1995 ~ March 2005
the past decade,
been telling readers
they won't read, hear,
see anywhere else!
A disgruntled Three
Rivers resident, upset with an issue raised in a Letter to the Editor,
was reportedly spied stealing stacks of the March 4 edition of The Kaweah
Commonwealth during the morning of Friday, March 4. Reports of no newspapers
throughout the community have been widespread.
Unfortunately, the owners/publishers
of the newspaper, who were both out of town in different locations during
the weekend, did not receive word of the theft of up to 800 issues until
Saturday afternoon, March 5.
The newspaper, which
was a special 10th-anniversary edition, will possibly be reprinted and
redistributed on Monday, March 7. An investigation is pending.
In the News -
Friday, MARCH 4, 2005
On Monday, March 1, a narcotics task force of the Tulare
County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at a residence
located at 14730 Walker in Poplar, about 45 miles south of Three Rivers.
Detectives serving the warrant arrested two subjects for narcotic violations
and possession of stolen property.
A part of the recovered stolen property turned out to be
approximately $10,000 worth of musical instruments, stereo equipment,
speakers, amplifiers, and keyboards that were heisted two weeks ago in
a spree of Three Rivers burglaries. Arrested and taken into custody were
Eduardo Carlo Bayani and Michael Assaulio.
Bayani, 56, was charged with selling a controlled substance
(methamphetamine), maintaining a drug house, and possession of stolen
property. Assaulio, 32, was charged with possession of stolen property.
According to a narcotics detective, the suspects were arrested
on a tip from an informant. Both were transported to Tulare County jail
and held on bail of $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.
A local witness in the case said that on Friday, Feb. 25,
the Sheriff’s Department received information that one of the suspects
in the Three Rivers burglaries was at a Porterville residence. The subject,
who was identified from a surveillance camera while using one of the victim’s
credit cards, was not taken into custody at that time and as of Wednesday,
March 3, remained at large.
Stanley Albright, 73, former superintendent of Sequoia and
Kings Canyon National Parks, remains hospitalized after suffering a stroke
Stan, who was superintendent locally from 1975 to 1977, was
on vacation with his wife in Hawaii when he became ill. He is currently
at the Maui Memorial Medical Center.
It is unknown when he will be able to return to his Oregon
Stan is the nephew of the late Horace Albright, co-founder
of the National Park Service and its second director (1929-1933). He graduated
from UCLA in 1958; he and his wife, Kris, have two grown sons.
Stan was a career employee of the National Park Service and
held a number of high-profile jobs including several superintendent positions
and regional director of the Pacific West Region. After 40 years of service
in parks management and operations, Stan retired from Yosemite National
Park in 2000.
Last Tuesday, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) staff from
the regional office in Bakersfield, told an intimate gathering at Three
Rivers School that after its inaugural year, the fee demonstration program
at the North Fork recreation sites has had the desired effect.
In 2004, for the first time, a fee of $5 per carload was
charged for parking at Paradise, Advance, and Cherry Falls, popular river
access sites along the upper North Fork of the Kaweah River.
The fee-collection program was introduced last season beginning
May 1 and was enforced through September with the desired effect of reducing
the heavy and sometimes unlawful use at the sites. In the past, the isolated
riverside areas have become notorious for gang activity, arson fires,
vandalism, and excessive partying, especially on summer holiday weekends.
“We had less graffiti,
less tagging, and our rangers wrote fewer citations for drugs and alcohol,”
said Alysia Hancock, BLM supervisory ranger. “We are also getting
a grant for this season so we can have extra law-enforcement rangers here
on certain weekends.”
Hancock assumed the duties of longtime ranger Ed Ruth who
retired last year prior to the start of the fee program that he helped
institute. Michael Ayers, a BLM recreation planner from the regional office,
said that since Congress passed new legislation last December, the former
demonstration program would be continued under the auspices of the new
Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.
Ayers, who said he will be transferring to the BLM’s
Sacramento office effective mid-April, said the collection of fees had
the desired effect by reducing overall visitation by 35 percent. Ayers
was the program’s chief architect and has been the project manager
for a number of improvements at the sites.
“The $54,000 we
spent administering the sites in 2004 is money we would have spent anyway,”
said Ayers. “The more than $8,000 we collected in fees was a much
needed return on our investment.”
This season, Ayers said BLM personnel hope to have an even
greater presence and will begin to collect fees starting April 1.
“What we found
is that when we had rangers present we had 100-percent compliance, Ayers
said. “When no one was there to see that the pay envelopes were
placed in the collection boxes, only 15 percent of the visitors opted
Ayers said three local users took advantage of the bureau’s
volunteer program. Locals may obtain a free annual pass in exchange for
trash pick-up and or the reporting of unlawful activity.
concerned with how much the volunteers actually do,” Ayers said.
“We know a number of locals routinely patrol the parking areas and
the river to help remove trash.”
Ayers said he was surprised that though visitation dropped
along with criminal activity, there was even more trash.
“We call it the
Disneyland effect,” Ayers said. “Once you pay your fee, some
folks expect the worker with broom and dustpan to follow along behind.”
Warren Campbell, a 40-year resident of the North Fork area,
said he has noticed less vehicles traveling North Fork Drive.
“The road is generally
safer and we’re appreciative for the reduction of traffic in the
area,” Campbell said.
Anyone interested in obtaining an annual pass for $20 or
applying for a volunteer pass may contact the BLM at (661) 391-6120.