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  In the News - Friday, SEPTEMBER 3, 2004


And a giant is named…

The first since 1938, and probably the last

Individual or groups of outstanding Big Trees in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have been named for men and women specially honored or loved, for Presidents and other national or local personalities. Those chosen to be honored and the stories associated with them are part of the fascinating local history. Other trees have been given names which suggest their appearance or condition. And at one time, nearly every state had a giant sequoia named in its honor. The location of many of these trees is not known…

                          —AND THE GIANTS WERE NAMED,

                              BY FERN GRAY, CA. 1950

   Last Saturday, August 28, Sequoia National Park officials did something they haven’t done in the last 66 years. They officially named a giant sequoia.
   What prompted the break with the no-more-names policy was a request by Don Murphy, deputy director of the National Park Service. Murphy was in Giant Forest in 2003 to celebrate the centennial of Colonel Charles Young’s impressive achievements as a military superintendent of Sequoia National Park in the early 20th century
   Young, the first and only black superintendent of Sequoia National Park, along with his segregated detachment of “Buffalo Soldiers,” completed the first roads to Giant Forest and Moro Rock and was also instrumental in improving many of the park’s earliest trails. In 1903, there was an effort to name a giant sequoia tree after Charles Young, but he chose instead to convey that honor on another prominent African-American, Booker T. Washington.
   Ironically, the location of that giant sequoia was lost for many years until Ward Eldredge, a park researcher, began delving into Young’s legacy in 1998. Through his correspondence with an archivist from Wilberforce, Ohio, Eldredge was able to rediscover the location of that tree, which was dedicated at the 2003 ceremony.
   But Saturday, Colonel Charles Young, who died in 1923 while serving his country in Africa, finally got a tree named in his honor. He was also the third African-American to graduate from West Point, an experience that contained some obvious hardships as Young once described it as an experience he would not wish on his worst enemy if he was a man of color.
   A ceremony was held at the base of the new Colonel Young Tree, located 200 yards off the Moro Rock road just east of the Auto Log.

  “At this ceremony today, we are doing something we may never do again,” said Dick Martin, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks superintendent, who officiated. “By dedicating this tree, we are ensuring that the Buffalo Soldiers and their story in these parks will be preserved and enhanced.”
Deputy Director Murphy said the honor was a longtime coming.

  “All Americans should be proud and appreciate the accomplishments of Colonel Young,” Murphy said.
   Other parks’ officials attended the tree-side gathering and a contingent of Young family members. Dennis Russell and Cheryl Dawson, great-grandson and great-granddaughter, helped the superintendent unveil the new “Colonel Young Tree” sign.
   Dawson, who traveled to Sequoia from Los Angeles, said she was honored by what the NPS had done to recognize her great-grandfather.

  “I want to bring folks here from Los Angeles so that they can be proud of Colonel Young, a great American,” Dawson said.
   A new trail linking the Auto Log parking area with the popular Bear Hill trail was constructed to provide easy access for those who want to visit the tree.

  “This particular giant sequoia was selected for several reasons, one being its proximity to the Booker T. Washington Tree,” Eldredge said. “When visitors come to the area they will be able to easily find both trees.”
   The historic day also included a Buffalo Soldier encampment and traveling museum at Lodgepole. These exhibits were coordinated by Vision Quest of Tucson, Ariz., and depicted the history of the Army’s two segregated African-American companies — the 9th and 10th cavalries.
   Shelton Johnson, an interpretive ranger from Yosemite National Park, was instrumental in the day’s celebration of history. He donned the uniform of a Buffalo Soldier and became Sergeant Elizy Boman from Spartanburg, S.C., who served a tour of duty with Troop K of the 9th Cavalry in Sequoia and Yosemite at the turn of the 20th century.
   The black men of the 9th Cavalry were some of Sequoia’s first park rangers. Johnson has single-handedly ensured that their contributions will never be forgotten.
   Johnson, 45, explained that the only way for “coloreds” to survive in the 19th-century South was to cultivate “an attitude.” It was this attitude, explained “Elizy,” that prompted him to head west and join the Army.
   In recognition of Johnson’s living history program, he has received the Freeman Tilden Award, the highest honor given by the National Park Service for excellence in interpretation and education.

Douse it, snuff it, drench it because…

No fires are allowed

   In August alone, there were five accidental, yet human-caused fires within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Although firefighters responded quickly and prevented each of the fires from spreading, it seems to be an indicator of things to come. In an effort to ensure that a major wildland fire does not occur, the Park Service has increased fire restrictions within the parks’ boundaries.
These restrictions are at the highest level since 1996. They will remain in effect until further notice.
—In any backcountry or wilderness areas throughout the parks, no matter what the elevation.
—At the Hospital Rock or Ash Mountain picnic areas.
—At Potwisha, Buckeye, or South Fork campgrounds.
                                                 * * *
   In addition, no smoking is allowed except within an enclosed vehicle. Extinguish the cigarette in an ashtray; never discard a cigarette by throwing it out a vehicle’s window.
   Gas or propane cooking stoves are permitted in all campgrounds. They may also be used in the backcountry above the 6,000-foot elevation.
   Campfires and barbecues are allowed in established campgrounds, with the exception of the three foothills campgrounds mentioned previously.
   This week, Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument implemented these same restrictions. Information regarding these fire rules and regulations is available at park entrance stations, visitor centers, and ranger stations.

Still Water’s 3R roots run deep

Band performs at River View this weekend… again


   When local rockers Still Water return to the River View for shows Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, don’t be too surprised to see the place jammed. This weekend is traditionally summer’s last big blowout, and Three Rivers’ best-loved bar band is back playing their own brand of rock music.
   Bars that furnish a venue for live music are indispensable to up and coming bands like Still Water. Nobody in these parts does it better than the River View — offering musical talent the opportunity to perform and build a local following.

  “In the last three to four years, we’ve played more than 50 dates at the River View,” said Tony Quintel of Three Rivers, Still Water’s vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. “We get the satisfaction of playing with each other and can share that feeling we get from the music with our audience.”
   Much of Still Water’s distinctive music has evolved from playing at the River View and other local gigs. Last year, Still Water played their first Jazzaffair and proved to be quite a departure from the traditional jazz featured at the local festival.
  Earlier this year, the band released their first CD entitled Dive Into It. Still Water’s first recording contains 17 original songs and was mixed by Mark Shuklian at his Sound of Light Studio in Visalia. Tony Quintel wrote the words and music for nine of the tracks while the other eight are the works of Julie Doctor of Three Rivers, Still Water vocalist, guitarist, and harmonica player.

  “Julie’s not afraid to make a statement in her music, and she is a very talented storyteller,” Quintel said of his creative counterpart. “In contrast, my lyrics are more ambiguous and open to interpretation.”
   The varying styles work well in Still Water’s musical repertoire, which is reminiscent of the innocence of the early 1970s.

  “I guess you could say our music reflects a more simple time before everything in the [music] industry went huge,” Quintel said. “My songs are inspired by personal feelings while Julie’s are more honest and straightforward.”
   There really is no leader of the six-member band and no title track on the CD.
   Quintel said he is greatly influenced by Neil Young and the songwriting duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney and the Beatle’s incredible music.

  “An artist strives to have one or two hits in an entire career,” Quintel said. “At one time, the Beatles had eight or nine songs in the top 10 at the same time.”
   The other players of Still Water are Rosie Conway, congas, percussion; Margie Scholta, vocals, percussion; Jeff Webb, bass, vocals; and Kevin Yee, drums, saxophone, and vocals.
Quintel said someday he hopes the band can take their music on the road to more people and places.

  “Right now our goal is having a good time writing and performing,” Quintel said. “We have an unconditional love for each other and have fun just playing together.”

Driver hurt in single-vehicle rollover

   On Sunday, August 29, Skylar Fordahl, 20, of Three Rivers was injured when his vehicle left the roadway, hit an oak tree, then plunged down a steep embankment near the Salt Creek Bridge on Highway 198. Fordahl was westbound at 5:30 p.m. when he lost control of his 1994 Chevrolet Suburban.
   According to Greg Fox, the Highway Patrol officer at the scene, the cause of the accident was an unsafe turn at about 40 m.p.h. that caused the driver to overcorrect, swerve across eastbound lanes, and then careen back across the roadway.
   After the impact with the tree, the vehicle overturned and landed on its top.

  “We‘re not quite sure what happened after he hit that tree,” Fox said. “The driver is very lucky to be alive.”
Fordahl had facial abrasions and swelling, so was airlifted to University Medical Center in Fresno as a precaution. There was no evidence of alcohol at the scene.


Dottie Duckworth
1910 ~ 2004

   Dorothy Marie Duckworth of Three Rivers died Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2004, in Visalia. She was 93.
   Dottie was born Dec. 26, 1910, in San Francisco to Madge and James Selbicky. She was raised and educated in Monterey.
   Dorothy married George Duckworth in 1940. In 1985, the Duckworths moved to Three Rivers to be closer to family.
   Dottie was longtime member of the local Koffee Klan bowling league. She was a member of St. Clair’s Catholic mission and was locally renowned for her home-canned jams and preserves.
   Dottie was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, George, in 1987 and her two sons. She is survived by nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
   Services will be held at a date to be announced. Remembrances in Dottie’s name may be made to St. Clair’s or St. Anthony Retreat (P.O. Box 429, Three Rivers).


Dance instructor keeps students on their toes


   I moved to Three Rivers in August 2003 and started teaching an adult beginning ballet class at the Cort Gallery. I started with one student, who still attends my class. Each season, my class at the Cort Gallery has continued to grow.
   For years, I have wanted to uphold the legacy of the Aments, my instructors for 15 years. I really want children to love the performing arts and have the experience I did growing up with ballet.
   My goal is to teach them the technique and discipline to further their education in dance if they wish, so I obtained a job at Three Rivers Union School, teaching ballet for The Heritage Project.
Unfortunately, The Heritage Project has ended, but Sue Sherwood, TRUS superintendent, asked me to continue teaching at the school. This means the ballet classes now have to be paid for like any other dance studio.
   I have researched prices of ballet classes in the valley and have come to a very reasonable decision on prices for the ballet classes in Three Rivers. I am proud to say that you cannot take an acceptable ballet class in the valley for less.
   In November, I plan to do an excerpt from The Nutcracker Ballet. If anyone has any fundraising ideas to assist with costume and set expenses, please contact me.
   I hold immense feelings of gratitude for everyone at the Cort Gallery and Three Rivers Union School for making me feel welcome and giving me a chance.
   Amy Rigau can be reached at 561-4866. For a schedule of her upcoming ballet classes for children and adults, go to the Kaweah Kalendar page on this website.

Summer softball league concludes

   The Poison Oak summer men’s softball league concluded last week with the Holly’s Backcrackers team victorious in both the regular season and tournament, the first team to win both league trophies since 1995.

  Members of the championship team are: Mike LeFave, Tod Johnson, Jim Lieskovan, Dennis Mills, Kent Owen, Greg Fox, Darrell Rich, David Mills, Mike Wright, Bob Burke, Donnie Stivers, Jim Vines, Darren Rich, Darren Long, D.J. Long, Jonathan Peltzer, and J.W. Norris. Holly Crain Peltzer, owner of Sierra High Chiropractic is the sponsor of the team.


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