1995 ~ March 2005
the past decade,
been telling readers
they won't read, hear,
see anywhere else!
In the News -
Friday, JUNE 17, 2005
When Kathyrn Yarnell was in Three Rivers last weekend for
her daughter’s wedding, she brought her beloved dog Tammy along
for the ride. And why wouldn’t Tammy be invited? After all, Tammy,
a 15-year-old, extremely devoted Australian shepherd was just like one
of the family.
In her golden years, Tammy had lost her hearing and most
of her eyesight, but she still had an adventurous nature. Last Saturday,
June 11, when someone inadvertently left the gate open in the yard at
Gateway Lodge, Tammy headed down the road to check out the neighborhood.
A short time after Tammy disappeared, Yarnell was frantic
to find her missing best friend and companion. Later that day, a local
resident spotted Tammy near the old Hammond fire station on Mineral King
Road more than a mile down-canyon from the Gateway.
“By Sunday, we
still had no idea where she was,” Yarnell said. “We searched
everywhere and passed out flyers all over town. When we drove home later
that night, we still had hope that maybe somebody had found her and taken
On Monday, Yarnell expanded the search via the Internet and
received several offers to help, including one from the Best Friends Animal
Society, based in Kanab, Utah. They contacted a network of animal lovers
and offered some advice and local contacts who might be able to locate
On Monday afternoon, rafters who were on a trip with Kaweah
White Water Adventures saw a dog matching Tammy’s description floating
in the river in some vegetation near the shoreline behind the condominiums
in Pumpkin Hollow. The rafters notified Glenn McIntyre, owner of the Gateway,
who relayed the news to Yarnell at her home in Malibu.
Nobody knows for certain what happened but it appears that
Tammy was on her way back to the Gateway.
became thirsty, slipped on a rock and fell in,” Yarnell said. “Once
she was in the water, she just couldn’t lift herself out of the
Yarnell said it seemed somehow appropriate that Tammy died
in such a beautiful and spiritual place. Noah’s Friends Animal Sanctuary
of Orange Cove made Tammy’s final arrangements and even offered
to help Yarnell and her husband, Don, find a new dog when the time is
“We are overwhelmed
by the outpouring of all the caring people in Three Rivers,” Yarnell
said. “We want to continue our connection with Three Rivers. It’s
like a dream to find a place so beautiful and people so wonderful.”
THE KAWEAH RIVER continued to prove it is treacherous territory
when, on Tuesday, June 14, four teens attempted to raft the Middle Fork
between North Fork Bridge and Three Rivers Golf Course without being accompanied
by a professional guide or even wearing lifejackets. Although a 911 call
was reportedly placed, all were able to get out of the water prior to
the arrival of emergency assistance.
Earlier this week, at an elevation of 714.5 feet above mean
sea level, Lake Kaweah reached the highest level since its creation 43
years ago. All the extra acre-feet that are being stored translates in
the basin to a 21-foot gain in elevation made possible by the recent construction
of the largest fusegates on the planet.
But even with all that beautiful water, Lake Kaweah is not
actually filled to the brim. The current water level is a scant six inches
from spilling over the fusegates.
Phil Deffenbaugh, Lake Kaweah manager, said it is quite a
sight to behold each morning as down-canyon winds cause water to spray
over the six fusegates that make up the new spillway for Terminus Dam.
Deffenbaugh and his dam-tenders are keeping a very tight
control on water levels so engineers can check the dam and the new dike
at the Best Western for seepage or any unexpected wet spots.
to maintain the level right where we want it because it’s easy to
manage the snowmelt,” Deffenbaugh said. “Rainfall would be
hard to manage because it comes in so fast.”
What it all means is that for the next few days, the average release at
the dam will be just about equal to what’s flowing into the basin.
The majority of that inflow comes from the Middle Fork of the Kaweah.
Deffenbaugh said by the end of the weekend, water levels
will begin to gradually drop as the outflow is increased.
“So far everything
is working just like it was designed to work,” Deffenbaugh said.
The greater capacity will also mean a larger pool in winter
when the lake traditionally becomes little more than a large puddle. Deffenbaugh
said the new 12,500 acre-feet minimum pool will be enough water for winter
recreation and will ensure good fishing in the off-season.
At the Wednesday, June 15, quarterly meeting of the Three
Rivers and Lemon Cove Business Association at St. Anthony Retreat, new
officers and the board of directors were installed that included Jerry
Harris of the River Inn as membership chairman. Harris told the gathering
that he was disappointed that only 10 people had turned out at last April’s
meeting so he formed a committee to get more community members involved.
Harris credited Christy Wood and David McDermott for the
roomful of people at the current meeting and the membership renewals that
are coming in with regularity. Participation in the local business organization,
which is now more than a decade old, is really starting to cook once again
with enthusiasm, he said.
Wayne Lance, Holiday Inn Express general manager, outgoing
Business Association president, and the new board’s interim secretary,
introduced Mark Tilchen, Sequoia Natural History Association executive
director, as the new president (2005-2007). Tilchen deferred his remarks
so several speakers could furnish updates on tourism issues and the current
season’s business outlook.
ALLEN ISHIDA, county supervisor, said that there will be
lots of positive changes in county government, and its many departments
will become more efficient. Connie Conway, the current chairperson of
the Board of Supervisors, did something unprecedented, he said, by asking
each department to produce a business plan.
One piece of legislation that would have designated portions
of Sierra Drive in Three Rivers as a scenic highway has been tabled, Ishida
said, but the proposal could be revisited in the county’s general
ALEXANDRA PICAVET, the public information officer for Sequoia
and Kings Canyon National Parks, said no road construction is currently
being undertaken on the Generals Highway. The relocation of the General
Sherman Tree parking area is proceeding and should be completed by next
There is also discussion, Picavet said, relative to raising
the parks’ entrance fee to $20 per vehicle from the current $10.
If approved, the new fees would go into effect in 2006. The revenue would
be earmarked to pay for a new Giant Forest shuttle.
Annual passes would not be increased from $30 so most local
users would not be affected, Picavet said. Mineral King will be getting
a new “iron ranger” in a couple of months at Lookout Point
where visitors will able to make an electronic payment for an entrance
Crystal Cave, which is the parks’ number one “paid
attraction” with 60,000 annual visitors, has recently undergone
extensive trail restoration work. The on-going work being done by volunteers
is exposing some incredible formations, Picavet said.
PHIL DEFFENBAUGH, Lake Kaweah manager, said rangers and staff
survived the busy Memorial Day weekend with limited facilities.
“Lemon Hill on
Memorial Day was probably not the best place to be, but a lot of people
were there,” Deffenbaugh said. “Next year, come high water,
we won’t have the same problems because we expect to have a new
boat ramp and more parking at Slick Rock.”
STEVE LARSON, resource manager, spoke on behalf of the Bureau
of Land Management (BLM). Larson said the agency’s local focus would
remain the collection of fees at the North Fork sites and the reduction
of visitor use at the popular riverside sites.
“I was at Cherry
Falls on Memorial Day and was certainly glad that I was with a law enforcement
ranger,” Larson said. “There were some scary looking individuals
The North Fork recreation sites have a notorious reputation
for criminal activity and are a known hangout for Valley gang members.
Larson said the fee program and the stepped-up enforcement have really
BILL TIDWELL, on behalf of the Three Rivers Memorial District,
thanked the gathering for their support in the recent election. He said
some of the repairs to the Memorial Building that the board is considering
include upgrading the electrical system and replacing the worn-out flooring.
MARK TILCHEN, incoming Business Association president, concluded
the meeting by introducing plans to produce a new, more comprehensive
brochure that is intended to promote Three Rivers.
“I think by everyone
working together we can really enhance tourism,” Tilchen said. “If
we do it right, we can help the business community and still preserve
the unique quality of our town.”
During the next few weeks, National Park Service fire crews
will be undertaking hazard-fuel reduction projects in the vicinity of
the Ash Mountain parks headquarters and Hospital Rock picnic area in Sequoia
National Park. In addition to igniting prescribed fires, the project includes
mechanical treatments such as the cutting of brush and weeds.
The overall project consists of 11 segments, averaging one
to two acres, in the six-mile section between the Sequoia Park entrance
station (elevation 1,500 feet) and Hospital Rock (elevation 2,700 feet).
Each of the segments are located near park buildings, residences,
and high-use picnic areas. Reducing hazard fuel in these areas is a fire-prevention
technique that will deter the spread of accidental fire.
Ignitions will occur when conditions are favorable and will
be coordinated with the Sam Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
In all segments, the ground fuel is dried grass and scattered brush.
For more information about this or other upcoming burn projects,
Two events scheduled for next week in Visalia will include
something for everyone.
Conference for and about senior citizens—
According to Sarah Shena of Three Rivers, an attorney for Tulare County,
all those interested in the welfare of seniors or vulnerable adults are
invited to participate in a free conference on Thursday, June 23, from
8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Lampliter Inn, 3300 Mineral King Ave.,
Visalia. The event will include several speakers, roundtable discussions,
and more to address a dozen or more important issues. Entitled “Serving
and Protecting Seniors and Vulnerable Adults,” Sarah will speak
about elder-abuse prevention methods.
There will be several other speakers throughout the day,
and the keynote speaker is Dr. Linda J. Hewett, co-director and neuropsychologist
from UCSF/Fresno Alzheimer’s and Memory Center.
All those in attendance will receive a free continental breakfast
and lunch. Space is limited, so call 730-2553 to register.
Comedy tour stops at Visalia church—
Jarrod McClintick, who was raised in Three Rivers, is making quite a name
for himself on the comedy circuit. And he is guaranteeing that you will
“laugh your face off” if you attend one or both of his performances
on Saturday, June 25, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., at the New Hope Christian
Church, 2800 W. Walnut Ave., Visalia.
Jarrod, 22, performs under the name of “Jarrod Mac”
and is currently one of the youngest, regularly performing, professional
comedy/magic entertainers. He has traveled the nation performing via television,
radio, comedy clubs, theaters, universities, yacht cruises, corporate
events, and churches.
He will treat his audience to an evening of comedy and magic
during “The Upside-Down Comedy Tour.” The event will provide
a hilarious evening of entertainment to all who attend — singles,
couples, and families.
Advance tickets are available at a discount — $10 or
a package of four tickets for $32 (available at Visalia Christian Supply
or New Hope church).
Tickets will also be available at the door — $12 or
a package of four tickets for $40. Senior citizen tickets are always $8.
For information about the show, call (877) COMEDY-2. For driving directions,
1936 ~ 2005
Edward Edwardsen died Tuesday, May 24, 2005, in a Palo Alto
hospital after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.
as he was known to his friends, was born in Three Rivers on Jan. 18, 1936,
to Edward and Marie Edwardsen. He was the third of four children.
He graduated from Woodlake High School and served in the
U.S. Air Force during the Korean War before receiving an honorable discharge.
Ed was best known for his colorful stories, his sense of
humor, and his heart of gold. From an early age, he enjoyed fishing; in
the Kaweah River as a young boy and, later, deep-sea fishing on the Central
He was well known and highly respected in the fishing community
and known to all as “The Mighty Captain Ed.” He always had
a joke at the ready to make his friends laugh, a kind word for a stranger,
and plenty of advice for the new fisherman.
Needless to say, he told his share of fishing tales, however,
with Captain Ed, most of them were true.
Ed was also a very creative man, adept at woodworking, carving,
and painting. He loved making pieces of art for his family and friends,
most of which had a maritime theme.
Ed was preceded in death by his wife, Emma; his parents;
brother Charles; and nephew Mark Edwardsen.
He is survived by his daughter, Laura Juergens of Menlo Park;
sons Anthony Edwardsen of Colorado and John Rocha of Visalia; sisters
Christina Edwardsen of Visalia and Betty Kilburn of Woodlake; nieces Ann
Kilburn Baker of Davis, Lisa Kilburn-Maino of San Luis Obispo; nephew
David Kilburn of Atascadero; grandchildren Brett Rocha and Brandy Wilson
of Visalia, Derek Juergens of Oregon, Alexa Lockwood of Palo Alto; and
There will be private memorial services at sea.
The family requests that any donations in Ed’s name
be made to the American Cancer Society (download a form at: www.cancer.org/downloads/DON/formdonation.pdf
and mail to: American Cancer Society, ATTN: Web, P.O. Box 102454, Atlanta,
In September 1890, Sequoia National Park was created and
this allowed the opportunity for local entrepreneurs to pursue other vocations
besides farming and ranching.
The Britten family, who settled on homesteads farther up
the South Fork canyon in 1888, was among the first to realize the economic
potential of having a nearby national park. Following the death of patriarch
Hudson Britten in 1892, the family moved down-canyon to settle in the
Old Three Rivers area.
In 1897, two of Hudson’s sons — Ernest and Noel
— built the first general merchandise store in the area. The Britten
Brothers General Store was located on the north (left) side of what today
is the entrance to South Fork Estates at its junction with South Fork
In the store was also a post office and, eventually, a telephone
In 1913, the Brittens built the two-story Three Rivers Lodge,
located on the low knoll on the right (south) side of today’s South
Fork Estates entrance. This was operated by Noel Britten and his wife,
“We had lively
times there,” recalled Viola “Viva” Britten Hallford
(1906-2004), Noel and Nellie’s daughter, in the book The Woodlake
11-Class of 1924: A History of Woodlake Union High School by John Elliott.
“There were usually five or six men from the Edison Company, the
telephone line service, or the Park Service living with us. Also, the
school teacher, Miss Collier, who was my third-grade teacher at Three
Rivers School, boarded at the Lodge.”
people stayed overnight on their way to Giant Forest or Mineral King,”
she continued. “Colonel White, the superintendent of Sequoia National
Park [1920s], his wife and infant daughter, his secretary, and the assistant
superintendent Dan Tobin lived with us while the Ash Mountain headquarters
was being built. When the new cement highway was built [Highway 198],
the contractor, his wife, and daughter Edna lived with us.”
And about her parents, Noel and Nellie Britten, Viva said:
“I was very privileged to have a mother and father so dedicated
to the family. Being part of a loving family and active in the community
came easy to me.”
In addition to the Three Rivers store he owned and operated,
in 1900, Ernest Britten was also the first permanent ranger appointed
in Sequoia and General Grant national parks.
In 1938, the Britten family built a new market on Highway
198 and relocated from the old store. Today, the Three Rivers Market is
still in operation.
The Three Rivers Lodge was destroyed by a fire in 1940.
In 1998, the Three Rivers Historical Society commemorated
the contributions of the Britten family to the community by placing a
plaque on the old store site. At that time, the family, including Viva,
gathered to honor their pioneer descendants.