjusts to handling
things without him, Tom has graciously agreed to continue maintaining
the website until such time as the Chamber may no longer require that
Tom, have we missed anything? Probably.
Most importantly, we have your telephone number and your
various email addresses!
Very gratefully yours,
Chamber of Commerce
Kenneth W. Hart died Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007. He was 59.
Ken was born Aug. 30, 1948, in Los Angeles to Bill and Elaine Hart. He
moved with his parents to Three Rivers in 1951.
Ken graduated from Three Rivers School, Woodlake High School,
College of the Sequoias, and Fresno State University. He worked for the
County of Fresno for 31 years, recently retiring as a clinical supervisor
of the Apollo Program.
Ken is survived by his wife, Michelle; parents Bill and Elaine
Hart of Three Rivers; brother Gary and wife Heidi of Nome, Alaska; and
brother Bruce and wife Joan and their three children of Paradise.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Remembrances
may be made to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org.
Florence Pogue Montgomery Coughran died Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007,
in Falls Church, Va. She was 102.
Florence was born May 29, 1905, in the Pogue home (now the
Lemon Cove Woman’s Clubhouse) in Lemon Cove, to Nora (Pogue) and
R.B. Montgomery. At the age of one month, she made her first visit to
Mineral King, a two-day trip by horse and wagon.
Florence attended elementary school in Lemon Cove and graduated from Exeter
High School in 1922. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1927 with a degree
in Economics, which included a one-year hiatus where she had to return
home and work because of a citrus freeze.
After her graduation, Florence returned to Exeter and worked
at a bank. It was there that she met Tom Coughran, and the couple married
In 1932, at the age of 26, Tom became the youngest manager
in the bank’s history. Florence’s dreams to see the world
were realized as Tom’s work took them to many places around the
Until her marriage, Florence spent all summer, every summer,
in Mineral King. For nearly every summer after her marriage, she continued
to visit Mineral King, just not for the entire summer.
blindness and hip problems overcame her, she was quite the fisherman,
always coming home with the limit, which my dad or I then cleaned and
cooked for dinner,” recalled Florence’s daughter, Jane.
For many years, Florence and Tom considered New York City
to be home. In 1978, the couple retired to Virginia.
In 1993, Florence was preceded in death by her husband of
63 years, Tom. She is survived by her daughter, Jane Coughran, of Alexandria,