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In the News - Friday, December 30, 2011



3R man arrested in burglary attempt

  Sheriff’s deputies were still trying to sort out what happened Monday, Dec. 26, when they responded to a Mineral King Road address just before midnight. A 911 caller reported that a stabbing had occurred at the residence four miles up the Mineral King Road.
When a deputy arrived on the scene, a man along the roadway told the deputy that he had been awakened by someone in his house. He reported that a man, had entered his house while he was sleeping.
   When the intruder turned on a light, the victim was awakened and fled the house to await the arrival of deputies. The suspect, for some unknown reason, called 911 for assistance from inside the residence and told the operator that he had been a victim of an assault and burglary.
   The man, still inside the residence when deputies arrived on the scene, reported that his vehicle had been stolen and he was a victim of an assault and burglary. After searching the area, the suspect’s vehicle was located nearby on his property.
   After interviewing both men, it was determined that the suspect in the house was not a victim of a crime but had broken into the residence of the man who first encountered deputies outside the property.
   Arrested and taken into custody was Jameson Haley, 35, of Three Rivers. He was charged with entering and burglary of an occupied dwelling and transported to the Tulare County Main Jail for booking.
   The incident is currently under investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.   Anyone with information in the case is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Department at 733-6218 or remain anonymous by emailing tcso@tipnow.com or by texting (559) 725-4194.

Diego Miralles to return to Three Rivers

News of the Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute

By Bill Haxton

  Already a community favorite, international cello star Diego Miralles will be in Three Rivers on Saturday, Jan. 7, to perform virtuoso works by de Falla, Piazzolla and Shostakovich. The concert begins at 7 p.m. at Community Presbyterian Church.
   Born in Los Angeles to Argentinian parents, Diego began playing cello when he was four, and by the time he was 15 he had soloed at the famous Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena. These days, he is widely known for a fluidly lyrical style that fully expresses the charismatic warmth and passion of his ancestral roots in South America.
   Testament to his consummate musicianship, the list of artists who have sought him out reads like a Who’s Who. He has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Frank Sinatra Jr., Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett, and Stevie Wonder, in addition to an active solo career that has taken him to Europe, South America and, most recently, China.
   Diego’s talents are not limited to music. Actually, he fits the description of Renaissance Man to a tee. He’s also a wonderful artist with a brush or a pencil and spent a portion of his adult career on the design team responsible for the Icon A5, a folding wing, recreational seaplane that won several global design awards in 2009, including the prestigious International Design Excellence Award.
   But music is Diego’s first love and his devotion to the cello is complete. At the January concert, he will be accompanied by Russian piano phenomenon Yana Reznik. Ms. Reznik was born in Moscow and is an alumna of the Rachmaninoff School of Music, one of the finest piano programs in the world. Her nuanced approach to the keyboard makes her an ideal complement for Diego’s cello.
   The program poetically touches on both musicians’ roots. The first half is all Latin, six evocative Spanish folk songs by Manuel de Falla, an earthy, gaucho-inspired piano-cello dialogue by contemporary Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera, and the majestic and playful Le Grand Tango by Astor Piazzolla.
   The second half is all Russian, the Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor by Dmitri Shostakovich. If you are looking for historical relevance in music, this is where you’ll find it.
   Shostakovich wrote it during the height of Stalin’s reign, and at the risk of imprisonment or worse, the defiant composer found the will and the themes to put his ardent protest into music while at the same time creating a number of glorious passages for cello and piano.
   Tickets to next weekend’s concert are available at Chumps Video for $12. Because of sponsorship assistance from Bank of the Sierra, all children and an accompanying adult will be admitted for admitted free.


Listen to the body and its messages

By Charlene Vartanian

  Our bodies have a sense of themselves. If we burn our finger, our arm jerks back. If we fall down, we get up again. If we hurt, we seek relief. These are all ways that our innate sense of self maintains our health.
   The purpose of caring for ourselves is to support and enhance this vital function of maintaining our physical life. When we engage with our physical life — our bodies — we open to the entire spectrum of human experiences.
   Maintaining a relationship with the body is a lifetime journey. The more familiar we become with its needs, wants, and demands, the more successful we will be at fulfilling them.
   Most of us are likely to be comfortable with needs: basic details of life that we all have in common. We all grow up to learn how to fulfill our human needs.
   Our wants are the fun stuff, above and beyond our needs. The unique domain of our  personality and gifts that we use to give and receive with those around us. They add joy and diversity to our lives and others.
   The demands of our body are more difficult to handle, generally related to the process of life and our limitations. Demands often present in terms of pain: “No,” our shoulder might say, “I just can’t lift that anymore.”
   Our knee might say, “I have had enough!”
   Our digestive system may revolt with “I’m not comfortable with that.” Or our emotions may set us on fire.
   Anything that threatens our sense of wholeness usually sends us on a quest for answers.   Our bodies are the mediator between our internal processes and our external circumstance.    They can help us discern what is true in life, something resonates inside us as a sense of knowing. Or when a truth needs to be reworked and we need to change, and which can not be duplicated or imposed on us from the outside.
   Reducing our pain, calming and centering our body, and then seeking to discover what is real underneath is the journey of life. Engaging with the processes that move through us is the journey of healing. To remember the gift of human life is the joy of healing.
   Charlene Vartanian, R.N., has offered CranioSacral massage and bodywork in Three Rivers for 10 years. Visit www.charlenevartanian.com or call 559-561-4215.

Woman’s Club update:
Fun, games, and more

December 2011
   Christmas cheer filled the room as the clubwomen and their guests arrived at the Three Rivers Memorial Building on Wednesday, Dec. 7, for the last meeting of 2011. Gifts and canned goods were brought by all, which were donated to the Three Rivers Bread Basket, the local food pantry.
   After consuming some Christmas cheer, which included the traditional eggnog and homemade sugar cookies, candies, and nuts, the College of the Sequoias’s renowned Chamber Singers entertained the crowd with classical, traditional and a touch of folk Christmas music.

January 2012
   The next meeting of the Three Rivers Woman’s Club will be Wednesday, Jan. 4, from noon to 3 p.m. A luncheon meeting, the meal will consist of homemade soups and breads provided by the current board members. Desserts will be provided by the January committee.
   This month’s entertainment will be table games, so bring a favorite board game or join in on the games that will be provided. This should be a hoot of a meeting.
   Three Rivers Woman’s Club membership is open to all women of the community. For information about membership and more, call Bev at 561-3601.


Meadows, mosquitoes

and mountain memories

by Sarah Elliott

  This is the final installment in an eight-part series about a backpacking trip embarked upon this past August in Sequoia National Park.

   After literally dodging lightning to get to Columbine Lake, we set up our tents amid blustery conditions. But slowly, the storm started to recede, ending as quickly as it had begun, as Sierra thunderstorms tend to do.
   Situated at 11,000 feet, Columbine Lake was still a wintry landscape, even though the calendar said August. Snowdrifts dotted the treeless landscape and the temperature dropped rapidly as the sun began to set.
   We were camped on the west end of the lake with a view all the way to the San Joaquin Valley, almost two vertical miles below. A short walk took us to a ledge perched above the mostly inaccessible Cyclamen Lake and, just beyond, Spring Lake (elevation 10,060).
   From our five-star campsite, the mighty Black Kaweah (elevation 13,660), located six air miles to the northeast, was perfectly centered in the notch known as Hands and Knees Pass, which is just north of Columbine Lake. North along the ridge beyond Hands and Knees Pass is the dark mountain that contains Black Rock Pass, a main thoroughfare between the Kaweah River’s Middle and East forks regions and Little Five Lakes and the High Sierra Trail. Sawtooth Peak, a giant shark fin of a mountain (elevation 12,343 feet), towers above the south shore of Columbine Lake.
   And directly adjacent to our campsite was a river of snowmelt, tumbling in various directions as gravity insisted that all this water find the most direct route down the mountain.
As the sun was sinking lower and lower toward the Central Valley, the clouds began to break apart. Conditions were setting up nicely to provide us with the unforgettable Sierra phenomenon known as alpenglow. Sierra newcomer Jimmy had been told about this during the past week of our trip, but although some pinkness hit the tips of some surrounding pinnacles, he had yet to experience a true alpenglow, where the mountain peaks are illuminated in a glowing band of color, from pink to orange to bright red.
   Since the sun is below the horizon, there is no direct path for the light to reach the mountains. Instead, light reflects off airborne snow, water, or ice particles low in the atmosphere. It is this circumstance that separates a normal sunrise or sunset from alpenglow.
   We were eating dinner when conditions aligned to create this unrivaled occurrence. We quickly scrambled to our feet, grabbed for cameras and scattered, each seeking the best perspective of the surrounding peaks, all the while not taking our eyes off these mountains because for as fast as an alpenglow arrives, it can disappear even more quickly.
   As the alpenglow fades, so does daylight. We returned to finish our last dinner of the trip while discussing plans for our next venture into the backcountry.
   That’s how it always works. The mosquitoes; the lightning; rain; wind; steep snowfields; sore muscles; chafed hip bones and collar bones; mosquitoes; high, steep passes; vanishing trails; wet, muddy boots; mosquitoes; high creek crossings; broken hiking poles and deflated sleeping pads; long days of hiking; and mosquitoes all become part of the overall experience and, strangely, when viewed in retrospect, do not detract from it.
   It must be because this experience also includes wild, remote, untrammeled places such as fragile meadowlands and fields of wildflowers; glassy lakes that reflect the towering mountain peaks; babbling creeks; tumbling waterfalls; abundant forests; gnarled, ancient trees; the ubiquitous granite landscapes of the alpine zone; a cobalt sky and towering cumulus clouds; campfires; cozy tents; hearty food; in-depth conversation; friendly travelers; starry nights; birds and wildlife; high plateaus and deep gorges; days on end of seeing not another person; and alpenglow.
   The positive attributes of our treks far outweigh the curve balls that nature throws our way.   We deflect these hazards with good planning, supplies, and commonsense.
In this alpine land, we easily forget the outside world and concentrate solely on moving cross-country from one pristine campsite to another.
   After a chilly night, we were up with the sun to make the final ascent to Sawtooth Pass (elevation 11,720 feet), before dropping down to lower Monarch Lake and the final 4.5-mile stretch to the Mineral King valley below.


   There is growing evidence to show that exposure to nature brings substantial mental health benefits, according to “Green Exercise and Green Care,” a 2009 report by the Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex in England. Researchers examined people who took part in two walks, one in a country around woodlands, grasslands, and lakes, and one in an indoor shopping center.
   According to the results, “improvements in self-esteem and mood were significantly greater following the green outdoor walk in comparison to the equivalent indoor walk, especially for feelings of anger, depression, and tension. After the outdoor walk, 92 percent of participants felt less depressed, 86 percent less tense, 81 percent less angry, 80 percent less fatigued, 79 percent less confused, and 56 percent more vigorous.” Meanwhile, “depression increased for 22 percent of people and 33 percent expressed no change in their level of depression following the indoor shopping center walk.”
   Benefits to mood can be attributed to exercise, which generally helps, but also to vitamin N: nature.
   How much nature is enough to make a difference in mental health? One study suggests that the benefits are felt almost immediately. Recent results published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology reveal that mood and self-esteem improved after a five-minute dose.   And Three Rivers residents are fortunate. “Blue-green” exercise has been determined to be even better; a walk in a natural setting adjacent to water offered people the most improvement. People of all ages and social backgrounds benefitted, but the greatest health changes occurred in the young and the mentally ill.
   Meanwhile, the California-based State Education and Environmental Roundtable, a national effort to study environment-based education, reports that schools that use outdoor classrooms, among other techniques, produce student gains in social studies, science, language arts and math; improved standardized test scores and grade-point averages; and enhanced skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making. In addition, evidence suggests that time in natural surroundings stimulates children’s creativity.
   Researchers have found that children with disabilities gain enhanced body image and positive behavior changes through direct interaction with nature. Studies of outdoor education programs geared toward troubled youth — especially those diagnosed with mental-health problems — show a clear therapeutic value. Some of the most intriguing studies are being done by the Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois, where researchers have discovered that children as young as five showed a significant reduction in the symptoms of Attention-Deficit Disorder when they engaged with nature. Could nature therapy be a new option for ADD treatment?
   Take advantage of Three Rivers and neighboring Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Make it a point to play outside as often as possible, and make sure the kids unplug and come with you.


  The wilderness has always been an escape for me. I like leaving the modern world behind and existing with only the bare minimum necessary for health, warmth, and survival. Even when backpacking with our young children, certain items always stayed home, such as music devices and handheld electronic games.
   When our son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 8, we didn’t let that stop us from disappearing into the Sierra for 10 days each summer, but we did start carrying a cellphone.    It was generally agreed upon that someone would be running to the top of a ridgeline in an attempt to find service in the event of an emergency. The phone was never needed in this capacity, but we did dig it out of a pack one time when on Sawtooth Pass to let my parents know we were on schedule to return home. It was a novelty to talk to my dad from the pass, a place he had been so many times before in an era where there was no such means of communication.
   During this most recent trip, some friends loaned us a SPOT device. Originally, I was vehemently against the idea of carrying a GPS locater, but it grew on me as I began to realize its utility. There are several functions provided by SPOT, which is about the size of a small walkie-talkie.
   Before embarking on our trip, email addresses of family and friends were entered so they could receive daily updates on our present location. We tried to remember to deliver two waypoint messages a day to our contacts: at lunch and at the day’s final destination. Upon returning home, those in receipt of these location-based communications mentioned how much they enjoyed tracking our progress. My dad, who is our emergency contact, knew we were okay, but if we weren’t, he would be able to pinpoint our last known location for rescuers. Our son, who wasn’t able to join us this time, was able to live vicariously through the orange teardrops on the map he received twice daily.
   911— In the event of a non-life threatening emergency, this function can be used to notify your personal contacts that assistance is needed.
   Help— This function is to be used in the event of a life-threatening or other critical emergency to notify emergency services of your GPS location and that you need assistance.   The GEOS International Emergency Response Center alerts the appropriate agencies worldwide, such as the 911 responders in the U.S.
   The SPOT needs a clear view of the sky to obtain a GPS signal. We discovered it didn’t work well in dense forests. The device also requires a service plan, which costs about $100 annually.
   SPOT was unobtrusive and did not detract in any way from the wilderness experience.  Most times, I didn’t even know that John had beamed up to the satellites until I asked. And for the enjoyment and peace of mind it provided to our loved ones back in civilization, it is a minimalistic, low-key way for them to accompany us on our journey.
   It is possible that those who don’t feel comfortable in the backcountry would use the 911 or Help functions prematurely, which could cause problems for rescuers. Then again, I think about Aron Ralston (who, in 2003, amputated his own arm when pinned by a boulder in Blue John Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Utah) or Amy Racina (who, also in 2003, was seriously injured when she fell 60 feet in Tehipite Canyon, Kings Canyon National Park, Calif.). Both of these solo hikers could have used the SPOT, where rescue may have instead been within hours rather than days.

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
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