In the News -
Friday, AUGUST 19, 2005
Earlier this month, a North Fork Drive man shot and killed
a black bear that was trying to claw its way into his home through a window
screen. The incident began shortly after 11 p.m. when the commotion awakened
the man from a sound sleep.
“I heard the scratching
on the screen and something in the bushes in front of my house,”
he said. “With my flashlight, I could see that it was a bear trying
to get in my window.”
The man said he hollered at the bear and threw some rocks
but the bear seemed intent on entering through the window. At that point,
the man fired one shot that felled the determined critter.
The man notified personnel from the California Department
Fish and Game at 11:30 p.m. and a game warden was dispatched. The warden
arrived in Three Rivers approximately 90 minutes later. The
deceased bear was loaded into the warden’s vehicle and removed from
To date, the property owner has not been cited though officials
are asking, when possible, that they be notified prior to any action that
might be taken.
This recent encounter with a local black bear was one of
the more tragic during a very busy local season. Wildlife experts attribute
the greater number of encounters this year to a lingering spring that
caused several bears to stay in the Three Rivers area rather than make
their way to the higher elevations during the summer months.
Ongoing bear activity has been reported throughout the season
in Alta Acres, Cherokee Oaks, and along North Fork Drive. State wildlife
officials estimate there are at least three or four bears making nightly
rounds of various Three Rivers locales.
California has a large black bear population, estimated to
be between 16,000 and 24,000 animals. One hungry bear is capable of causing
thousands of dollars of property damage in a single incident.
The best way to avoid conflict with bears is prevention.
People who visit or live in bear habitat like Three Rivers have a responsibility
to the wildlife whose habitat they are sharing.
Property owners in Three Rivers need to take additional precautions
with the storing of trash and garbage in bear-proof containers and monitor
carefully pet food that is placed outdoors.
Refrigerators and freezers that are stored outside the house
should be securely locked. Even dirty dishes can attract a bear to enter
through an open window.
If you encounter a bear behaving aggressively, the incident
should be reported immediately. During regular business hours, the reporting
party should contact the Fresno office of Fish and Game by calling 243-4005.
There is also an after-hours hotline available day or night by dialing
LIVING IN BEAR HABITAT
Bears are attracted to anything smelly or edible, especially
garbage. Bears are also attracted to bee hives, orchards, and gardens.
Follow these guidelines to help keep your home and property
—Deodorize garbage cans with bleach or ammonia.
—Double-bag garbage to help eliminate odors.
—Separate “wet” garbage and keep it in an air-tight
and odor-tight container. Freeze meat bones or other smelly items until
—Be sure to keep barbecue grills clean.
—Pick up fallen tree fruit and put away pet food and bird feeders
—Close windows at night on accessible ground floors and decks.
—Don’t leave food on or near a window sill or on a counter
near an open window.
—Securely block access to potential hibernation sites, such as crawl
spaces under decks or buildings.
—Install bear-proof garbage and compost containers.
Just three days before the start of the 2005/2006 school
year, looking to fill an unexpected vacancy, Steve Tietjen, superintendent
of Woodlake Public Schools, announced the appointment of Tim Hire as the
new principal of Woodlake High School. Hire, the former assistant principal,
succeeds Mark Babiarz, who resigned Friday, Aug. 12, to become principal
at Selma High School.
Tietjen said that the Selma district has been interested
in recruiting Babiarz for the past two years. When the position became
open this year, the timing was right for Babiarz to make the move.
Babiarz, a longtime resident of Selma, has worked the last
12 years at Woodlake, serving eight as assistant principal and then the
past four years as principal.
enjoyed success in your career like Mark has, it is a unique challenge
to return to work in your hometown,” said Tietjen. “It is
always difficult to make a change just before the new school year, but
we are confident that Tim [Hire] is right for the job and he’ll
be with us for a long time.”
Among Woodlake students, Hire has a reputation as a disciplinarian.
He has been at Woodlake for eight years.
Prior to his appointment as assistant principal four years ago, he was
an ag teacher at the school. He has a background in both teaching and
The high school board is expected to take action at its next
meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 7, to make Hire’s appointment official.
“We have notified
all the area districts that we are recruiting an assistant principal,”
Tietjen said. “It’s a difficult time of year for any school
to make changes but we have to deal with the cards we have been handed.”
Tietjen also announced that Michael Schiperoort, a Cal Poly
graduate, has been hired as the new ag teacher at Woodlake High.
The 2005/2006 school year at the high school began on Thursday,
Woodlake High alum
to ‘All Class Reunion’
If you have ever set foot in a class at Woodlake High School,
whether in 1925 or 2005, then you’re invited to the All Class Reunion
that is currently being organized.
“We began planning
for a 1964 to 1974 reunion,” said Judy (Waldrip) Alsing, head of
the reunion committee. “But we instead opened it up to everyone.”
This unprecedented event will be held at the Radisson Hotel
in Visalia on Saturday, Sept. 24, with a social hour (no-host bar) from
6 to 7 p.m. and a dance from 7 p.m. till midnight.
Tickets are $25 per person if purchased before Saturday,
Aug. 30, or $35 after this date (includes appetizers, desserts, photos,
live music, “oldies” music by a DJ, and more).
On Sunday, Sept. 25, from noon to 5 p.m., alumni and their
extended families are invited to a reunion picnic at Mooney Grove in Visalia.
It’s free ($6 park entrance fee); bring your own picnic and all
your family members.
Registration forms may be obtained by calling Judy Alsing
at 786-2067 or emailing her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Supervisor Ishida took office, one of the promises he
made was to meet with his Kaweah Country constituents as often as his
schedule would permit. Last week, he continued to make good on that promise,
conducting town hall meetings in Lemon Cove and Three Rivers on consecutive
On Wednesday night, a large turnout met Supervisor Ishida
at the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church. The hot button issue was the recent
budget cuts in county fire protection that earlier this year effectively
closed the Lemon Cove Fire Station for lack of staffing.
Ishida used the meeting to introduce Steve Sunderland, Tulare
County’s new fire chief. Sunderland, a longtime resident of Porterville
and a 30-year department veteran, admitted that he was inheriting a very
difficult set of circumstances.
The situation at Lemon Cove, he said, could only be improved
when paid-call firefighters are assigned to work out of the Lemon Cove
station. Currently, there are no local paid-call personnel with the necessary
training to operate Lemon Cove’s equipment.
Chief Sunderland said that plans to train local volunteers
could move forward when the “training chiefs” are trained
to implement the program. The training for a paid-call firefighter to
be allowed to drive a fire engine, he said, takes approximately 100 hours.
“Because of this
budget situation we find ourselves in with the State of California, paid-call
firefighters are now the backbone of our fire protection system,”
Ishida said. “We need to attract some younger volunteers from Mehrten
Valley and Lemon Cove who will step forward and meet this challenge.”
Ishida said he has confidence in the new chief to get the
job done. But, like the folks in Lemon Cove, he wants to see some results.
At Three Rivers on the following evening (Thursday, Aug.
11), the atmosphere was more relaxed. Ishida told that gathering that
on behalf of several Three Rivers parents, he is looking into the possibility
of using a portion of the county’s library property for a small
toddlers’ park. If grant money is secured, he expects the county
to approve the $48,000 project.
“The critical issues
are liability and maintenance just like they are in trying to turn the
old fire station over to the local community,” Ishida said. “We
[the county] are trying to use the Community Services District (CSD) as
the tenant on these projects to oversee operations.”
Ishida said he hopes
to have the fire station re-use project before the board of supervisors
in late September. The project entails several local community groups
sharing quarters inside the former Three Rivers Fire Station on South
Fork Drive at Highway 198.
Approval, he said, should be forthcoming pending review of
the terms and conditions.
No local elections
No seats will remain vacant, but no new candidates expressed
an interest to run for several offices that would be up for election come
Two vacancies were announced for the Three Rivers Community
Services District. Appointed incumbent Michael Cannarozzi retained his
The second seat, vacant due to the resignation of Marge Ewen,
will be filled by Rex Black, the only candidate to file for the position.
Three incumbents — Robin Kauling, William Tidwell,
and David Sherwood — were up for reelection on the Three Rivers
Memorial District and all three re-filed with no other candidates filing
by the deadline.
It’s the same story for the Woodlake Memorial District
and the Woodlake Fire District Commissioner. The incumbents will retain
An extension of the nomination period to Wednesday, Aug.
17, occurred for the Sequoia Memorial District. This is because two incumbents
didn’t file by the original deadline and allows any candidate other
than the incumbent to file for the office.
pets about rattlesnakes
A Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinic was held in Three Rivers on
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13 and 14, at the River Ridge Ranch on North
Fork Drive. Amanya and Paul Wasserman hosted nationally-acclaimed dog
trainer Patrick Callaghan, who trained 58 dogs over the weekend to recognize
and avoid rattlesnakes.
And, oh yes, one cat, too.
Several local businesses sponsored the clinic, including
Lone Oak Veterinary Clinic, Heskill’s Feed Depot, the Osborne Foundation,
and The Kaweah Commonwealth.
Mike Wright of Three Rivers, Will Klipstine of Sherman Oaks,
and Paul Wasserman handled the rattlesnakes, all of which were defanged
and muzzled. There is talk that a new, exclusive “Three Rivers Snake
Handlers Club” might be formed!
As part of the training, dogs were led to the snakes so they
learned to recognize and avoid rattlers by sight, smell, and sound.
Each dog was asked to approach three rattlesnakes. In front
of the third and final rattler, the dogs were turned loose by the handler
and, without fail, all 58 dogs (and one cat) made a definite and distinct
path around the rattlesnake and to their owners.
The pet owners learned how to look for their dogs’
different reactions to rattlesnakes, so they will be able to recognize
them in the event that a snake is nearby.
The Wassermans plan to organize another Rattlesnake Avoidance
Clinic next summer.
Comb Fire nears 5,000 acres
As of Thursday, Aug. 18, the Comb Fire had burned 4,785 acres.
It has moved beyond the Kings Canyon park boundary and spread into Sequoia
National Forest’s Monarch Wilderness. The lightning-caused fire,
discovered July 22, is being managed as a “wildland fire use project,”
meaning it is closely monitored but being allowed to spread naturally.
The Deer Cove and Lewis Creek trails remain closed in this area.
This week, seven more lightning-caused fires were discovered
— six in Kings Canyon and one in Sequoia. Sequoia’s “Bowl
Fire,” located between the High Sierra and Middle Fork trails, was
suppressed as was one in Kings Canyon. The other five, along with the
East Creek Fire discovered previously, are all above 8,000 feet elevation
and being allowed to burn.
Sara Ruehling, 6,
battle with cancer
Two days before her seventh birthday and what should have
been the first day of her second-grade year at Three Rivers School, Sara
Ruehling succumbed to cancer.
In February 2004, Sara was diagnosed with biphenotypic acute
leukemia, a rare form of cancer. After receiving radiation treatment and
chemotherapy, to which she at first responded, Sara and her family were
informed that her prominent cancer had reverted to myelogenous leukemia
(bone marrow cancer).
In May 2004, a local blood drive was held on Sara’s
behalf. Following the event, the Three Rivers Lions Club, who organize
blood drives throughout the year in the community, reported that this
effort resulted in the largest turnout ever for a Three Rivers blood drive
and surpassed all expectations.
Last year at this time, the Ruehling family had begun a desperate
search for a bone-marrow donor. The family themselves could not provide
the necessary tissue match since Sara is of Chinese descent and was adopted
by the Ruehlings at the age of nine months.
Sara’s desperate fight for life became a reality check
for Three Rivers residents on the nationwide shortage of potential bone-marrow
donors. An innocent victim of the monster known as cancer suddenly had
a face — a smiling, courageous, beautiful, and very, very young
For more on Sara, see below.
Mary Bronzan, a lifetime
Rivers, caring volunteer
1923 ~ 2005
Mary Evelyn Ellis Bronzan died peacefully at her home in
Visalia on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2005, with her family nearby. She was 81.
A graveside service was held Tuesday, Aug. 16, 10 a.m., at
the Three Rivers Cemetery. A memorial service followed at 11 a.m. at the
Community Presbyterian Church.
Mary was born Aug. 21, 1923, in Long Beach to Norma and Legrand
Ellis. The family moved to Three Rivers when she was an infant.
And, thus, began her lifelong love of the Three Rivers area.
Mary attended Three Rivers School and Woodlake High School and, in 1940,
graduated from Visalia High School. She attended the College of the Sequoias
and Oregon State College.
In 1943, while working at Treanor Equipment, she began dating
her boss, Andy Bronzan. The were married in December of that year and
throughout her married life, Mary was a partner with Andy in a number
of successful business ventures.
Mary was dedicated to the preservation of the valley oaks
and was a charter member of the Kaweah Oaks Preserve. She was also active
in the Visalia Garden Club and volunteered as a Kaweah Delta Health Care
District Guild member.
In Three Rivers, she volunteered at Three Rivers Union School
a nd The Thingerie and was a founding member of the Three Rivers Bookworms,
a Three Rivers Library support group. She was appointed by the Tulare
County Board of Supervisors to serve as the secretary of the Three Rivers
She also was a secretary of the Three Rivers Historical Society,
served on a variety of boards at the Presbyterian churches in Three Rivers
and Visalia, and also was a Sunday school teacher.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Norma and Legrand
Ellis and her son and his wife, Marc (1952-1998) and Barbara Bronzan.
She is survived by her husband of more than 61 years, Andy
Bronzan of Visalia; her daughter, Marsha Robbins of Atascadero; son David
Bronzan and wife Donna of Visalia; and her sister, Normita Error and husband
George of Hawaii. Mary also has seven grandsons of whom she was very proud:
Kevin Robbins, Travis Robbins, Jeff Bronzan, Brandon Bronzan, Curtis Bronzan,
Jared Bronzan, and Aaron Bronzan.
Remembrances in Mary’s name may be made to:
Three Rivers Historical Society
P.O. Box 162
Three Rivers, CA 93271
— and/or —
P.O. Box 685
Three Rivers, CA 93271
Sara Ruehling succumbs
18-month battle with leukemia
1998 ~ 2005
The time for Sara Aixin Curtis Ruehling of Three Rivers to
end her struggle against leukemia came on Monday, Aug. 15, 2005.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, Aug. 28, at 10:30
a.m., at the Quaker Meeting House (take the Farmersville exit off Highway
198, turn right on the frontage road, Avenue 296, and proceed east for
about one mile until the road turns north. The meeting house is on the
east side of that corner).
Sara was born Aug. 17, 1998, in Nanjing, China, and was adopted
by Ginger Curtis and Robert Ruehling on May 23, 1999, while they were
living in Boise, Idaho.
Sara and her family moved to Three Rivers in December 2001.
She started kindergarten at Three Rivers Union School in August 2003,
but was unable to attend the second half of her kindergarten year or any
of first grade on a full-time basis due to being diagnosed with leukemia
in February 2004.
Ginger and Robert also have one other daughter, Kelsey, who
just started her sixth-grade year at TRUS.
The unimaginable became reality for Sara and her family.
The past 18 months were emotionally, spiritually, and physically challenging
for her family.
The Ruehlings were assisted with Sara’s struggle against
leukemia by many incredibly wonderful people here in Three Rivers and
across the nation and internationally.
Sara’s family is eternally grateful and for the rest
of their lives will remember all the love, kindness, and thoughtfulness
shown to them during Sara’s fight for life.
The grieving parents of Sara write:
the opportunity to grow up and experience a full lifetime from a beautiful,
intelligent, spirited, tough, little girl. Many people attempted to give
Sara what most of us take for granted: many years to experience life,
to go to school, to learn, to have friends, to be a friend, to play, and
to just be like the ‘other kids.’
birthday would have been August 17.
“Through this experience,
we have learned that life and health are very precious and fragile commodities
never to be taken for granted. Children are especially precious.
“They have incredible
potential. They are our future.”
1935 ~ 2005
Darwin “Mike” Reed Maynard Jr., a 35-year resident
of Three Rivers, died Monday, Aug. 15, 2005, in Tulare. He was 70.
A public viewing will be held at Evans-Miller Exeter Chapel
(date pending). A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 27, 10:30
am, at the First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.
Mike was born Jan. 24, 1935, in Grand Rapids, Mich. He was
raised in Michigan.
The Maynards are a four-generation Navy family. Mike served
in the Korean War.
In 1967, Mike met his wife-to-be, Mona, in church. They were
married six weeks later.
In 1970, the couple moved to Three Rivers from Santa Monica
in order to raise their children in a small town. Here they were able
to teach their children to be excellent swimmers and attend a small church.
Mike was the chaplain of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars
(VFW) Post 3939 and attended the First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.
He enjoyed writing Christian and country-western songs.
He was preceded in death by two sisters and one brother.
In addition to his wife of 38 years, Mona, Mike is survived
by three daughters, Victoria (Vickie) Maynard of Three Rivers, Teresa
Hutchinson of Fresno, and Debra (Debbie) Bass of Lemon Cove; two sons,
Jeffrey Eugene Maynard of Loganville, Ga., and Stephen Paul Maynard of
Lodi; five sisters, Georgia Coulier and Ina Coulier, both of Hart, Mich.,
Carol Laugaritz of St. Helens, Mich., Kay Brimmer of Shelby, Mich., and
Maxine (Chickie) Snoap of Grand Rapids, Mich.; two brothers, Chuck Maynard
of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Tom Maynard of Waterloo, Iowa; 14 grandchildren;
and seven great-grandchildren.