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  In the News - Friday, MAY 21, 2004

 

  ONLY IN THE MAY 21 PRINT EDITION OF

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Park Service releases

draft management plan

 

Ready… set… start reading! It’s public-comment time for the just-released Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks draft general management plan, and those interested have 668 pages to digest by the deadline of Thursday, Aug. 5.
      The comprehensive two-volume document, which also includes an environmental impact statement and river management plan for portions of the Kings and Kern, has been in the works since 1997 with an original goal for completion by 2000. The purpose of the plan is to provide management direction for Sequoia-Kings Canyon for the next couple of decades.
      The general management plan is like a handbook that is used to guide administrative officials in the parks, current and future, as they make decisions regarding the area’s natural and cultural resources, park facilities, visitation, and visitor experiences. The last such guiding document prepared specifically for Sequoia-Kings Canyon was a “Master Plan,” adopted in 1971.

Worthy of protection
Located within the boundaries of Sequoia-Kings Canyon are the giant sequoia groves, including the world’s largest tree; glacially-carved canyons — Kings, Kern, and Tehipite Valley; the most rugged portion of the High Sierra and the highest mountain in the lower 48 — Mount Whitney; the second largest contiguous wilderness in the U.S. outside of Alaska; hundreds of unique marble caverns; and prehistoric and historic sites.

The choices
The draft general management plan consists of four alternatives that are under consideration. These include:
—No-Action Alternative.

—Preferred Alternative, which was selected because it would bring additional benefits to the parks in the most cost-effective manner.
—Alternative A, which would “emphasize natural ecosystems and biodiversity.”
—Alternative C, which would “preserve traditional character and retain the feel of yesteryear.”
—Alternative D, which would “preserve basic character and adapt to changing user groups.”
     Developed through previous public input, each of these alternatives have been found to support the parks’ goals while avoiding unacceptable resource impacts.

     “Alternative B,” on the other hand, has been removed from the plan. This alternative was considered, but ultimately rejected. It evolved from a suggestion to remove all development from the parks, including roads, but was deemed unworthy of the National Park’s mandate to “provide for public enjoyment.”

Also included
The river management plan is for the Middle and South forks of the Kings River and the North Fork of the Kern River, all of which have been designated by Congress as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system.
    The environmental impact statement, also included in the document, addresses the impacts of each of the alternatives addressed in both the general and river management plan.

Procuring a plan

Currently, there is no print copy of the plan available to the public. Although no specified date was given, hard copies will be “available soon” in the parks and at local libraries.
    The draft plan is currently available online at the parks’ website: www.nps.gov/seki. From this home page, click on “Management Docs” from the index on the right. From the management documents page, click on “Draft General Management Plan,” then from that page, click on “What’s New” to access the on-screen version.
    A CD of the two-volume plan is also available. Call Alexandra Picavet, parks information officer, at 565-3131, to request this version.

R.S.V.P.
Comments may be submitted via email or in writing. Be sure to reference “SEKI GMP” on all correspondence and, to further ensure comments are properly tracked, clearly state the correspondence’s subject matter by topic, alternative, chapter, or page number.
     Email is considered the most efficient way to submit comments. Send emails to:  susan_spain@nps.gov

Written comments may be mailed to:
NPS GMP Team Leader
Susan Spain
National Park Service - DSC
12795 Alameda Parkway
Denver, CO 80225-0287

Public meetings on the general management plan will be scheduled prior to the final document. Again, the deadline for submission of comments is Thursday, Aug. 5, 2004.


DFG seeks poachers

 

The Visalia office of the California Department of Fish and Game is requesting any information related to a reported poaching incident that occurred on Saturday, May 15. On that evening, a wild turkey was allegedly killed by one of two men who were seen shooting near the abandoned restrooms building in the vicinity of the old Three Rivers Airport.

     According to witnesses, at around 6 p.m., two men were indiscriminately shooting near the North Fork of the Kaweah River when they noticed a turkey in a nearby tree. After shooting the bird, a witness informed the shooters that it was illegal to hunt in the area.

     The two men reportedly replied that they were longtime residents and property owners and could hunt where they pleased. The pair then climbed into a late-model (possibly 2003 or 2004) “champagne-colored” Toyota Tundra pickup and drove away.

     The first suspect was described as a white male, approximately 60 years of age. He wore a baseball cap and has long, stringy gray hair. He is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs about 160 pounds.

The second subject was described as a clean-cut, white male in his mid-30s. He has a muscular build and a moustache.

     If arrested and convicted of misdemeanor poaching violations, the two men could be subject to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call Warden Mike Conley at the Visalia DFG office, 651-1711.

     All calls are strictly confidential and callers may remain anonymous. Through CalTIP (Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters), the caller is eligible for a cash reward if the information provided leads to a citation or an arrest.

 

Fisherman rescued

from East Fork

 

A recent Sunday fishing trip to the East Fork of the Kaweah River underscored the dangerous potential of the rugged canyon below the Mineral King Road. The May 9 incident began when relatives of Richard Faruzzi called the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department to report that the 46-year-old Hanford man had not returned home as expected on the night before.
   Jim Fansett, Three Rivers resident deputy, was dispatched up the Mineral King Road to check on Faruzzi’s last known whereabouts. Deputy Fansett located Faruzzi’s pickup parked alongside the road, 4½ miles from Highway 198.
   Deputies searched for Faruzzi and eventually located him and his dog in a very “cavernous” area of the river canyon. He told officers he was unable to climb back out of the steep terrain on his own.
   Members of the department’s technical rescue team and volunteers of the Sequoia Mountain rescue team were summoned and several hours later scaled the 200-foot canyon walls and secured ropes. The team then extricated the victim and his dog safely to the roadway above.
   Faruzzi declined medical treatment at the scene and was transported home by family members.


Lions special-use

permit approved

by John Elliott

 

On Wednesday, May 12, the Tulare County Planning Commission approved the application for a special-use permit for public events to be held at Lions Arena in Three Rivers. The multipurpose outdoor facility serves as the headquarters of the local Lions Club, and the events held there are major sources of income for the 57-year-old community service organization.

   “Wednesday's meeting was routine, and I think we [Lions] came out pretty well,” said Cal Johnson, club member who acted as a liaison on the application. “I presented some information as to where we park for events and the easements that make it legal.”

    Johnson said the club was asking for six amplified events annually, but the commission approved five. The annual events that were considered in the agreement were Jazzaffair, Team Roping, an “All-Town Dinner Dance,” and last weekend's Blues Festival.

    The Blues Festival, staged the last three years by NarcAnon, is different from the regular Lions events. For that event, the Arena is rented outright by that organization and managed internally.

    In addition to setting the number of amplified events at five per year, the Lions must file an “events management plan” at the beginning of each year, Johnson said.

    The responsibility of notifying the County of the club's plans annually will be the job of Maureen “Mo” Basham, a Lions board member. Basham is currently employed by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks as the safety officer.

    The concerns about the noise at recent Lions events were brought to the attention of the Planning Commission by Maya Ricci, who lives across North Fork Drive but within earshot of the club's microphones and amplifiers.

    “I don't think they're [the ‘noisy' events] are as big of a problem as some people seem to think,” Johnson said. “We can do as many events as we want to work and still be able to do all the things that the Lions do.”

 

NEW! First in a series...

ROADSIDE

ATTRACTIONS

The building of a

trans-Sierra route

by Sarah Elliott

 

Jordan Toll Trail — This series begins in the flatlands, which is where, more than a century ago, many an expedition began that led into the foothills and the Sierra beyond. In the 1860s, this was a new frontier in Tulare County, and many explorers and entrepreneurs made a bid to find the region's hidden riches, whatever they may be.

Mining was currently a successful venture ongoing on the east side of the Sierra. Tulare County businessmen, in an attempt to cash in on this activity, proposed to build a toll road from Visalia to Owens Lake.

     The Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved the project in March 1861. This trail is unprecedented since, to this day, there is no major highway in Tulare County that allows for east-west passage across the Sierra.

     Captain John Jordan and his son, William F. Jordan, received permission from the county Board of Supervisors to construct the toll road that would, according to the petition, “commence in the County road at George E. Long's residence passing through Yokohl Valley, and thence easterly across said mountains to [Owens] lake.”

     The Jordans were granted an exclusive right-of-way of 33 feet wide along the entire route under the stipulation that trail work begin within a year of Jan. 1, 1861, and be complete within two years.

     Upon the opening of the “wagon road and pack trail,” the Board of Supervisors would determine the toll rate that Jordan would “be at liberty to collect.”

In May 1861, the Jordans started construction near where the historical marker today commemorates the endeavor.     They followed Yokohl Creek to its headwaters at Blue Ridge, then proceeded along Lewis Creek and Bear Creek to Balch Park where, today, there is a giant sequoia named in John Jordan's honor.

     From there, the route turned south to the middle fork of the Tule River. After crossing the river and heading to Hassock Meadow, the trail traversed the south side of what is now called Jordan Peak.

     Heading east still, the biggest and deadliest obstacle turned out to be the Kern River, which flows south. Jordan actually built two routes, one of which crossed Cottonwood Pass at 11,600 feet that he called his “late summer route.”

     The early-season, original trail crossed to the east side over Olancha Pass, which is 9,500 feet in elevation.

According to John Jordan's great-great-grandson Larry Jordan, who hiked the old toll trail in 1995, Jordan and his party were the first white men to cross the Sierra Nevada in this region. In fact, the trail utilized several established American Indian trails.

     In May 1862, Jordan informed the Visalia Weekly Delta that his trail would be open to pack stock and wagons in the coming summer, allowing passage through the Sierra in just three days. Soon after, Jordan, his two sons, and two other companions traveled the trail to put the finishing touches on the easternmost portion.

     Tragedy struck and the course of history took a dramatic detour during the party's journey back west to notify the Tulare County Board of Supervisors that the trail was ready for travel. The weather had warmed since the men had previously crossed the Kern River, and snowmelt had now caused the river to swell, rendering it impassable.

     The party was halted on the east side of the river at Kern Flats with quickly dwindling food rations. Jordan was anxious to return to Tulare County, so the five men built a log raft and, on May 22, 1862, used it in an attempt to cross the river.

     In the middle of the crossing, the raft hit an obstacle and broke apart. The men fell into the swift current, but all were able to reach the shore except for one.

Captain John Jordan was swept down the river and with him went his trans-Sierra dreams. His body was never found.

     Jordan's sons didn't have the heart to continue their father's toll trail business. Over the next few years, a few expeditions took advantage of the trail, but it never became the profitable venture for which it was intended.

     On April 17, 1977, a plaque was placed on Balch Park Road by the Jordan family, in cooperation with the Tulare County Historical Society, in recognition of Capt. Jordan's efforts.

 

WHO'S NEWS

Assisted-living facility

prepares to open

by Sanya Haralson

 

Mountain Vista Assisted Living, located on Craig Drive in Three Rivers, will soon be opening. It is very exciting to have the opportunity to provide a necessary service for residents of Three Rivers who can no longer stay by themselves or those who are tired of taking care of a big house and yard and just want to let someone else do the cooking, cleaning, and landscaping.
    Our facility will be open for people 60 and older; male and female. The house that I purchased on Craig Drive has been remodeled to accommodate six residents comfortably.
    Three of the bedrooms and one bath are completely wheelchair-accessible. The other bedrooms and the second bathroom can easily accommodate anyone with a walker or cane.
    Services provided will be 24-hour supervision and assistance and three meals and snacks per day. Our manager, Dianna Sad, is a terrific cook, and we can provide for special diets.
    We will be providing transportation to local events, functions, and church. Trips will also be planned to Visalia for shopping and doctors’ appointments.
Supervised swimming and exercises will be available in our pool, medication supervision, and help with bathing and grooming as needed will be provided.
    Family and friends of our residents will be encouraged to visit anytime and often. Sunday dinners for family members will be served.
    We have a large deck with comfortable patio furniture for sitting and relaxing while looking at the incredible view of Moro Rock and Alta Peak.
    This project is something I have wanted to do for many years, and, lately, I have seen several longtime residents of Three Rivers having to leave their friends, church, and this wonderful community just to be able to get the care they need down the hill.
    Hopefully, we can prevent some of this from happening and allow people to remain in Three Rivers. I have been a registered nurse for almost 15 years, have a lot of experience, and enjoy working in the geriatric field. I have worked many years in the hospital on the medical and oncology floors.
    I have worked in nursing homes and, for almost five years, have worked for the state, inspecting nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
I now work part-time at Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia.
    I will be working at Mountain Vista and even when I am not there, I will be available for questions and emergencies.
    We plan to have an open house soon and hope that everyone will come and see what we have to offer as an alternative for those who can’t or don’t want to stay alone in their homes any longer. “Serene comfort and professional care” is our motto and it is my promise to the residents who live with us, their friends and families, and to the community of Three Rivers.
    For additional information, feel free to call me at 561-4588 or at the Mountain Vista facility, 561-3808.

 

Park plans

Redwood Canyon burn

 

Warm spring temperatures and dry conditions will allow for ignition of a prescribed fire this week in the Redwood Canyon area of Kings Canyon National Park. Named the “Quail Flat Prescribed Fire,” the burn is planned for 110 acres south of the Generals Highway with the objective being to reduce fuels along the road corridor and restore health forest conditions.
    The Park Service has also been initiating small grass fires in the Ash Mountain area of Sequoia National Park to reduce hazardous vegetation near buildings, homes, and picnic areas.
    These are two of nine prescribed fires planned within Sequoia and Kings Canyon this season. Five prescribed fires are planned in Kings Canyon National Park — four in the Grant Grove area and one in Cedar Grove — and four in Sequoia National Park — Ash Mountain, Giant Forest, Mineral King, and on the upper North Fork of the Kaweah River.
    Ignitions dates for the prescribed fires will be announced. Dates are scheduled through continual monitoring of fuel moistures, weather, availability of firefighting resources, and consultation with local meteorologists from the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District.

OBITUARIES

 

James Myers

1957 ~ 2004

James “Jim” Myers, a former resident of Three Rivers, died suddenly in Dearborn, Mich., on Friday, May 7, 2004. due to an aneurism. He was 46.
    Jim was born Dec. 16, 1957, in Nuremberg, Germany, to Darrell and Gertraud Myers. He was raised in Three Rivers, where he attended Three Rivers School and graduated from Woodlake High School in 1976.
    From 1980 to 1981, Jim served in the U.S. Army Special Forces as a Green Beret. He moved to Dearborn in 1984 and, at the time of his death, he was a group home manager.
    In 1985, Jim married the former Susan Torick.
    In addition to his wife of 19 years, Sue, Jim is survived by two daughters, Kelsey, 14, and Karisa, 9; his parents, Darrell and Gertraud Myers of Visalia; his sisters, Janette Regedal and Annette Coke, both of Visalia; and 15 nieces and nephews.
    Services were held Tuesday, May 11, 2004, in Michigan. A memorial service in Three Rivers will be held at a date to be announced.


Jack Smythe

1931 ~ 2004

Jack Owen Smythe of Three Rivers died early Sunday, May 16, 2004. He was 72.
    A memorial service was held yesterday (Thursday, May 20) at Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers.
Jack was born Sept. 8, 1931, in Highland Park. He served in the U.S. Navy for four years during the Korean War.
    Upon returning home from the war, he met the former Carol Jenni. They were married in February 1956.
    The couple resided in Los Angeles, where Jack was employed as a glazier. He retired from his career in 1987.
    In 1990, Jack and Carol moved to Three Rivers.
    In addition to his wife of 48 years, Carol of Three Rivers, Jack is survived by three children, Jackie and husband Thomas Tryon of Miami, Okla., Gerald Smythe and wife Joan of Exeter, and Jenni and husband Michael Rogers of Exeter; 11 grandchildren, ranging in age from 18 years to nine months; his brother, Hugh Smythe of Visalia; and his sister, Barbara Miller of Upland.


Daren Carter

1922 ~ 2004

Daren Ray Carter died Friday, Feb. 20, 2004, at his home in Lakeview, Ore. He was 81.

    Daren was born April 5, 1922, in Three Rivers to Floyd and Helen Carter. He attended Three Rivers School and Woodlake High School and, during the summers, he worked as a packer in Sequoia National Park.

    Daren served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and saw combat in the South Pacific. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Service Medal, and Sharp Shooter Rifleman Medal.

    Daren married Frances Lucille Kimberling, and the couple had three sons.

    After Lucille's death, he married Mary Barbara Holloway in Visalia. In 1967, they moved to a ranch in Lakeview. He retired in 1998 due to poor health.

    After Mary's death, Daren married his present wife, Re.

    In addition to Lucille and Mary, Daren was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Helen Carter, and son Donald.

   Daren is survived by his wife, Re; sons Daren Carter Jr. of Cottonwood and David Floyd Carter of Eugene, Ore.; daughter-in-law Phyllis Howard Carter of Billings, Mont.; five grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a cousin, Barbara Carter Milbradt of Three Rivers.

 

Mary Wells Price

1967 ~ 2004

Mary Wells Price of Lemon Cove died Thursday, May 6, 2004. She was 36.

    Mary was born in Exeter to Bill and Bonnie Wells. She was raised in the Exeter and Woodlake areas, attending local schools.

    She graduated from Exeter Union High School in 1985 and later graduated from the College of the Sequoias in Visalia.

    Mary is survived by her parents, Bill and Bonnie Wells of Lemon Cove; three sons, Matthew Wells of Lemon Cove, and Jake Lee Price and Jay Sterling Price, both of Woodlake; one brother, Michael E. Wells of Strathmore; two sisters, Donna J. Rice of Morrill, Neb., and Sarah M. Allen of Lemon Cove; her grandmother, Blanche Lewis of Norwalk; and 13 nieces and nephews.

   Interment was at Exeter District Cemetery.

 

Marguerite Davis

1922 ~ 2004

Marguerite Elizabeth Davis of Visalia died Friday, May 7, 2004. She was 81.

  Marguerite was a former resident of Three Rivers. During the 1960s and 1970s, she worked in the Three Rivers School cafeteria.

    Interment was at Exeter District Cemetery.

 

WOODLAKE

Police to target seatbelt violators

Drivers and passengers who dare not buckle up during Memorial Day weekend will be at risk of being ticketed by the Woodlake Police Department. In fact, nine Tulare County law-enforcement agencies will be out in force from Monday, May 24, through the holiday weekend to specifically seek out motorists and drivers who are not wearing their seatbelts to remind them to “click it or ticket.”
    This mass mobilization — which also includes the Exeter, Visalia, Tulare, Lindsay, Dinuba, Ivanhoe, and Cutler-Orosi areas — coincides with National Buckle Up America Week and is part of the California Seat Belt Compliance Campaign. Each community will have an additional four to eight officers on duty who will focus only on seatbelt and child-safety seat compliance.

   “How much is it worth not to buckle up?” asks John Zapalac, Woodlake’s chief of police. “Taking two seconds to buckle a seatbelt is the simplest thing a person can do to save their life.”
    It can save money, too. The maximum fine for seatbelt violations for persons 16 and older is $89 for a first offense and $191 for a second offense.
    And don’t even think about not buckling up a child. If children under 16 are not properly secured in a vehicle, drivers may receive one point on their driving record.
    The maximum fine for the driver with unrestrained children in the car is $371 for the first offense and $871 for a second offense.
    Children under the age of six, or who weigh less than 60 pounds, must be properly secured in a child-safety seat.
    Think you’ve got a good excuse? Think again, because they’re just not going to fly.
    The top excuses for the death-defying act of not buckling up are: (1) I forgot; (2) I’m only taking a short trip; and (3) Seatbelts are uncomfortable.
    Statistics prove that unbuckled drivers and passengers are at a much greater risk for ejection in a collision and, when they are ejected, they are four times more likely to die. But the good news is that 91.2 percent of Californians actually do buckle up every time they’re in a vehicle.
    This isn’t good enough for Tulare County law-enforcement officers, however. They are insisting on 100 percent compliance, so “click it!”


City moves forward

on improvements

by Amy Dolcourt-McElroy

 

Roadway Improvements— Construction along South Valencia Boulevard, Woodlake’s main thoroughfare, has slowed down traffic, but all will be back to normal at the end of the month. With funding from the second half of the Transportation Enhancement Activities grant (TEA-21) awarded to the City of Woodlake, Lee’s Construction is putting in sidewalks, curbs, and gutters in the 100 and 500 blocks of the main street.
    Awarded in 1999, the grant helps municipalities develop alternative transportation, such as sidewalks and bike paths. Last year, Woodlake used the first half of the grant to construct bike and walking paths on and below the Bravo Lake levee from the Wutchumna Ditch to the Woodlake Pride garden.
    Wastewater Master Plan— Moving closer toward the goal of modernizing Woodlake’s wastewater treatment process, the City purchased an 86-acre L-shaped property at the end of March.
    The property is bounded by Ropes Avenue on the north, the charreada grounds on the east, Avenue 338 (if it were to exist) on the south, and Road 204 on the west.
Woodlake currently sends wastewater through a primary treatment process and then percolates the effluent, which can lead to a buildup of nitrates in the ground. The modernization plan, which will bring the city up to Regional Water Quality Board standards, calls for several treatments of wastewater before piping the now cleaner effluent to the newly-purchased land for watering crops.
    The land will be leased to and managed by a private farmer for growing alfalfa, a water- and nitrate-loving crop that can be grown and harvested on a year-round basis.
    The City is now applying for funds from the State of California and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to modernize the 60-year-old water treatment plant, lay pipe to the new property, and prepare the land for planting. The City expects to implement the updated master plan by 2010.
   Increase to General Fund— At a public meeting Monday, April 12, the City Council voted to file a measure to be placed on the November ballot. The proposition would ask for an additional one percent to be added to the sales tax (7.25 percent). Revenue generated by the increase would be earmarked for the City’s general fund, of which 80 percent finances the police department. The remaining 20 percent pays for parks maintenance, general city administration, and planning and engineering services.
    If passed, the measure would become effective April 1, 2005, for a period of 10 years. The measure is estimated to generate $200,000 each year, increasing the general fund by 18 percent.




 

 

                             




 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 




 
THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
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