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  In the News - Friday, AUGUST 27, 2004


‘King of Scouts’

honored at gravesite

    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 Burnham’s tombstone.

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 Scouts.
   More information about the book may be found at

Sequoia Park pays tribute

to Colonel Charles Young

   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. Washington.
   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 Trees.

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

commitment to community
Open house will

include 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, and housekeepers.
   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 philanthropist.

  “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 parishioners.


World championship

is in their blood
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.

  “Unlike exhibition 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 Memorial Building.
   Tom had a no-holds-barred kind of counsel. He was a straight shooter.
   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 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

takes wing

   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 include:
   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 teams.
   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.

Two teams

added to ESL

   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.

  “It won’t be a problem this season in football because we get Coalinga at home on Oct. 15,” Ainley said. “That’s also Woodlake’s homecoming game.”
   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 storefront.
   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.

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