News and Information
for residents and visitors
Three Rivers,
Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks,
Lemon Cove and Woodlake
Kaweah Kam

  In the News - Friday, MAY 7, 2004





  Exhibitors prepare for Redbud Festival...

  a photo gallery of booths and wares

  that will be on display this weekend.


911: Who ya gonna call?

     Last month’s river rescue, when a Kaweah River guide pulled a 13-year-old swimmer to safety, may have exposed a crack in the area’s emergency-services coverage. At least several Three Rivers residents believe that’s what happened as a result of the Wednesday, April 7, incident.
    The problem stems from an apparent lack of response after Susan Powers of Three Rivers made a 911call. Powers called for assistance just before 5 p.m. after she heard the swimmer, who was clinging to a rock in the Kaweah River, call for help in the vicinity of her house just below the Sequoia National Park entrance.
   After about 30 minutes and no response, Powers called Frank Root of Kaweah White Water Adventures, who fortunately was able to respond and provide help at the scene. Powers had also called the cell phone of Jim Fansett, Three Rivers resident deputy, who was off duty that day.

  “There was no answer on Fansett’s cell phone so that’s when I called Frank [Root],” Powers said. “No fire truck, ambulance, or sheriff’s vehicle ever arrived at the scene.”
   Kirk Gramberg, CDF fire apparatus engineer, who has whitewater rescue training, said he was on duty in Three Rivers that day and never received a call. Mike Davidson, chief of fire prevention and a Tulare County Fire Department spokesperson, said that calls from landlines routinely are routed through the dispatcher at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.
   Apparently, that’s what happened April 7. Approximately 45 minutes into the incident, but after Frank Root had arrived to rescue the swimmer, someone else called 911 and informed the dispatcher that help was no longer needed.
   Fortunately, this story had a happy ending. But with river rescue season upon us, the next victim may not be so lucky.
   The problem is even more acute when Jim Fansett, Three Rivers resident deputy, is out of service. If the 911 call is not forwarded to the Three Rivers Fire Station, then the response time from the Valley can be 45 minutes to an hour or more.
   Tulare County Fire Department personnel say the incident underscores a communication problem that they know exists in the 911 system. Sandy Owen, president of the Three Rivers Volunteer Ambulance, said that the apparent lack of response is cause for concern, but when the nature of the problem is a medical aid, response in Three Rivers is actually better now than it has been in the last several years.

  Owen said that eventually Tulare County must adopt a single provider with all paramedics for the situation to improve. If that were to happen, then an ambulance could be standing by in Lemon Cove to serve the area’s communities, including Three Rivers.
   For the immediate future, Owen explained, Three Rivers will continue to be served by the local volunteer ambulance staff. Sometime later this month, the ambulance service is expected move to its new quarters in the CDF fire station adjacent to Valley Oak Credit Union.
   Owen said Three Rivers actually has more qualified EMT2s and drivers than they have had in recent years. Of the 14 calls they received in April, the Three Rivers ambulance was able to roll to 10 of those calls.
   Of those 10, all but one were “ALS” calls where advanced life support systems like an IV were needed.
   The problem, Owen said, is on the calls when Three Rivers is unable to respond.

  “With all the recent cuts in the Exeter ambulance service, some of the Three Rivers calls must be handled by ambulances from Visalia,” Owen said. “So we’re right back to the 1950s [prior to the Three Rivers ambulance] when that happens.”
   For Three Rivers patients, who are painfully aware that the closest hospital is 40 minutes away, that response time could be the critical difference between life and death.

DSL moves slowly

toward Three Rivers

If you are among the dozens of SBC telephone subscribers waiting for high-speed Internet service in Three Rivers, you’re going to have to wait a little longer. According to a reliable source, what’s delaying the new DSL (digital subscriber line) is a looming strike by linemen who work the outlying areas of Tulare County, including Three Rivers.
   DSL is any one of a group of technologies that deliver high-speed LAN and Internet access over telephone lines. Utilizing an installed copper infrastructure, DSL creates high-speed remote digital links up to 18,000 feet (approximately three miles) without digital-to-analog conversions.
   The pending strike, which involves SBC workers being asked to take cuts in pay and benefits, could be called as early as today (May 7). If the strike is necessary, supervisors will field local repairs.

  “Right now, all we are taking are service calls for repairs,” said an SBC technician. “If they try to begin the installs for new DSL orders and then we went out on strike, it would be a disaster.”
   Three Rivers’s wait-listed customers have been told they will have DSL as soon as the new lines are ready. As early as March, SBC service representatives have been saying that DSL orders could be filled at anytime.

  “The panels are in and all the lines have been linked to Woodlake,” said the technician. “The company has no choice but to wait and see if the workers strike.”
   If and when DSL finally arrives locally, it will be an interesting experiment to see if the technology works as it does in other markets. Technicians say that download time should be many times faster than dial-up service.
   That’s a best-case scenario and depends on line conditions and the distance that the subscriber lives from the SBC station, located on Sierra Drive across from the Realty World building. Only those subscribers who live within three miles of the SBC hub will be able to get the DSL service.

  “There will be some glitches to work out, but it should be a tremendous improvement for many Internet users in Three Rivers,” said the technician. “We are ready to begin installation but really can’t do anything until we have a contract.”

Flora Bella Farm celebrates 15 years

In 1989, on a beautiful day in May, the Birch family — James, Bettina, Josh, and Anna — came from Los Angeles to Three Rivers with a dream in their hearts to farm the land. They had found a beautiful tract of land in the shadow of Barton Mountain and planted 250 apple trees.
   Two years later, Flora Bella Farm became a California Certified Organic Farm, realizing a professional goal of James and Bettina to be recognized for providing fresh, handpicked, highly nutritious fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides or other chemicals. Today, Flora Bella Farm harvests dozens of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and flowers and supplies certified organic produce to farmers’ markets, gourmet restaurants, tourists, and appreciative residents of Three Rivers.
   While James spends most of each week making trips to Southern California to supply restaurants and farmers’ markets, Bettina manages home and farm, directing her staff in the picking, packing, and shipping of myriad farm-fresh items.

  “Our dream has been to serve the public fine certified-organic produce, to work in harmony with the cycles of nature, and to care for this one precious Earth in a diligent and responsible manner,” said Bettina.
   Since 2001, Flora Bella has hosted Slow Food gourmet cooking events that have showcased Three Rivers and the farm’s products. Slow Food is an international culinary group that regards food — its ingredients, production, preparation, and consumption — as humankind’s greatest glory.
   The Birches have also hosted delegations of foreign farmers and provided a wealth of educational experiences for groups or classes that want to learn about organic farming.
   Erik Oberg, a Sequoia Park ranger and Flora Bella patron, said that the Sequoia For Youth partnership utilizes Flora Bella to provide hands-on learning for seventh-grade students.

  “While visiting Flora Bella, students understand the importance of watershed management by viewing snow-covered peaks and following water downstream to the crops,” Oberg related. “They learn about making healthy food choices after harvesting greens and making their own salads.”
   This dedication to sharing the dream of the modern organic farm has a steady stream of customers visiting Flora Bella’s farm store each Friday and Saturday to stock up on whatever’s in season.

  “Every member of our family appreciates Flora Bella’s commitment to quality and integrity,” said Susan Lamberson of Three Rivers. “Eating fresh, good food makes me feel really good. I love going to the farm because it is vibrant and unique.”

  The Birches hope to serve the community of Three Rivers for many more years and are grateful for their supporters.

  “At Flora Bella, I’m always nourished by the farm and the food,” said Rita Pena, Three Rivers resident. “I get the chance to make the connection between what I know is healthy for my family and for the planet.”

Woodlake Rodeo 2004 lookin’

to be a mighty fine shindig

Glossary for greenhorns

According to Hoyle— by the book
Ace-high— first class; respected
Arbuckle’s— coffee
Balled up— confused
Bang-up— first rate
Bazoo— mouth
Bear sign— donuts
Bend an elbow— have a drink
Best bib and tucker— good clothes
Between hay and grass— not an adult or a baby; half-grown
Big bug— important person
Bulldoze— coerce
By hook or crook— any way possible
Clean his/her plow— to get a thorough whipping’
Dinero— Sp., money
Flush— to prosper; rich
Get a wiggle on— to hurry
Greenhorn— inexperienced person
Fandango— Sp., big party; excitement
Fine as cream gravy— Top-notch
Fork over— pay out
Grub— food
Hang on for eight— the full ride; stay the entire time
Hog-killin’ time— real good time
In apple pie order— top shape
Kick up a row— create a disturbance
Knocked into a cocked hat— rendered useless
Light a shuck— to get out in a hurry
Like a thoroughbred— a gentleman
Makin’ a mash— to impress someone
Ride shank’s mare— to walk
Scuttlebutt— rumors
See the elephant— Go to town
Shave tail— green, inexperienced person
Shindy— uproar
Simon pure— the genuine facts
Skedaddle— run like hell
Stand the gaff— take punishment in good spirit
Superintend— oversee, supervise
To the manner born— a natural

These ain’t just folks shootin’ off their big bazoos. Bein’ around since 1953, the Woodlake Rodeo folks know how to put on a bang-up show.
   After your Arbuckle’s and bear sign, put on your best bib and tucker to see the elephant and get mixin’ with the town folk during the main street parade on Saturday morning. There’ll be floats and bands to kick up a row!
Meet up there with big bug Dick Edmiston, this year’s Grand Marshal, and see Audra Ainley, the right-purty Rodeo Queen, just like her grandma and first cuz before her.
   And even if you gotta ride shank’s mare, light a shuck and head north of town right after the parade because the rodeo ain’t gonna wait for y’all. Out yonder at the Woodlake Lions Rodeo Grounds there’ll be two whole days of professional rodeo action with 240 or more cowboys and cowgirls lookin’ to get flush by makin’ a mash with their professional expertise rangin’ from bull riding to bareback and saddle bronc riding, and steer wrestling, barrel racing, and calf and team roping.
   On Saturday, May 8, and Sunday, May 9, the gates’ll open at 10 a.m. The deep-pit dinners get served up at 11 a.m. each day and there’s plenty of other grub, too, like hot dogs, snacks, ‘n’ more as well as plenty of ice-cold liquid to bend an elbow with.
   And it’ll be impossible to miss when the rodeo action is set to fly out of the chutes. Just keep an eye to the sky about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and don’t get all balled up when you see a body floatin’ up there.
   It’ll be skydiver Mark Schlatter causin’ a shindy as he jumps out of his World War I biplane with a gigantic American flag. That’ll be your first clue that a hog-killin’ time is about to start.
   Like a genuine thoroughbred, Chad Nicholson will superintend and be keeping things runnin’ in apple pie order as he gives the fans the Simon pure with his long-proven announcer skills.
   And Shotgun Rodney Gaston ain’t no shave tail either. His job as clown and bullrider is to stand the gaff to protect them competitors as they skedaddle away from getting’ their plows cleaned.
   And, to make sure y’all have a real hot time, ol’ Shotgun’ll be jumpin’ through hoops of fire on his Brahma bull. Yep, you heard right; ain’t no scuttlebutt here.
   The ace-high rodeo will also feature nationally-known bullfighters Colby Gines and Jess Griffin who’ll bulldoze them bags of beef by hook or crook to keep them riders from bein’ knocked into a cocked hat.
And the purty gals of the Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls and the Visalia Rockettes will demonstrate their precision and trick-riding skills.
   The popular mutton-bustin’ contest will also be held each day for those between hay and grass. Youngsters just need to climb on the back of a sheep and make like a bullrider and hang on.
   Any half-pint between five and eight years old and under 65 pounds is welcome to compete in this event. A champion silver buckle will be awarded to each day’s winner.
   This rodeo’s according to Hoyle and fine as cream gravy. To get tickets to the fandango, hustle to Woodlake Hardware before the action starts Saturday for the presale price of $8 for adults and $4 for kids ages seven to 12 (six and under won’t cost a wooden nickel).
   Tickets at the gate’ll cost a bit more dinero ($12; $6), but still worth every piece of gold and silver to see these pros to the manner born. Besides, all them buffalo nickels benefit the Woodlake Lions Club, who sponsor the whole kit and caboodle and fork over the cash to worthwhile community projects year in, year out, just like they’ve done for more than a half-century.
   For more information, give a holler to Lions head honcho John Wood, 799-0990.

Presentation offers

views of India, Nepal

On Thursday, May 13, Pam Beck, having recently returned from India and Nepal, will present an exhibition of Buddhist/Hindu thankas and provide a video presentation of “Karmapa: The Lion Begins to Roar.” The event will be held at Cort Gallery in Three Rivers, beginning at 7 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
  ON EXHIBIT: The thankas are hand-painted-on-canvas, cloth-framed icons of Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Some examples of thankas on display include “Buddha’s Life Story,” “Wheel of Life,” “Manjushree Mandala,” “Green Tara,” “White Tara,” “Kali Durga,” and “Bagra Swato Shakti.” There is also a large selection of batiks exemplifying the life of Bhagavan Khrishna and other Hindu deities.
The thankas exhibition will remain at Cort Gallery through next Friday (May 14).
   ON FILM: While in Tashi Jong, India, Pam had an unexpected encounter with His Holiness Urgyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa. He was at the Lama Dances, which, this year, were the once-in-every-12-years celebration.
   The Karmapas have been the supreme heads of the unbroken Kayyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism since the first Karmapa in the 12th century. Since his enthronement in 1992, Gyalwa Karmapa has blessed millions of people who have traveled from throughout the world to see him at his residence, the Tsurphu Monastery in Tibet.
   Pam procured digital film footage of the first documented Dharma teaching given by His Holiness Karmapa on July 7, 1999, at his monastery.
   The Buddha Shakyamuni predicted that 2,000 years after his death the lion-voiced Bodhissattva Karmapa would appear in this world. It was said he would benefit many beings who will attain peace just by seeing, hearing, or remembering him.
   Included in the video are rare scenes of the Karmapa performing the Lama Dances, giving empowerments, and many other Buddha activities of a fully-realized Bodhissattva who has voluntarily come into the world to alleviate the sufferings of beings.
   Bring a pillow for seating during the video. For more information, call Pam, 565-3008.













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