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Three Rivers,
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Kaweah Kam

In the News - Friday, FEBRUARY 18, 2005

Meetings with Supervisor and

BLM planned in Three Rivers

   In the next two weeks, Three Rivers residents will have the opportunity to meet with several public officials to discuss key issues related to the Memorial Building, a new visitor center, and the recreation user fee program for public lands on the North Fork. Both meetings are scheduled for the McDowall Auditorium at Three Rivers School and will be held on Monday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, March 1, at 7 p.m., respectively.
   On Monday, the Three Rivers Town Meeting returns as Allen Ishida, newly elected District 1 supervisor, will conduct his first local community meeting.

  “The agenda will be very informal, but I have several local issues that we are working on at the county level that I think the folks in Three Rivers will want to hear about,” Ishida said. “I am also looking forward to listening to what members of the audience might have to say and see if I can answer any questions.”
   The Kaweah Commonwealth will use the occasion to present its annual Newsmaker of the Year award to Congressman Devin Nunes (R-21st District). This year, for the first time, a “Golden Pen” award will be presented to Jim McClintick, a Cherokee Oaks resident, who has contributed outstanding written material to the Commonwealth during 2004 and over the past decade.
   The Commonwealth’s Newsmaker of the Year award was first presented at a Town Meeting in January 2003 to Glenn McIntyre, owner of the Gateway Restaurant, for his efforts in 2002 to create a local volunteer patrol program. Last year, Petit Pinson received the award for her achievements as a global athlete and ambassador of Three Rivers.
   This year’s recipient is Rep. Devin Nunes, local congressman for Three Rivers and the 21st District for his outstanding leadership on Capitol Hill. Nunes is being recognized primarily for his unprecedented legislation that preserves and protects the historic resources and community of Mineral King.
   Congressman Nunes, in only his second term, has enjoyed a dramatic rise in Washington, D.C., and has already been instrumental in passing several key bills that directly benefit his constituents. In addition to serving on 10 caucuses and action groups, Congressman Nunes serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks and was recently appointed as Assistant Majority Whip, a testimony to his esteemed status among his Republican party peers.
   Congressman Nunes will not be able to attend Monday’s meeting as his duties for the Resources Committee have him on a South American fact-finding trip next week. Accepting on his behalf will be Justin Stoner, communications director for the congressman’s Visalia office.
   Stoner said that Congressman Nunes has directed staff to also look into why Three Rivers has failed to secure the federal funds that were promised to help create a local visitor center. As a part of his visit to Three Rivers on Monday night, Stoner said he would update the progress of that project relative to securing those federal funds.
   On Tuesday, March 1, the Bureau of Land Management will host a public meeting at the McDowall Auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m. This meeting is intended to summarize the first season (2004) of the user-fee program that was instituted for BLM’s North Fork recreation sites.
   Michael Ayers, BLM recreation planner, who said he would welcome any input from local residents, will conduct that meeting. For more information, call the BLM’s Bakersfield regional office, (661) 391-6120.

Measure B will provide

high school funding

   On Tuesday, March 8, local voters in Woodlake, Three Rivers, and Seville will be asked to approve a ballot measure that would furnish supplementary funding for repainting of the Woodlake High School campus and make some repairs to the baseball and softball fields. The funds would also be used to add maintenance personnel specifically to maintain facilities that were built as a result of Measure J, which was approved by voters in 1998. Those funds helped to build a new gymnasium and swimming pool.
   In the past five years, the Woodlake Union High School District has quietly transformed the area immediately adjacent to the main campus into a mini-events and athletic village. In addition to the ball fields and a state-of-the-art swimming pool, two gymnasiums that also serve as multipurpose event centers have made Woodlake’s facilities among the very best in the San Joaquin Valley.
   The original bond issue passed in 1998 raised $3.6 million, but that was only a part of an incredible story. The district, under the leadership of Dr. Steve Tietjen, superintendent, and a progressive board of trustees, was able to leverage another $2.6 million to get more for the taxpayers’ construction dollars.

  “We were able to get these additional funds from state modernization and joint use funding,” Tietjen said. “We were very agreeable to making these facilities available for community use because these programs opened up more funding opportunities.”
   But now, Tietjen said, for the last three years, the state has not delivered the projected funding that was intended to go to the district under Proposition 98. An annual parcel tax of $50 would assure taxpayers that their investment in Woodlake’s facilities could be maintained.
   Measure B requires the approval of a two-thirds majority and, if passed, will be implemented beginning July 1, 2005. The tax would expire after seven years unless district voters reauthorize it.
The last day to register to vote in the March 8 special election is Tuesday, Feb. 22. The Tulare County Elections Office must receive completed absentee ballots no later than 8 p.m. on March 8.
   To register to vote or for more information, call the Elections Office, 733-6275.

Blood drive and marrow registration

scheduled for 3R’s Sara Ruehling

   Sara Ruehling of Three Rivers is six years old and, for the past year, has been fighting for her life. In February 2004, she was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and, since that time, has been receiving chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
   Currently, Sara has reached a stage in her disease that she desperately needs a bone-marrow transplant. Sometimes siblings or other relatives are ideal donors and, in fact, her family would give anything if the could provide Sara the necessary bone marrow, but she was adopted from an orphanage in China and needs a donor of Asian descent.
   On Friday, March 11, from 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturday, March 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Central California Blood Center’s North Fresno Donor Center, the community is invited to donate blood and hopefully help Sara find a life-saving bone-marrow match.

  “More than five million volunteer donors are listed with the National Marrow Donor Program that, for decades, has given patients without a sibling-marrow match a second chance at a healthy life,” said Chris Sorensen, the Central Claifornia Blood Center’s Director of Community Relations and Development. “But potential donors from a great many ethnic groups make up only 25 percent of the registry. And only 6.5 percent of those donors are of Asian descent. Many more are needed to give patients such as Sara a hope for renewed health.”
   Both marrow and blood donors are screened prior to donation to determine if they are good candidates. Marrow donors must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in good general health. All ethnic groups are encouraged to register.
   For more information about the criteria for donating blood or marrow, call the Blood Center at 224-2900, ext. 3062, or go online to

THE BULL: A remnant of days gone by

   It’s an architectural oddity that causes double-takes and presents an irresistible photo opportunity for travelers. And even though Three Rivers’s ranching heritage is quietly dwindling, the giant manmade bull at the Kaweah General Store stands as testimony to the very roots of that Three Rivers industry.


  “The Bull” in Three Rivers is also a reminder of America’s love affair with the automobile and how that shaped much of the 20th century’s history from the development of suburbs and interstate freeways to, more recently, air-quality dilemmas.
   In the early days of motoring, traveling in a car conjured up images of romance and adventure. These days-gone-by were also when people ate in diners, rode trains, shopped on Main Street, and relaxed on their front porches.
   Also in this era before interstates, fiberglass or concrete giants would stand tirelessly along the highways and byways of our nation, where business-owners used them to draw attention to their establishment, enticing travelers to eat, shop, fill up with gas, buy tires, and more.
   These days, the pace has increased exponentially. Those traveling by car eat up the miles on the interstate freeways, zooming past towns at 70 miles per hour. The only way to know what services are offered from this vantage point is to look for the 60-foot tall signs of the fast-food chains and gas stations, and then take the strategically-placed off-ramp leading directly to these familiar places.


The Bull is originally from Why, Ariz., a small mining community located in the southwest portion of the state at the junction of state routes 85 and 86. The structure is hollow on the inside and, with a door and window in its middle, was constructed to be a drive-in/take-out restaurant.
   In July 1997, a modern-day cattle drive took place and The Bull rolled into Kaweah Country via truck and trailer. Originally intended as a business venture by Mike Barrios of Three Rivers, its first stop was in Lemon Cove, along Highway 198 about a half-mile east of the road to Woodlake (Highway 216).
   Named “The Bull: Burgers and More,” the eye-catching roadside restaurant served Bull Burgers, tri-tip sandwiches, homemade beans, and more. But The Bull was put out to pasture within a year.
   The Bull remained corralled, yet inactive, at the Lemon Cove location until August 2000, when it was driven to higher pasture. Since that time, The Bull has been a roadside curiosity in the parking lot in front of the Kaweah General Store within view of Highway 198 (also known in Lemon Cove and Three Rivers as Sierra Drive).

   The Bull is big — approximately 21 feet long, 6 feet wide from horn to horn, with a height of 8 feet — but believe it or not, there are those who claim they have the biggest of all. Is this the truth or just a bunch of bull?
   Meet Albert, who’s on display in Audubon, Iowa. He is claimed to be “the world’s largest bull.”
   Albert was built by the Audubon Jaycees in 1963 of concrete on a steel frame. He cost $30,000 to construct and is 30 feet in height, has a horn-span of 15 feet, and weighs 45 tons.
   Then there’s Salem Sue, at 38 feet and six tons, billed as “the world’s largest Holstein cow.” Sue’s home is atop a bluff overlooking New Salem, N.D.
   New Salem is considered the dairy center of North Dakota, and the New Salem High School athletic teams are named the “Holsteins.” Salem Sue was erected in 1974 at a cost of nearly $40,000, which was donated by community members. The project was organized by the New Salem Lions Club, which continues to maintain the structure.

  “The world’s largest talking cow” honors belong to Chatty Bell, a Holstein in Neillsville, Wis. Chatty Bell, at 16 feet high and 20 feet in length, is seven times larger than the average Holstein, and by pushing a button on her base, visitors can learn all about being a dairy cow and what great cheese they can make when from Wisconsin.
   And Old Ben is the real deal. He was/is “the world’s largest steer” and stands stuffed in a Kokomo, Ind., museum. The plaque in front of the display reads: “Old Ben, the bull, was not a bull at all. He was a steer. At birth, he was acclaimed the largest calf in the world and was an object of wonder. Born in Miami County, Ind., in January 1902, he was raised by Mike and John Murphy. His sire was a registered Hereford bull; the mother cow, a long and rangy shorthorn. At 18 months, Ben weighed 1,800 pounds; at four years, 4,000 pounds; and at his death in February 1910 at eight years old, 4,720 pounds. Height at forequarter: 6 foot, 4 inches; girth, 13 feet, 8 inches; and 16 feet, 2 inches long from tip of the tail to the end of his nose.”

Lawsuits filed over

Sequoia monument logging

   Even though Smokey Bear celebrated his 60th birthday last year, the controversy over wildfire and how best to prevent it is nowhere near settled. In fact, the issue on Forest Service lands is heating up.
   Environmentalists filed suit against the federal government this month over plans to log Giant Sequoia National Monument, plans they say would violate the presidential proclamation creating the preserve that is home to several groves of the world’s largest trees.
   The Sierra Club, the Tule River Conservancy, and three other environmental groups called the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to include widespread logging in its plan for managing the 327,769-acre monument — parts of which are located between Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks — a “scientifically suspect strategy” meant to satisfy timber interests under the guise of wildfire prevention.
   The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco seeks to block the plan and have it vacated. The groups had previously asked the regional forester to overturn it, but were refused.
   Forest Service spokesman Matt Mathes said that the federal agency’s plan to allow “thinning” of some trees in the monument was motivated by fire-prevention goals and does not permit commercial logging, which would be illegal there.
   Only trees with diameters of up to 30 inches can be cut under the rules. Giant sequoias commonly grow to 30 feet in diameter.
Timber companies will pay the government for the right to remove some of the larger trees that fall within the 30-inch limit, which will provide money for the removal of underbrush and smaller trees that could pose a fire danger, Mathes said.
   Giant Sequoia National Monument has been mired in controversy ever since former President Clinton created it in April 2000.
   At that time, logging interests, recreational groups, and the County of Tulare unsuccessfully sued to eliminate the designation, contending Clinton exceeded his authority when he acted unilaterally to protect 38 ancient groves of giant sequoias within the 1.1 million-acre Sequoia National Forest. The groves account for about 20,000 acres, or roughly six percent, of the monument’s total acreage.
   Eric Antebi, national spokesman for the Sierra Club, said environmentalists are suspicious about Forest Service plans for the monument given that the National Park Service has managed neighboring Sequoia National Park without relying on logging as a fire-prevention tool. The Park Service uses prescribed burns and limited thinning around structures to remove fuels that can become kindling for wildfires, Antebi said.

  “We have scientists on our side, too,” Mathes said. “There is no black-and-white science in the Sierra Nevada.”
   Giant Sequoia National Monument is managed by the Sequoia National Forest, which has its headquarters at 900 W. Grand Ave. in Porterville.

Half Dome featured on new quarter

   On Feb. 1, coin collectors and history buffs were lining up to be among the first to get the quarter commemorating California’s history — adorned with a likeness of John Muir, his beloved Yosemite, and a California condor.
   The newest quarter, part of the 10-year, 50-state quarters program by the U.S. Mint, entered circulation with an introduction by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver at the California State History Museum.
   Among those in the audience at the coin’s introduction were two of Muir’s grandsons, John and Ross Hanna.
   The Mint will produce a limited number of the coins over a 10-week period.

Mary Lavon Crisp
1913 ~ 2005

   Mary Lavon Crisp, a former longtime resident of Woodlake, died Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2005, in Visalia. She was 92.
   Lavon was born to Gilson and Lizzie (King) Littlefield on Jan. 4, 1913, in Cherokee County, Okla. On May 29, 1931, she married Charles “Ted” Crisp there.
   The Crisps had four children and moved to Woodlake in 1943, where they owned and operated two grocery stores. Lavon was a member of Woodlake’s First Baptist Church.
   Lavon was preceded in death by her husband, Ted, son Robert, and grandson Vincent.
   She is survived by son Charles and wife Peg of Sonora; daughters Ortha Richardson of Boise, Idaho and Mary Sue Senseney and husband Bill of Visalia; two sisters; two brothers; 14 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren.
   Burial was at Woodlake District Cemetery.

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