In the News -
Friday, SEPTEMBER 30, 2005
a future relocation
manager settles in
In the aftermath of the sixth summer of Delaware North Parks
Services in Sequoia National Park, Jamie Hodgson, the concessionaire’s
new general manager, reflected on his first busy summer season in the
local park. Hodgson assumed the company’s top job this past February
and is in charge of the daily operations of an exclusive Sequoia Park
contract that includes the 102-room Wuksachi Village, a store and deli
at Lodgepole, and the Bearpaw High Sierra Camp.
Hodgson is no stranger to the concessions business or busy
national parks. His most recent job with Delaware North was overseeing
several retail operations at Grand Canyon National Park’s South
Grand Canyon is one of the busiest national parks and annually
hosts nearly four times as many visitors as Sequoia and Kings Canyon National
Parks combined. Even though Hodgson was impressed with the beauty of the
canyon, he perceived the Sequoia job as a chance to branch out in his
own career and oversee a more diverse operation.
this job, there are more opportunities to interact with customers in the
lodging and retail sectors,” Hodgson said.
The interaction with customers and the development of marketing
strategies are what his training and experience have prepared him to do,
Hodgson said. After growing up in West Fargo, N.D., he received a B.A.
degree in hotel and restaurant management from North Dakota State in 1995.
first job was for another concessions company in Glacier National Park,
where I managed seven hotels,” he said. “In 2000, I went to
work for Delaware North in Yosemite.”
While there, Hodgson managed the Yosemite Lodge complex,
where he worked for two years until the Grand Canyon position came along.
In Yosemite, he also got to see how the Ahwahnee Hotel catered to its
guests in the setting of one of the great, traditional national park hotels.
After just 10 years on his career path, Hodgson is now married,
living in Visalia, and has two daughters and a son, ages nine months to
nine years. He said he plans to stay at the Sequoia job for a “long
Hodgson says that since Wuksachi opened in 1999, each year
has gotten progressively better for the company.
What DNPS is doing now, he said, is pinpointing where and
how they can improve.
shoulder-season months of May and September are a lot busier recently,
so now we are looking at April and October,” Hodgson said. “We’ve
benefited when Three Rivers [lodging] is full, and when we are full, we
send business to Three Rivers. It’s reciprocal.”
A number of new changes are in the works, like the company’s
impending move of its Three Rivers office next year to the Visalia Chamber
of Commerce’s building now under construction in the downtown area.
Hodgson says he is convinced that the new location will help
tap a market of visitors from the Central Valley, many of whom have never
even seen the Giant Forest.
will change relative to our relations with the Three Rivers community,”
Hodgson said. “I will still be spending at least three days a week
in the park and we will continue to have a presence in Three Rivers.”
Orange’ya glad it’s back?
Giant balloon flies again
Hodgson succeeded Tom McFadden, who had been Sequoia’s
general manager throughout the construction in 1998 and opening of Wuksachi
Village the following year.
McFadden is still working for Delaware North Parks Services,
overseeing the company’s concessions in Yellowstone National Park.
When the first big orange balloon that flew above the Orange
Tree Restaurant in Lemon Cove disappeared sometime during the night of
Sunday, Aug. 28, nearly everyone who stopped in or drove by on Highway
198 noticed. That’s because the 12-foot in diameter, helium-filled
balloon flying 100 feet into the sky had become quite an attraction.
Bob McKellar, owner of the eatery and produce mart that opened
this past summer, put the balloon up to focus attention on his grand opening
that was held in early September. Some person or persons set the first
balloon loose by climbing on the roof and cutting the tether.
Although a $100 reward was offered for information about
the act of vandalism, the location of the first balloon or how it disappeared
is still not known. Not to be deterred, the owner ordered a second balloon
to be custom-made and it has flown proudly above the property since September
really missed seeing that big orange up there, and it helped our customers
to remember to stop by and see us,” said Juanita Garcia, the Orange
Juanita said that on windy or stormy days, as a precaution,
they now take the balloon down. Weather permitting, she said, the big
orange balloon will continue to fly high to grasp the attention of all
Fire season not yet over
As evidenced this week by the massive wildland fire in the
San Fernando Valley hills, California could be in for a typically nasty
fall fire season.
The unusually wet spring and summer brought bountiful vegetation
that could make for serious fires under the right conditions of temperature
Campers and hunters should be extra vigilant about extinguishing
their campfires that, currently, are only permitted in developed campgrounds
as fire restrictions remain in effect on public lands.
These restrictions include no wood fires, barbecues, or smoking
outdoors on public lands below 6,000 feet except in developed campgrounds.
By adhering to these seasonal rules, the risk of an accidental human-caused
fire is greatly reduced.
The restrictions are in effect on National Park Service,
U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management lands until further
For California property owners, a new DVD entitled “California
Living: Fire Safe — Controlling Nature’s Wrath” is available
that offers motivation and advice on how to create defensible space around
property, identify potential fire hazards, and create a fire-safe landscape.
Viewers will also learn how neighbors can help neighbors
minimize wildfire threats through the work of community groups.
Hosts Vicki Liviakis, a wildfire survivor and television news reporter,
and Craig Miller, a county sheriff’s search-and-rescue unit member,
offer personal accounts to illustrate practical tips and helpful instructions
on how to achieve these fire-safe goals.
The production and distribution of this 26-minute DVD was
funded by the nonprofit California Fire Safe Council, FEMA, and other
organizations. To order a free copy, call the California Department of
Forestry and Fire Protection’s Visalia station, 732-5954.
Red Cross needs volunteers
The Tulare-Kings chapter of the American Red Cross is currently
in need of volunteers, whether for a single event or several times a month.
As citizens have witnessed during the past month, American
Red Cross volunteers are often the first responders to assist victims
of disasters. In addition to hurricanes, volunteers assist victims of
flood, fire, earthquakes, and more.
Locally, volunteers provide Community Disaster Education
and first aid, CPR, swimming and water safety, and babysitter preparedness.
The Red Cross also needs volunteers to translate for non-English
speakers, nurses who can offer medical care, and office workers with knowledge
of accounting, finance, public relations, website development and maintenance,
administration, and information technology.
For more information, call the Tulare-Kings Chapter of the
American Red Cross, 732-6436, or drop in at the office at 505 W. Main
Luncheon launches new
The Three Rivers Woman’s Club opens the fall season
with its annual introductory luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at noon, at
the Three Rivers Memorial Building. There is no charge for the luncheon,
which is open to all women of the community.
Woman’s Club President Anne Hayes extends a special
invitation to newcomers and stay-at-home mothers to attend and get acquainted.
This year, babysitting is being offered for the first time to enable mothers
with young children at home to socialize, have fun, and extend their circle
joined the Woman’s Club because I didn’t know anyone outside
my peer group and I wanted to meet new people,” Anne said. “This
is a very enjoyable group and a great way to participate in the community
and make new friends. We hope to welcome lots of new faces at the October
The Woman’s Club has been a center of society in Three
Rivers since its inception in 1916.
Meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month from October
through June. A social interlude is followed by a short meeting and a
program of entertainment.
The club is both social and philanthropic. Through their
efforts this year, $20,000 was donated to worthy causes throughout the
area, including scholarships, the Community Food Pantry, Comfort for Kids,
Children’s Hospital Central California, Kaweah Delta’s Sequoia
Cancer Center, and area schools.
The club’s income is derived principally from The Thingerie,
an enormously popular thrift shop established in 1980. Club members have
the opportunity to support the community by working at The Thingerie three
hours a month if they choose to do so. It also provides a great way to
meet new people.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Tigers dominate Spartans
After searching for a spark in the first two non-league road
games, the Woodlake Tigers (1-2) used last week’s home opener to
put it all together and steamroll the Strathmore Spartans (2-2), 39-7.
It was a total team effort and was Woodlake’s best performance since
the post-season in 2003.
ran 65 plays and had 465 yards of offense,” said an elated Coach
Costa after the game. “When we play that kind of football, we can
Woodlake’s offense was like a thundering herd in the
second half, but it was the defense at the outset that set the tone. In
the first series, Steve Tindle, a junior tackle, made two aggressive stops
as the swarming Tigers made a statement: Not in our house!
After a Spartan interception of a Woodlake pass, junior QB
Ryan Baker, in only his second game this season, settled down and found
some time to throw to his talented receivers. After a key catch and another
run by senior all-purpose back Daniel Tiller, Baker found senior wide
receiver Jose Marquez open in the middle for a 36-yard scoring strike
and Woodlake led 6-0.
On the ensuing drive, Baker completed key passes to sophomore
John Gomez and senior Souk Stephens. A six-yard TD run by junior Carlos
Acosta gave the Tigers a 13-0 halftime lead.
But the Spartans refused to roll over and play dead, and
they scored on their first second-half series, trailing for a time by
What happened on the next series was the key to winning the
game and showed Woodlake’s fans that this year’s team has
character. When an opponent gets on the scoreboard, good teams find a
way to answer.
For these Tigers, Tiller’s 49-yard run was the “answer”
and the offense quickly reclaimed the momentum just when it looked like
the game might turn toward the visitors. A couple of plays later, Baker
scrambled into the end zone and the Tigers led 19-7.
Carlos Acosta made his second interception of the game with
1:31 left in the third quarter and the rout was on. In the fourth quarter,
seven different backs carried the ball as Woodlake moved the ball at will
up and down the field.
that power series from the 11-yard line, they knew we were going to give
the ball to [Aaron] Payne, but they couldn’t stop us,” said
Coach Costa. “These guys all played great and showed what we are
really capable of doing.”
On the night, Tiller finished with a game-high 156 yards
rushing as his mates scored the six touchdowns. Souk Stephens finished
with 88 yards on the ground, one of those touchdowns, and caught some
key passes coming out of the backfield.
Woodlake had little time to enjoy the spoils of victory.
On Monday, it was back to practice to prepare for tonight’s home
game featuring a bigger and more physical Dinuba team in the East Sequoia
In the JV game, a Tiger goal-line stand prevented a two-point
conversion as time expired preserving a 21-20 victory. The win raised
the junior varsity Tigers’ season record to 2-1.