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, AUGUST 19, 2005

Homeowner shoots

black bear

   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 the property.
   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 (916) 445-0045.

   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 bear-proof:
—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 pick-up day.
—Be sure to keep barbecue grills clean.
—Pick up fallen tree fruit and put away pet food and bird feeders at night.
—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.

WHS hires

new principal

   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.

  “When you’ve 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 management.
   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, August 18.

Woodlake High alum

invited 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:

County supervisor

meets with constituents

   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 nights.
   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

on November ballot

   No seats will remain vacant, but no new candidates expressed an interest to run for several offices that would be up for election come November.
   Two vacancies were announced for the Three Rivers Community Services District. Appointed incumbent Michael Cannarozzi retained his seat unopposed.
   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 their seats.
   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.


Professional trainer

teaches 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,

loses 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 face.
  For more on Sara, see below.


Mary Bronzan, a lifetime

in Three 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 District Cemetery.
   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 —
Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 685
Three Rivers, CA 93271

Sara Ruehling succumbs

after 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:

  “Leukemia stole 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.’

  “Sara’s seventh 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.”

Mike Maynard,

Korean War veteran
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.

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