1995 ~ March 2005
the past decade,
been telling readers
they won't read, hear,
see anywhere else!
In the News -
Friday, MAY 6, 2005
Professional competitiors, live entertainment,
riders, and lots of clowning around
For the 52nd year, it’s
time to rodeo once again, Woodlake-style. This weekend’s event,
the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Woodlake Lions, has evolved
into one of the premier ranch rodeos in the country.
Why the tremendous reputation and success for Woodlake’s
rodeo when there are so many other attractions competing for today’s
entertainment dollars? According John Wood, Lions’ immediate past
president, Woodlake’s reputation is built on having a great setting,
the former Jackson Ranch in Elderwood, and providing non-stop action for
“The Woodlake Rodeo
is great fun for the entire family and features some of the best cowboys
that you will see anywhere on the circuit,” said Lynne Arnold, Woodlake
This year, that star-studded lineup will be one of the best
all-time. Arnold said that with Bakersfield also hosting a rodeo during
Mother’s Day weekend, some of the circuit’s top competitors
will be on-hand at Woodlake.
“The cowboys really
like to hang out in Elderwood and Three Rivers,” said Lynne. “The
peaceful setting here is a nice change from the big-city arenas on the
One of the top team ropers, Kyle Lockett, who hails from nearby Ivanhoe,
will compete at Woodlake on the heels of his buckle-winning performance
at Three Rivers last month. Lockett is the Tie-Down Roping timed-event
World Champion for 2005.
The bull-fighting responsibilities — or more aptly,
the distraction of the bulls so the riders can get safely out harm’s
way — fall on the broad shoulders of Colby Gines and Jess Griffin.
Their lightning speed and daring is a spectacle that, in itself, is worth
the price of admission.
But not withstanding all the cowboy and cowgirl talent and
the fun of the mutton-busting contest, there is also great musical entertainment
from “Julia” and her awesome band, Viento. Julia, a former
Riata Ranch Cowboy Girl, who lives in Kingsburg, caters to a Spanish-speaking
audience but her high-energy performances are popular with gringos, too.
On the concert circuit, this beautifully talented songstress is known
as “La Gringuita Mas Mexicana.”
Also among the great traditions of the Woodlake event is
the contest for Rodeo Queen. This year’s reigning royalty is Kendra
Burkheimer. Kendra, 20, of Farmersville is a business major at College
of the Sequoias and will be headed to Fresno State in the fall.
Burkheimer, who graduated from Central Valley Christian High
School in Visalia in 2000, was chosen from an impressive field after completing
challenges that demonstrated equestrian skills, rodeo knowledge, Woodlake
rodeo history, poise, and beauty. She attributes her advantage in the
competition to her experience for the past 12 years as a Riata Ranch Cowboy
“I will be doing
double duty this weekend as Rodeo Queen and as a Riata Ranch performer,”
Kendra said. “I am thrilled to represent the Woodlake Lions and
have the opportunity to meet all these great people. My rodeo queen experience
will help me later on in my career and to grow as a person.”
Queen Kendra will officially begin her rodeo duties at 10
a.m. by riding in the Rodeo Parade down Woodlake’s main street,
the traditional kickoff activity. Hube Wolfe, longtime member of the Woodlake
Lions Club, will serve as Grand Marshal.
Presale discount tickets are available at several local outlets
including First Choice Foods and Woodlake Hardware until the rodeo grounds
gates open at 10 a.m. Saturday. Adult admission at the gate for each day
is $13. Youth ages six to 12 are $8; children five and under are free.
For driving directions or more information, call the rodeo
hotline, 564-8555 or visit the official Rodeo website:
New law increases foothills
requirements to 100 feet
A wet winter and spring in Kaweah Country are producing taller
grasses that have area fire officials concerned about what the coming
fire season has in store.
Initially, the wet weather will reduce the fire danger, and
the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is predicting
an average year for fires because a lot of areas will still be covered
in snow when the summer hits.
But, as summer progresses, tall grass fed by the wet weather
will dry out, putting the foothills at greatest risk for wildland fire.
When the weather gets hot, all that vegetation will become extremely flammable.
Homeowners need to prepare for this volatile situation in
advance of the hot weather by clearing brush and grass before it dries
As of Jan. 1, 2005, property maintenance in the foothills
got even more strenuous; in fact, clearance requirements were increased
more than three-fold.
CDF personnel will soon be making the rounds in Three Rivers
to check that there is now 100 feet of defensible space around houses
and outbuildings. Previously, the requirement was 30 feet.
Due to this large increase of property clearance, the CDF will offer a
“CDF will allow
a reasonable period of time for everyone to come into full compliance
out to 100 feet,” said Dave Hillman, CDF unit chief. “If we
inspect your property and you’re not in compliance beyond the traditional
30-foot zone, we’ll request that you work toward full compliance.
We will, however, expect compliance within the first 30 feet, as we always
The goal for homeowners, Hillman explained, is to “break
up vertical and horizontal continuity of the fuel.” Removing brush
beneath trees and trimming limbs to 14 feet will slow down potential fires.
Body found at
On Wednesday evening, May 4, Fred Tafti, owner of the Indian
Restaurant property in Three Rivers, discovered the body of a middle-aged
male behind the Sierra Drive restaurant that is currently being remodeled.
Tafti, who also owns the Kaweah General Store, called 911 to report the
grisly discovery at 6: 40 p.m.
According to witnesses at the scene, there was no apparent
sign of foul play. Personal items, clothing, and several liquor bottles
were scattered about the area where the body was found.
Sheriff’s deputies secured the site and detectives worked for several
hours investigating the scene. Tafti said no one had been working at the
site for the past several days and he believed the victim was a transient
who had recently been camping in the area.
“I just came over
to pick up a garden hose that the workers had been using,” Tafti
said. “It looked to me like he had been dead at least since yesterday.”
The identity of the victim was not immediately known. Eric
Velasquez, a detective with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department,
is conducting the investigation.
Rafting season kicks off
On Wednesday, May 4, for the second year, a raft sponsored
by The Cabin has won the Kaweah River Whitewater Race. The run, which
begins after putting in at the Gateway Restaurant just above the bridge,
took one hour, 15 minutes, for the winning boat to complete.
The finish of the race, now in its second year and gaining
in popularity, is just below Slicky, one of the trickiest rapids on the
Middle Fork. Four rafts, including Petit Pinson’s all-female crew,
were entered in the race and completed the series of whitewater challenges.
At the helm of the winning raft was Aaron Root, who had his
crew paddling aggressively from start to finish.
“The river was
noticeably higher this year and we had to work hard every minute of the
race,” said Ken Woodruff, owner of The Cabin and one of the event’s
There was never a moment to rest for The Cabin’s “Codgers”
team as they had only a slim lead on the raft that eventually finished
second. That group was within a few seconds of The Cabin’s entry
but spilled several of their crew into the chilly waters of the river
trying to negotiate Slicky’s upper rapids.
In addition to Ken Woodruff, the rest of The Cabin’s
paddlers were Bill Haxton, Greg Fox, Tod Johnson, and Bill Sullivan. With
tongue-in-cheek, they refer to themselves as “over the hill,”
even though some of the crew train year-round just for local bragging
rights on the river.
Frank Root, owner of Kaweah Whitewater Adventures and the
race’s organizer, piloted another raft but finished several minutes
behind his son Aaron’s winning boat.
“This race is a
great way to call attention to the excellent opportunities we have for
river-rafting right here in Three Rivers,” Root said. “The
season will be extended by the huge snowpack you’ve been hearing
about all winter, so now is the time to book a trip. The water is challenging
but is not even close to reaching the thunderous flows we will experience
after a stretch of some really warm weather.”
Ideal conditions for river rafting occur each year when the
Middle Fork is running in the range of 1,500 to 2,000 cubic feet per second.
For Wednesday’s race, the flows averaged nearly 1,600 cubic feet
Root says he expects the local rafting season to last well
into July this year.
had whitewater like this since the last El Nino year of 1998,” Root
Fire station occupancy
at Town Meeting
Local nonprofit groups cooperatively
request building space
Earlier this week, Supervisor Allen Ishida announced that
he would be conducting a Three Rivers Town Meeting on Thursday, May 12.
The meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. at St. Anthony Retreat.
At the top of the agenda is the dispensation of the building
that formerly housed Station No. 14 of the Three Rivers Fire Department.
The fire station was vacated when the California Department of Forestry
and Fire Protection and the Tulare County Fire Department were consolidated
into the new state-of-the-art facility that was built adjacent to the
Valley Oak Credit Union.
At least four local groups and the resident deputy sheriff
have combined to petition county officials in an effort to be permitted
to share space in the building. Among the groups who want to be accommodated
are the Three Rivers Cemetery District, Three Rivers Community Services
District, the local Tulare County Sheriff’s Volunteer Patrol, and
the Community Food Pantry.
Supervisor Ishida said he would furnish an update at the
meeting on what the Board of Supervisors deems as appropriate action in
dealing with the vacant property.
Other topics for discussion are a proposed community visitor
center and the official designation of Highway 198 as a “Scenic
“I think the way
in which the scenic highway designation is being proposed would be a real
benefit for Three Rivers,” Ishida said. “Some commercial areas
would be exempt, so it would not place any undo restraints on local businesses.”
Supervisor Ishida said that everyone is welcome to attend
and there will be adequate time to ask questions on any county-related
business. For more information, call Supervisor Ishida at 733-6271.
TRUS Foundation news:
Get on board… buy a duck
BOARD MEMBERS WANTED
The Three Rivers Union School Foundation was developed solely
as a support group for TRUS. Each year, the group donates thousands of
dollars to the local elementary school to enhance or develop various projects
and programs. Currently, the organization has vacancies on its board of
Board meetings are held at the school on the second Tuesday
of each month at 7 p.m. Persons interested in becoming involved with the
Foundation may call Lee Crouch, president, at 561-3363, or Sue Sherwood,
TRUS superintendent, 561-4466.
RUBBER DUCK RACE
For the second year, the TRUS Foundation will sponsor a Rubber
Duck Race. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners — first place,
$200; second place, $100; third place, $50.
The race will commence Saturday, June 4. Ducks may be purchased
for $5 each or three for $10.
Buy a duck or an entire flock from any Foundation member,
by calling the phone numbers listed previously, or by stopping in at the
Local quilter Helen Bauer is creating a Three Rivers-themed
quilt that will be auctioned off at the TRUS Foundation’s annual
fall-fundraiser dinner. The quilt will be made from various Three Rivers
Helen is currently searching for additional T-shirts to complete
this one-of-a-kind creation, so anyone who has T-shirts with a Three Rivers
logo that they would like to donate, they may deliver them to the Three
Rivers School office during regular business hours.
Renovations are ongoing at Woodlake High School’s football
stadium. One ambitious project currently underway is the replacement of
the bleachers on the “home” side of the field.
With this replacement comes the opportunity to show support
for Woodlake High for years to come. Individuals or groups may purchase
a specific section of bleacher in their name or in the memory of a loved
The center section of the new bleachers — the two center
rows directly below the announcer’s booth — will be orange.
The bleachers on either side will be gray.
Sponsored by the Woodlake High School Foundation, sections
of bleachers are for sale for $225, orange; or $200 gray. The inscription
for the plaque should be 30 characters or less.
For more information or to receive an order form and seating
chart to select a bleacher, call Holly Crain-Peltzer, WHS Foundation president,
1917 ~ 2005
Raymond L. Hartwick, a former resident of Three Rivers, died
April 12, 2005. He was 88.
Raymond was born March 24, 1917, in Grand Rapids, Mich.,
to Fred and Frances “Fan-ny” (Brennan) Hartwick. He was raised
in Cleveland, Ohio.
He graduated from the East Technical Institute and the National
Radio School and also attended the Western Reserve University in Ohio.
In 1941, Raymond married the former Leona Chambers.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Raymond immediately enlisted
in the U.S. Army and served as an electrician-first class.
He was on the USS Marcus Island and at the Battle of Leyte
Gulf. After his discharge in 1945, Raymond worked at various highly-classified
space and research companies.
In 1982, Raymond and Leona moved to Three Rivers to be near
their daughter, Sharon Bullene, and family and friends David and Jean
Strawn. In 1996, they relocated to Visalia.
In 2002, Raymond was preceded in death by his wife of more
than 60 years, Leona.
He is survived by his daughters, Sharon Bullene of Three
Rivers, Susan Hartwick-Sauer, and Joan Aston; son John Hartwick; five
grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
1939 ~ 2005
Linda Dungan of Porterville and Silver City died Tuesday,
March 1, 2005, of kidney failure. She was 65.
Linda was born on Dec. 14, 1939, to Harrison and Jean (Miller)
Huckaby in Oxnard. As a young child, she moved with her family to Exeter
where she was raised and educated, graduating from Exeter High School
In 1961, she graduated from UCLA with her degree in nursing.
Also that year, she married her high-school sweetheart, D.Q. “Duke”
For 20 years, Linda was employed by the Tulare County Office
of Education as a school nurse.
Linda is survived by her husband, Duke, of Porterville; three
children; her brother; five grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be
made to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation, 9221 Ward Pkwy., Suite
400, Kansas City, MO 64114-3367.
TIME WILL TELL
10 years ago…
FRIDAY, MAY 5, 1995— The history of
the Redbud Festival was told and a list of local vendors provided.
THREE PROMINENT THREE Rivers women passed away — Thelma
Britten, Jean Caulfeild, and Marion Gray.
SEASON-TO-DATE rainfall was 28.11 inches. In 1994, rainfall
totaled 14.09 inches on the same date.
THE NATIONAL PARK Service was seeking concessioners to operate
commercial facilities within the parks. Separate contracts were developed
for each park.
THE PIZZA FACTORY opened in Three Rivers on May 1.