1995 ~ March 2005
the past decade,
been telling readers
they won't read, hear,
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In the News -
Friday, MAY 13, 2005
Car crashes impact
A wreath with a black ribbon at the Three Rivers Post Office
symbolizes the mourning of local postal employees and the community due
to the death this week of Jesse Sindelar. On Tuesday, May 10, Jesse was
killed in a single-vehicle accident on Ben Maddox Way in Visalia.
Jesse, 24, was raised and educated in Three Rivers and, until
two months ago, worked at the Three Rivers Post Office. His obituary is
on this web page below.
ROLLOVER ON SIERRA DRIVE
Last Saturday, shortly after 2 a.m., a 24-year-old Three
Rivers resident was heading eastbound on Sierra Drive when the driver’s
2003 Honda failed to negotiate the curve in front of the White Horse Inn.
The car left the roadway and plunged into a shallow ditch on the south
side of the highway.
According to information furnished by the CHP’s investigating
officer, after breaking an axle, the vehicle careened across the highway
and rolled over, landing on its roof in the westbound lane.
The driver left the scene of the accident. The motorist, who requested
anonymity, was unhurt in the crash and claimed to be in shock.
The investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing.
The CHP officer investigating the accident said charges against the driver
This particular stretch of roadway is notorious for serious
accidents. In the past three decades that Gary White has owned the White
Horse Inn property, he said there have been at least eight major accidents
in this vicinity.
The critical factors that possibly saved the life of the
motorist in this accident was that a seatbelt was being worn and the airbags
3R Fire Station
THE OPENING OF the long-awaited new Three Rivers Fire Station
will be official following a dedication ceremony this weekend. The entire
community is invited to participate in the open-house celebration, hosted
by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF), on
Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m.
The formal dedication ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. Throughout
the event, the public may tour the station, talk to local firefighters,
and receive information regarding fire safety.
Children’s activities include getting up close and
personal with the fire engines and having their photo taken with guest
of honor Smokey Bear. Live music will be provided by Three Rivers talent,
including Buckeye Flats, Red Wing, and Uncommon A Cappella.
The event is being planned with the cooperation of many local
organizations, including the Three Rivers Lions Club and Woman’s
Club, the local Business Association, the newly-created Three Rivers Village
Foundation, the Arts Alliance of Three Rivers, and the Volunteers in Patrol
(VIPs) of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department.
Also supporting the event are the National Park Service (Sequoia-Kings
Canyon) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Lake Kaweah). Special commendation
will be given to the California Native Plant Society-Alta Peak Chapter
and the Redbud Garden Club for initiating plans to develop and complete
the native-plant demonstration garden that is at the entrance to the new
EARLIER THIS WEEK, the Tulare County Sheriff-Coroner identified
the body discovered during the evening of Wednesday, May 4, on the Indian
Restaurant property in Three Rivers. The dead man was determined to be
Robert Kurtz, 45, of Porterville.
cause of death is listed as ‘natural’ pending the outcome
of a full autopsy,” said Lieutenant Galloway, a Tulare County Sheriff’s
Office spokesperson. “The death does not appear to be suspicious
or the result of a homicide.”
Lt. Galloway said that the final autopsy report on the case
could take two or three more weeks.
Sequoia Park has
Above-normal snowpack will
opening of some facilities
Following all the hype about the impressive April snow totals,
most California water-watchers certainly didn’t expect the Sierra
snowpack to get any better. But that’s exactly what happened as
a result of those lingering April storms.
The May 1 readings, the last official statistics of the season,
are even better news with a whopping statewide average of 152 percent
above normal. That means plenty of water for drinking, irrigation, and
recreation, but the gradually melting snow poses some mighty challenges
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as they try to gear up for
the annual tourist rush just two weeks away.
The most immediate impact of the task ahead falls on the
parks’ road crews. Kirk Stiltz of Three Rivers and his crew of equipment
operators must arrange their priorities to make as many of the parks’
facilities accessible as soon as possible.
That, according to Michael Botkin, who was getting a first
look at the Mineral King area this week, is a daunting task when virtually
everything above 7,000 feet is still snowed in as of mid-May.
The last season that is comparable to this year occurred
in 1998. During that El Nino season, several of the local park equipment
operators were dispatched to Lassen Volcanic National Park, which was
buried with a record snowpack. In 1998, most high-country campgrounds
and facilities in the local parks were not open until the Fourth of July
That late-opener spurred the local parks to adopt the so-called
“80/20” policy, which translates to a scenario that, in certain
situations, 80 percent of the snow must melt prior to committing the manpower
to remove the final 20 percent.
But Botkin and his Park Service colleagues are well-versed
in helping Mother Nature do the inevitable. It’s just a matter of
“Our priority up
here [in Mineral King] is to clear our way into the park-employee housing
at Silver City [elevation 6,900 feet] because seasonal training starts
next week,” he said. “Then we’ll clear the road’s
shoulders of all the debris down to the Mineral King gate.”
Botkin estimates that he would be working personally on that
job through today (Friday, May 13), then he would head over to the main
part of Sequoia to help plow a first pass into Dorst Campground (elevation
6,800 feet) along the Generals Highway.
“Unless we get
an unprecedented heat wave,” Michael said, “Dorst Campground
will not be open in time for the Memorial Day weekend.”
Cold Springs Campground in Mineral King and, possibly, the
entire Mineral King valley are also likely to be closed to vehicles throughout
the busy holiday weekend. Atwell Mill Campground (at 6,400 feet elevation)
will be open and so will the Silver City Resort.
The best way to access the Mineral King valley for Memorial
Day just might be on skis. Several recreational groups have already contacted
the parks as to the skiing conditions during that weekend. Botkin thinks
skiing Mineral King’s upper reaches like Farewell Gap and White
Chief might be a possibility into July.
Looking at the road just above Silver City, there remains a foot of crusty
powder on two to three feet of solid ice.
that there is a great quantity of snow on the road that makes the removal
difficult,” Botkin said. “But with the cooler weather lingering
so late this year, there just hasn’t been much of a melt so far.”
Botkin said he would probably begin plowing his way toward
Mineral King during the workweek prior to the Memorial Day weekend.
think anyone knows for sure what the next two weeks will bring,”
said Botkin. “Whether we get into Mineral King or not depends a
lot on the weather. Only time will tell.”
The bottom line is that a good deal of this season’s
snowpack, the seventh wettest on record since 1968, will eventually come
down the Kaweah River drainage. As of May 12, there was 114,047 acre-feet
of water already being stored in Lake Kaweah.
In one 24-hour period from Wednesday to Thursday this week,
the elevation of the lake level rose two feet to 678.14.
TRUS bids farewell
ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, the Three Rivers Union School board
of trustees met for their regular monthly meeting. Highlighting a busy
agenda was the review of two personnel changes and a discussion of a preliminary
budget for 2005-2006.
Effective June 2005, the board approved the retirement and
a “golden handshake” for Richard Lebsock, the current seventh-grade
teacher. Lebsock was recognized by the district for his 19 years of teaching.
The board also accepted the resignation of their only other
male teacher, Troy Hayes, fifth-grade teacher. Hayes resigned to accept
another position in the Porterville school district, which is closer to
where he resides. Superintendent Sue Sherwood said that concurrently Hayes
will also be continuing his education to complete his administration credential.
Discussion of the preliminary budget was centered on the
possibility of having more combination classes and the hiring of a new
The projected budget for 2005-2006 is approximately $1,457,000.
Any member of the public may request a review copy of the preliminary
budget when it becomes available after May 20.
The projected enrollment for 2005-2006 is expected to be 187, slightly
lower than the current 204. A total of 20 students are scheduled to graduate
from the eighth grade on Thursday, June 2.
The board also scheduled a public hearing on the new budget
for Wednesday, May 25. The next regular board meeting will be called to
order on Wednesday, June 8.
Annual food drive
On Saturday, May 14, the annual Letter Carriers’ Food
Drive will collect food for distribution to those in need within communities
through out the nation.
On Thursday, local postal route customers received plastic
FoodLink bags in their mailbox. Postal customers in Three Rivers are asked
to fill those bags with nonperishable food items and leave it by their
mailbox on Saturday.
Community Food Pantry volunteers will pick up the donations
between 1 and 4 p.m. on that day. For added convenience, a receptacle
has been placed at the door of the Three Rivers Post Office for postal-box
customers or anyone else who wishes to donate.
The Letter Carriers’ Food Drive helps emergency food
pantries prepare for the summer season. This is traditionally a time when
the organizations run low on resources, yet also sees an increase in the
number of children who are lacking adequate nutrition.
Other Tulare County post offices participating in the annual
drive are Cutler, Dinuba, Exeter, Farmersville, Ivanhoe, Lindsay, Orosi,
Porterville, Tulare, Visalia, and Woodlake.
FOOD PANTRY HOURS
The days and times that the Community Food Pantry in Three
Rivers will be open for FoodLink participants during May are Tuesday,
May 17, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and Wednesday, May 25, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Pantry supervisor Trish Stivers reminds everyone that food
donations are always welcome and cash donations may be sent to the First
Baptist Church, P.O. Box 35, Three Rivers (designate “Food Pantry”
on the check).
All who reside in California may currently receive a free
copy of their credit report once a year from the three nationwide companies
that compile these financial profiles. This benefit will be phased in
nationwide, but went into effect first in the western states.
These consumer credit reports compiled by Equifax, Experian,
and Trans Union reflect where one lives, how they pay their bills, and
whether they have been sued or filed for bankruptcy. The reports affect
whether a person can get a loan or credit card; they can also affect one’s
ability to get a job, rent a home, or obtain insurance.
Because of the significance of the reports, all consumers
need to make sure that the reports contain accurate, complete, and up-to-date
information. In addition, checking these reports regularly can help combat
identity fraud by seeing if someone has opened unauthorized accounts in
their name or if there are delinquent payments reported for purchases
that weren’t authorized or are completely unknown.
Once every 12 months, consumers may order their reports from
one, two, or all three of the nationwide reporting companies, separately
or at the same time.
According to the state Office of the Attorney General, one
way to “make the most of this opportunity is to order a report from
just one of the three credit bureaus, then wait four months to order a
report from another and, four months later, order a report from the third
The theory is that be repeating this process annually, consumers
may monitor their credit report regularly at no cost.
The three nationwide consumer credit-reporting companies
have developed several ways to take advantage of this opportunity.
Internet: https://www. annualcreditreport.com/ cra/index.jsp
Toll-free number: 1-877-322-8228
Annual Credit Report Request
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
(An “Annual Credit Report Request Form” is available
at the above Internet address.)
To access one’s own report several pieces of personal
information will be requested for verification purposes, including Social
Security number, work history, home addresses, and some specific account
The Most Wanted List:
This is the final installment in the “Weed Wars”
series, profiling the final two of nine selected non-native plants that
are deemed the most invasive by the author. Previous articles may be viewed
on this site in the April 15, 22, and 29 archives.
* * *
SPANISH BROOM (Spartium junceum)
Family: Fabaceae (Legume Family)
Other Common Names: Gorse
Description: Shrubby to 10 feet tall. This plant is leafless
most of the year with hollow dark green, rush-like stems maturing into
woody brown branches. Leaves are linear, one-half inch long, and lacking
hair. Bright yellow, 1-inch flowers are pea-shaped and clustered along
stem tips. Seed pods are 2 to 3 inches long.
Reproduction: Prolific seeder. Seed explodes out of pods.
Habitat: Typically found in steep, disturbed areas in foothills
regions below 2,500 feet.
Background: Thousands of long-lived seeds are produced and
remain in the soil seedbank, so monitoring to prevent reestablishment
must occur. Spanish broom exists in the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River
and is expanding downstream.
Control: Dig out rootball entirely or cut down stems, painting
stumps with concentrated systemic herbicide.
PUNCTURE VINE (Tribulus
Family: Zygophyllaceae (Caltrop Family)
Other Common Names: Goatshead
Description: An annual plant with low, sprawling growth.
Leaves are compound with 4 to 8 opposite leaflets. Yellow, half-inch flowers
have 5 petals. Barbed seeds.
Reproduction: Heavy seeder. Seed punctures and attaches to
the feet, fur, and feathers of animals, as well as bike and car tires.
Habitat: Widespread in California on arid disturbed soils.
Background: Long-lived seeds require continuous monitoring
and control. Puncture vine can be injurious and poisonous to livestock.
Control: Hand pull or till when soils are moist, when plants
are young, and before going to seed. Apply preemergent herbicides to deter
seeds from germinating, or contact-type post-emergent, broad-leaved herbicides.
Biological control agents, puncture vine weevils have been released and
established in California providing moderate results.
* * *
Now that you’ve seen and read about some of the most
invasive plant pests of Three Rivers, it’s necessary to know what
steps can be taken to eradicate them. Depending on whether you enjoy ownership
of a riverside dwelling, ranching acreage, or a city lot, you will need
to tailor management techniques to your particular situation.
How to get started:
Try to prevent the most invasive pests from getting onto
your land in the first place. If they do...
with the weed’s life cycle (annual, perennial, shrub or tree) and
how it most commonly propagates. (This will indicate the type and timing
of control methods.)
—Identify the weed
populations that are most rapidly overwhelming desired vegetation. React
quickly when populations are small. Target the most threatening weeds
first, especially those that can easily expand into waterways or downhill.
best method or combination of methods for control. There are numerous
strategies available. If one doesn’t work, try another. Here are
preparation may include “grow and kill,” germinating as many
weed seeds as possible by watering, then eradicating them. Or, soil solarization
which cooks weed-seed infested soils by covering them with a clear plastic
tarp during the hot summer months, killing both weeds and seeds.
methods include hand pulling, tilling, cultivation or weed-whacking. (Treatment
may need to be repeated as weeds grow and germinate.)
methods utilize pre- or post-emergent/contact or systemic herbicides.
torching, steaming, burning, or grazing are practical weed solutions.
Proper timing is essential.
control agents are host-specific insects introduced in order to feed on
weed seed or plant parts.
—Continue to monitor
your property as well as its peripheries for potential invasions.
—In cleared areas,
replant with desired plants to help deter future invasions.
or failures to establish if new controls are needed.
is an on-going commitment as weed seeds can remain viable in the soil
seedbank for years.
—Talk to your neighbors
about the importance of keeping Three Rivers as pest-free as possible.
Melanie Baer-Keeley is a restoration horticulaturist at Sequoia-Kings
Canyon National Parks. These articles were initiated by Diana Glass of
Century 21 Three Rivers and sponsored in part by Sequoia-Kings Canyon
in Three Rivers,
1981 ~ 2005
Jesse Daniel Sindelar, formerly of Three Rivers, died Tuesday,
May 10, 2005, at Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia due to injuries sustained
in a car accident. He was 24.
A memorial service will be held at St. Anthony Retreat in
Three Rivers on Monday, May 16, at 7 p.m., with a fellowship gathering
Jesse was born Jan. 4, 1981, in Tarzana. Shortly thereafter,
Jesse moved with his parents, John and Teri, from Southern California
to Three Rivers, where he continued to reside until two years ago.
Jesse attended kindergarten through eighth grade at Three Rivers Union
School. He graduated from Exeter Union High School with the Class of 1999.
Following high school, Jesse went to work with the U.S. Postal
Service as a clerk at the Three Rivers Post Office. In addition to his
other duties, he greeted and assisted customers daily in Three Rivers
for five years until his transfer to Exeter where, for the past two months,
he has been a route carrier.
In 2003, Jesse relocated to Visalia. In his Feb. 18, 2005,
“Neighbor Profile” in The Kaweah Commonwealth, this is what
he wrote about his move:
“Even though I
live in Visalia now, it’s like I never left Three Rivers because
I’ve worked here, my friends are here, and I hang out here. Growing
up in Three Rivers, we had the freedom to go and do what we wanted. As
kids, we had some great adventures and could just roam the hills and always
find something to do. The community here is like one big family. In the
city, it’s a lot different. It’s more confined as to what
you can do or cannot do. Three Rivers will always be home to me.”
Jesse will be deeply missed by his parents of Visalia —
father and best friend John Sindelar and his loving, devoted mother, Teri
Sindelar — his younger sister, Devon; his girlfriend, Nicole Sexton;
his grandmothers, Florence Sindelar and Patricia Rodstrom; and many uncles,
aunts, cousins, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in
Jesse’s name be made to Children’s Hospital Central California,
9300 Valley Children’s Place, Madera, CA 93638.
1933 ~ 2005
Frances Joyce Perez of Three Rivers died Tuesday, April 26,
2005, of pulmonary fibrosis. She was 71.
Frances was born in Ontario, Canada on June 12, 1933. When
she was 18, she moved to the Los Angeles area to be near her sister.
She initially worked for the Bank of America, then went to
work for a large law firm, where she was a longtime bookkeeper.
Upon her husband Tony’s retirement in 1991, the couple moved to
In addition to her husband of 45 years, Tony, who lovingly
cared for Frances during her extended illness, Frances is survived by
her son, Tony Jr., and sister Mary of Florida.
On Saturday, April 30, a “Celebration of Life”
service was held at the First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.
Notice of Death
Janet Smith, 46, of Three Rivers died Tuesday, May 10, 2005.
Services will be private.