In the News - Friday, FEBRUARY
Meetings with Supervisor and
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.,
On Monday, the Three Rivers Town Meeting returns as Allen
Ishida, newly elected District 1 supervisor, will conduct his first local
“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
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)
Measure B will provide
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
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
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
Blood drive and marrow registration
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
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.
END OF AN ERA
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,
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.
ON THE MOO-VE
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.
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
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.