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the News - Friday, AUGUST 27, 2004
On Sunday, Aug. 22, Fred R. Burnham II, the grandson
of Major Frederick Russell Burnham (1861-1947), presided at a gathering
at the Three Rivers Cemetery to honor Major Burnham and his enormous contribution
to scouting. The ceremony was held at the Burnham gravesite to dedicate
a bronze plaque that will adorn the granite obelisk that serves as Major
Life of adventure
leads to Three Rivers
Burnham, who in his illustrious career earned the reputation
as the “Chief of Scouts,” rode with legendary mountain man
Kit Carson and former Civil War generals. It was from these men, while
working in the Arizona territory, that Burnham learned to be a scout.
In 1896, while in the service of the British crown in Rhodesia
(known as Zimbabwe since 1980), Burnham became the mentor of then-Lieutenant
Colonel Robert Baden-Powell. In 1908, Lord Baden-Powell founded the Boy
Scouts, inspired by the teachings of Major Burnham.
In that same year, Burnham bought 5,000 acres of land in
Three Rivers, five miles up the South Fork (now formerly known as the
Wells Ranch). He ran cattle there and, during the summer, took the herd
to higher pasture at Hockett Meadows.
Although Burnham was orphaned at the age of 13 and had only
one year of formal schooling, during his eventful life he was a war hero,
a world adventurer and explorer, miner, banker, prospector, developer,
conservationist and, due to his apprenticeship as a newspaperman, an accomplished
writer and author.
He dined with Queen Victoria, was a friend of presidents
Calvin Coolidge and William Taft, and personally supported the efforts
Gifford Pinchot, first Forest Service chief, and then-President Theodore
Roosevelt in their unprecedented conservation movement of natural resources.
Tribute to Burnham
Three Rivers Boy Scout Troop No. 323, led by Tom Warner, scoutmaster,
spruced up the Burnham-Blick family plots and served as Burnham’s
Honor Guard. Three Rivers scouts Ben McFadden and Aaron Lineback, both
ninth-graders, conducted the flag salute and Jeff Kellogg, assistant scoutmaster,
offered his services to properly mount the bronze plaque.
Rob Kolb, a Sequoia Council district director of the Boy Scouts of America
from Visalia, spoke on behalf of the scouts that were present and the
impact that scouting has had on so many.
“Today, there are
more than five million scouts, and more than one million have achieved
the rank of Eagle Scout,” Kolb said. “Scouts strive to be
prepared, to have strength of character, and be good citizens.”
But the day belonged to Frederick R. Burnham II, the Major’s
grandson, who said that the principal purpose of his coming to Three Rivers
was to honor a great American. Though he never really knew the Major because
he died in 1947 when Frederick II was two years old, he admitted his life
has been greatly influenced by the remarkable achievements of his grandfather.
According to the younger Fred Burnham, there were two outstanding
qualities that made the Major extraordinary.
“He had this power
of observation that was learned,” Burnham said. “And he chose
to keep integrity in his life by refusing drugs, alcohol, greed, and avarice
in searching for the truth from others.”
Burnham continued by saying that our responsibilities as
scouts in a post-modern world are an even more valuable resource.
“Develop your own
integrity and powers of observation,” Burnham advised. “Don’t
compromise your integrity by telling lies or falling for the temptations
of the easy life.”
Burnham, who lives in Tucson, Ariz., used the event to launch the Frederick
Russell Burnham Historical Society. Those in attendance at the intimate
ceremony have been proclaimed honorary charter members.
The mission of the fledgling non-profit group is to “further
the ideals associated with Major Burnham, the famed California scout who
taught scouting to Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts.”
The plaque was cast to record the passing over the years
of other family members who followed in the Major’s footsteps. All,
according to Frederick Burnham II, were extraordinary personalities in
their own right.
Pete Craigmoe of Lemoore coordinated the Three Rivers visit
of Burnham-Blick family members and friends. Craigmoe has researched the
life of Major Burnham for 38 years.
In October 2003, Craigmoe, under the pen name Peter van Wyk,
completed a 568-page biographical novel entitled Burnham, King of
More information about the book may be found at burnhamkingofscouts.com.
Sequoia Park pays tribute
Sequoia National Park was created in 1890 — only the
second in the nation after Yellowstone (1872) and mere days before General
Grant (renamed Kings Canyon in 1940) and Yosemite. Before the Park Service
was created in 1916, the U.S. Cavalry watched over the new federal lands.
From the summer of 1891 through 1913, it was military officers
assigned by the War Department who supervised Sequoia and the other national
parks, except for one year, 1898, when a civilian was appointed due to
the Spanish American War. The U.S. Cavalry was charged with eliminating
poachers, grazers, loggers, miners, and more from the park lands.
These acting superintendents never served more than two summers,
although most were at the helm for just one season (approximately May
through October). Captain Charles Young (1864-1922) supervised Sequoia
during the summer of 1903, the first and only African-American to do so.
And a giant is named...
Tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 28), Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
Parks will commemorate the historic contributions of Young, who ultimately
reached the rank of U.S. Army colonel, to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
Parks with a daylong series of events.
In 1903, there was an effort to name a giant sequoia tree
after Young. Young instead humbly chose to name a tree after Booker T.
Last August, during the centennial celebration of Charles
Young’s superintendency, which included a rededication of the Booker
T. Washington Tree, Donald Murphy, National Park Service deputy director,
directed Sequoia Park to follow through on the proposal of 100 years before
and name a tree for Colonel Charles Young.
As a result, tomorrow’s commemoration will include
the opening of a new trail that leads to the newly designated Charles
Young Tree. Representatives of the Charles Young family will also unveil
the sign at the base of the tree.
This is an event unprecedented since the early 20th century
as the Park Service long ago discontinued the tradition of naming Big
The last Buffalo Soldier…
A special guest at tomorrow’s event will be Shelton
Johnson, an award-winning Yosemite National Park ranger who singlehandedly
has revived the Buffalo Soldiers of the 19th century through his living
history program. Ranger Johnson will take on the persona of Sgt. Elizy
Boman of the 9th Cavalry during two half-hour performances.
He will portray this long-forgotten Buffalo Soldier by wearing
full uniform and carrying authentic equipment. He will bring the history
of all Buffalo Soldiers and their accomplishments to life.
St. Anthony renews
Open house will
tours and talks
After rumors of impending closure, the St. Anthony Retreat
Center will prove that it is very much open and vitally active during
an open house planned for the community of Three Rivers. On Sunday, Sept.
12, from 2 to 7 p.m., guided tours of the facilities and manicured grounds
will be offered and presentations provided on the history of the center
and outlining plans for its future.
The Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara established the
St. Anthony Retreat Center in 1963. In October 2003, the facility was
leased to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.
The retreat center hosts numerous groups and organizations,
offering lodging for up to 100 people, meals, and conference facilities.
The St. Anthony staff, consists of three chefs and a team of kitchen assistants,
business manager, booking agent, concierge, maintenance person, groundskeeper,
The retreat director is Rev. John Griesbach, a priest of
the Diocese of Fresno and native of Tulare. He was appointed by Bishop
John T. Steinbock, the head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.
In addition, the Bishop has proven that the local Diocese
is dedicated to purchasing St. Anthony by developing a five-year plan
to raise $7 million. The funds will also be used to renovate the 40-year-old
facilities, establish a nonprofit foundation, and build a youth camp and
conference center that will be located on 17 acres of contiguous property
that was donated by Ollie Craig, a longtime Three Rivers resident and
“Today, the mission
of St. Anthony Retreat Center remains the same as it was when under the
direction of the Franciscans,” said Rev. Griesbach. “To offer
a peaceful, comfortable, and hospitable setting for individuals or groups
seeking a contemplative environment for their meetings or for personal
prayer and reflection.”
Also a priority of the Diocese is that St. Anthony continues
to maintain connections with Christian and other religious groups, educational
institutions, service organizations, and the Three Rivers community. As
a diocesan retreat center, it also is an extension of every Catholic church
in the Central Valley.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno is comprised of eight
Central California counties and has a Catholic population of over 600,000
A tale of two Toms
The following story is from the July 27, 1973, issue of the
Sequoia Sentinel, when Jack and Virginia Albee were the publishers:
“On July 1, 1973,
Tom Pappas of Three Rivers broke the world record in Gyako-zuki. The previous
record was held by Aaron Banks of New York City. The competition was held
at the Porterville Armory in Porterville.
“The word Karate
means ‘empty hands’ and Gyako-zuki translates to ‘reverse
punch.’ This doesn’t mean a backwards punch, it is like a
‘straight right’ in boxing. In other words, left foot forward
and right arm extended.
boards that are kiln and sun-dried for many weeks, the boards used in
record-breaking Gyako-zuki must be green and have resin. The boards measure
12x12x1-inch and are thoroughly examined by three Karate Black Belts to
be sure there are no splits or cracks and the wood is green.
“To beat the world
record, Tom had to break five boards, held in the hands of two Black Belts,
who in turn were supported by two other Black Belts.
“Tom thanked all
of Three Rivers for their support. He also thank his Sensei (teacher)
Jim Arwood and his sponsor Bob Dulay who has the Porterville Self Defense
Club and Karate. Tom is then shown with his trophy and the town celebrated
at the Village Square.”
* * *
Tom Pappas was a longtime resident and great contributor to the youth
of Three Rivers. As a founder of “Our Gym,” all the kids in
Three Rivers had a place to train for boxing, karate, tumbling, weightlifting,
ballet, tap-dance, and to perform “LIVE” on the stage at the
Tom had a no-holds-barred kind of counsel. He was a straight
He was also my most honored Sensei. There are lots of stories
from Three Rivers about Tom and his wife, Gene.
Let’s flash-forward 30 years. There is another Tom
Pappas, who is currently competing in the 2004 Olympics.
He is the great-nephew of our own Tom Pappas. Tom is competing
in the decathlon.
Tom the Olympian went to Greece in second place after the
qualifiers in Sacramento. All the aforementioned Toms are Greek, so it
means so much more to Tom to compete in the country of his ancestors.
His story has been written in ESPN News, Sports Illustrated
(on the cover, too), and this month’s Vanity Fair.
Tom (the Olympian) Pappas’s website is www.decatom.com.
The tradition continues for the Pappas family.
Our hearts are with Tom Pappas for the gold because he is
a gold kinda guy anyway. Read about him!
Olympic update: Tom Pappas, 27, who is the 2003 World
Champion and was a gold-medal contender at the 2004 Summer Olympics, had
to withdraw from competition this week after injuring a foot during the
pole vault. He was one of nine athletes who did not finish the grueling
event. At the time of his withdrawal, Tom was in fifth place after seven
of the 10 events. Bryan Clay, 24, of the U.S. received the silver medal
in the decathlon.
Eagle Booster Club
In June, the Three Rivers PTA was disbanded. To take the
place of a PTA, the Eagle Booster Club (EBC) was created.
One of the primary reasons for disbanding the PTA was that
it was decided to no longer pay dues to the National PTA organization.
Instead, all monies raised by the EBC will stay at Three
Rivers School and be used to support the students and staff.
The membership fee will remain $5 per person and can be paid at the first
general meeting to be held during Back-to-School Night, scheduled for
Tuesday, September 14.
Membership is not limited to just parents. Any community
member that would like to support the EBC is welcomed as a member.
The EBC has many new faces, new ideas, and lots of enthusiasm.
Thanks to the following parents for volunteering to serve as board members
for our first year:
Dyann Graber, president; Wendy Woods, vice president; Lora
Gomes, secretary; and Heidi Crouch, treasurer.
Currently, the primary focus of the EBC is preparing for
the annual Community Halloween Carnival. This year’s carnival will
be held Saturday, Oct. 30, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Board members and volunteers have been working on carnival
preparations throughout the summer.
“We think this
year’s carnival will be the best yet,” said Mo Basham, a TRUS
parent and EBC volunteer. “We plan to have many of the familiar
booths back again and are reviving some of the booths that have not been
seen for a while. Anyone remember the Obstacle Course?”
Mo reported that the group is also working on some new booth
ideas and the group welcomes input.
“We can use all
the help we can get,” she said. “The EBC would really like
to revive the Haunted House for this year’s carnival, but do not
have sufficient members or volunteers to take on this project.”
The EBC is currently seeking community members or an organization
who would be willing to take on this project.
Additional activities and projects the EBC is working on
Artist of the Month— Assist with identifying and scheduling
local artists for school presentations.
Eagle Spirit Rally— The spirit rally/awards assembly
for TRUS was so successful last year that it will be continued this year.
The event is both memorable and enjoyable for the students as they are
recognized for academic accomplishments, citizenship awards, and attendance.
Teacher Appreciation— We will work with room representatives
to identify a variety of ways to make sure our teachers feel appreciated.
The next Carnival committee meeting will be held Thursday,
Sept. 2, 6 p.m., in the TRUS library. As of Sept. 1, EBC board meetings
will be conducted on the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in
the TRUS library.
To assist with the Carnival or to oversee the revival of
the Haunted House, contact Wendy Woods, 561-4715, any EBC board member,
or attend the Carnival committee meeting next week.
Legend of the fall
WHS football opener features
Leo Robinson Field dedication
Each August, back-to-school elicits the whole gamut of feelings
from students who wish summer lasted longer to parents who pine for year-round
programs. But to a legion of Woodlake High fans, back-to-school means
one thing — football.
This season, the second for the Woodlake High varsity Tigers
under Coach Brian Costa, kicks off with a very special dedication prior
to the opening game at home vs. Tranquillity on Sept. 10. On that historic
night, a bronze plaque on a monument in the southeast corner of the stadium
grounds will be dedicated.
The concrete monument, where the plaque will be installed,
is already inscribed with the words “Leo Robinson Field.”
All players who played for Coach Robinson, during his 41-year coaching
tenure at Woodlake School, have been invited to attend the dedication
ceremony and the football game.
The Woodlake High School Foundation is sponsoring the ceremony
and preparing the plaque featuring a likeness of “Coach,”
one of the most famous coaches in California high school football. A commemorative
program will also be available with a photo of each of Coach Robinson’s
Coach Robinson and his highly successful football program
came to epitomize Tiger Pride. He won a Central Section record of 291
games in 41 seasons as head coach at Woodlake.
While at Woodlake High, Robinson distinguished himself as
a teacher and coach working with three generations of young people. He
put Woodlake on the California map.
Woodlake High School Foundation members want to be certain
that the community understands the distinction between the naming of the
football field for Coach Robinson and the name “Robinson-Painter
Memorial Stadium” for the facility itself.
In 1986, the stadium was dedicated to Dale Robinson (no relation
to Leo Robinson) and Robert Painter, who were killed in an RV accident
while on their way to a barbershop quartet competition in Sacramento.
Painter and Robinson were prominent Lions in Woodlake and improvements
were made to the stadium in their memory, including the addition of the
restrooms and snack bar.
On Sept. 10, the Leo Robinson Field dedication ceremony will
take place between the junior varsity and varsity football games at approximately
7 p.m. For ticket information and driving directions, call 564-3307.
When the seven fall sports teams at Woodlake High —
consisting of the football, volleyball, cross country, and girls’
tennis teams — enter the league portion of their schedules they
will be facing seven East Sequoia League (ESL) opponents instead of the
five they faced in 2003.
“This year, Immanuel
and Coalinga have joined the East Sequoia League,” said Frank Ainley,
Woodlake’s athletic director. “The changes were made to balance
the number of teams that play in the Sequoia division.”
Immanuel, a perennial Sierra division power, play their home
games in Reedley and have been on the schedule of most of Woodlake’s
teams in recent years. Coalinga, 70 miles west of Woodlake, presents more
of a transportation challenge.
be a problem this season in football because we get Coalinga at home on
Oct. 15,” Ainley said. “That’s also Woodlake’s
The tennis team and volleyball teams make their first visit
to Coalinga on Thursday, Oct. 21.
“We have 60 guys
out for football this season and they are looking very good,” said
Doc Harrow, longtime trainer for WHS athletes. “All the guys are
looking forward to the first scrimmage with Coast Union on September 3.”
Other ESL opponents include Dinuba, Lindsay, Orosi, Corcoran,
and Exeter. Tiger football concludes the regular season portion of their
schedule at Exeter on Nov. 12.
‘Patriots Wall’ underway
In conjunction with the community’s Patriots Day, scheduled
for and in memory of 9/11, the Woodlake Valley Chamber of Commerce is
also creating a “Patriots Wall,” in honor of all Woodlake
area and Three Rivers relations who are serving in the U.S. military.
The chamber would like information on anyone who is currently
in military service with ties to local communities. The “Wall”
will be located in a display window that is part of the Woodlake Hardware
To submit a service member for inclusion on the wall, deliver
a 5-by-7-inch photo, along with name and rank, and include information
about where they are currently stationed and if and when they are or have
served overseas. If appropriate, an anecdote, list of favorite things,
or any other pertinent information may also be submitted for the display.
If a mailing address is included for the “patriot,”
the chamber will forward community messages, letters, and well-wishes
as they are received.
Submissions may be mailed to: Woodlake Valley Chamber of
Commerce, P.O. Box 550, Woodlake, CA 93286. For more information or to
make delivery arrangements, call 564-3559.