News and Information
for residents and visitors
Three Rivers,
Sequoia and Kings Canyon
National Parks,
Lemon Cove and Woodlake
Kaweah Kam

  January 30, 2004
by Sally Pace
WHS students nominated for HOBY

The mission of HOBY is to seek out, recognize
and develop leadership potential
commencing with high school sophomores

EnlargeSix Woodlake High sophomores were nominated by their teachers as leaders and were interviewed for selection to attend the annual nationwide Hugh O’Brien Youth (HOBY) leadership seminar. From left to right: (lower) Kaitlin Beck, Becky Griswold; (upper) Molly Wittenstein, Andres Gomez, and Jennie Elliott. Not pictured: Megan Gong. —photo courtesy Woodlake High School

In November 2003, six Woodlake High School students were nominated by their teachers as leaders and were interviewed by the Woodlake Kiwanis Club The finalists were Kaitlin Beck, Jennie Elliott, Andres Gomez, Megan Gong, Rebecca Griswold, and Molly Wittenstein.

Each year, WHS sends “ambassadors” to attend the Hugh O’Brien Youth (HOBY) leadership conference. HOBY leadership seminars are designed to create an experience for the student ambassador that will have the student thinking critically while enhancing their leadership skills.

After much deliberation, Woodlake Kiwanis selected Molly Wittenstein to attend the HOBY seminar in June 2004; alternate is Kaitlin Beck. The Three Rivers Lions Club selected Jennie Elliott with Rebecca Griswold as the alternate.

While attending the HOBY seminar, Molly and Jennie will be participating in small group discussions and attend elective sessions with a specific leadership theme, listen to keynote speakers, and participate in leadership simulation exercises that complement their individual understanding.

Sally Pace is dean of students at Woodlake High School.


by Christy Wood

Wood ‘N’ Horse show team gallops into 2004


The Wood ‘N’ Horse show team traveled to Indio earlier this month to compete at a state and nationally-sanctioned appaloosa show. It was the first in a series of nine shows that leads to the 57th annual National Appaloosa Horse Show in Oklahoma City in July.

Six horses showed under the Wood ‘N’ Horse colors and brought home 78 first-place ribbons and four High Point awards.

Winning riders were Cara Peterson of Visalia, showing in Non-Pro events; Caitlin Steiner of Exeter, showing in Youth English classes; Rachele Martinez of Woodlake, in Non-Pro Western classes; and Sue Rojcewicz of Three Rivers, who rode in Novice and 35-and-over Non-Pro Western events and took a High Point jacket in both divisions.

Steve Wood of Three Rivers won in Non-Pro Masters Western Pleasure classes; Erin Farnsworth of Three Rivers showed in Non-Pro Western, English, and Jumping events, winning the High Point Over Fences jacket. Christy Wood won the High Point Games Horse (barrel racing, pole bending, keyhole) jacket with husband Steve’s pleasure horse.

Hang on to your hats... This is only the beginning!

Christy Wood is the owner and trainer of Wood ‘N’ Horse Training Stables in Three Rivers

January 16, 2004
Law-abiding: Three Rivers Christians gathered Tuesday to dedicate "The Ten Commandments"plaque at Barbys in Three Rivers. A smaller, portable version, mounted on a signpost is available for $10.
EnlargeLaw-abiding: Three Rivers Christians gathered Tuesday to dedicate "The Ten Commandments"plaque at Barbys in Three Rivers. A smaller, portable version, mounted on a signpost is available for $10.

TEN COMMANDMENTS… It was a small and humble group that gathered Tuesday, Jan. 13, in front of Barby’s on Sierra Drive in Three Rivers. It was a spiritual ceremony held at the small juice bar and curio shop owned by Wayne Van Dellen to dedicate a large plaque citing the Ten Commandments.

Though it’s been more than two millennia since God delivered these precepts to Moses on Mt. Sanai, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) were in the forefront of a church-and-state controversy recently when Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended from his job after installing a 2.6-ton granite monument listing the Commandments in the state judicial building’s rotunda without consulting his fellow justices. The monument was removed Nov. 14, 2003.

The local plaque was created by Tom Wendt, an artist from Modesto who also recently completed a mural at Kelley and Danette Gentry’s Cinnamon Creek Ranch on South Fork.

Tuesday’s dedication of the Ten Commandments consisted of prayer, Bible scriptures, and song.

Kelley Gentry said that he feels it is important for every community to have core values that are relevant to everyone, young and old.

Trish Stivers mentioned during her prayer how remarkable that the Ten Commandments, although created 2,000 years ago, are still relevant today.


SEE THE SKIS… In an article published in The Kaweah Commonwealth last week ("First Sierra snow survey: It’s ‘a good start,’ page 11), It was mentioned that, years ago, a group of local skiers would take snow measurements at various Sierra locales, including Mineral King.

One of those skiers was Garry Kenwood (1929-2000), who was raised in Three Rivers. Years ago, Garry gave us a couple pair of his old skis and poles.

They certainly aren’t the sleek, lightweight skis of today. They are big, heavy, and made of wood.

These skis are on display at the office of The Kaweah Commonwealth. Feel free to drop by and view these historic modes of mountain transportation.


LION LESSONS… Several startling incidents in the past few weeks should be a reminder for Three Rivers residents to never become complacent about this wild place where we have chosen to live.

In Orange County, at the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, a 35-year-old man was fatally mauled by a mountain lion on Thursday, Jan. 8, while attempting to fix the chain on his bike.

Later that day, a 30-year-old woman was also bicycling on the Cactus Hill Trail in the park when a mountain lion sprang from the brush, pounced on her back, and dragged her off by the head. Fellow bikers threw rocks at the animal and tried to pull her away until the cougar finally ran off, leaving the woman near death.

When John and I lived in Orange County in the late 1980s, he worked on this ranch, doing an archaeological survey for the developer. Knowing that I longed for rural places while living there, he took me to the ranch before it was opened to the public, and we jogged along its trails.

It really was an island of wildness and the terrain soothed me because I was reminded of Three Rivers. While there, we spotted a bobcat, but no larger cats.

Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed the two-year-old, 110-pound mountain lion responsible for the attacks and, for now, will shoot to kill any other mountain lion they encounter near the Whiting Ranch trail. This was the sixth fatal mauling of a human by a mountain lion in California, the first in the state since 1994, and the first ever in Orange County.

On Sunday, Jan. 11, in Yosemite National Park, two mountain lions were trapped and euthanized by lethal injection after being sighted for the past three weeks in Curry and Yosemite villages and near the Ahwahnee Hotel. Park rangers said the lions may have been attracted to these populated areas because one of their food sources, raccoons, are there as well.

They also said the pair showed no signs of being afraid of humans and became concerned that the cougars were considering humans as prey.

It is estimated that there are 4,000 to 6,000 adult mountain lions in California. It is wise to always be on the lookout, especially when there are small children or pets nearby, but attacks are rare because cougars are mostly reclusive.

Nearly all victims of cougar maulings are alone at the time of an attack. To learn more about mountain lion behavior, study the mannerisms of a housecat when they are stalking and capturing prey.

A cat would never offensively attack anything larger or something that was displaying aggressiveness toward them. If attacked, fight back, because then you will change from prey to predator.


  January 9, 2004

ODE TO RUBY… …for her price is far above rubies… (Proverbs 31). Ruby was a pet therapy dog for several years at Kaweah Delta Hospital. She brought joy and comfort to many, both the patients and their families. The workdays of the administrators and staff were made brighter by Ruby. Ruby opened the door for her owner to bring the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to whomever wanted to hear.

Ruby got sick and, after a long illness, died Monday, Dec. 1, 2003. She is buried here in Three Rivers.

Ruby deserves much recognition, and all who knew her know why. She was always a giver. She was so loved and will be missed immeasurably. —submitted by Linda Frazier, Ruby’s owner, Three Rivers


COLLEGE GRAD… Isaac Franklin Warner graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo on Saturday, Dec. 13. Isaac received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.

Isaac was raised in Three Rivers and graduated from Three Rivers School and Exeter Union High School.


DIP SEEN ‘ROUND THE WORLD… Our favorite roving reporter, Dick Ainley, who resides in Santa Maria but is currently vacationing in Palm Springs with his wife, Laverne," for two months," sent a clipping of the Friday, Jan. 2, 2004, issue of The Desert Sun, the daily newspaper of the Coachella Valley. On page A11, in the "California"section, is a photo of this year’s New Year’s Day "Polar Dip"in the river below Gateway Restaurant and Lodge in Three Rivers.

The photo, originally taken by The Fresno Bee, has hit the AP wires, meaning it can be printed by hundreds, even thousands, of newspapers worldwide. The caption reads: "Saty Barry (center), raises her arms and lets out a yell as she takes a dip in the Kaweah River during the third-annual Polar Bear [sic] Dip at the Gateway Inn [sic] in Three Rivers on Thursday. More than 15 people took the plunge in 39-degree water to ring in the New Year."

The brainchild of Marcos Guzman, who owns Whitewater Contemporary Art and Crafts with his wife, Candy, the participation in the Polar Dip has steadily increased in its three-year history. In 2002, four people took the plunge. In 2003, about 10 thick-skinned souls dunked. This year, there were 18 who braved the near-freezing water.

It’s fast becoming a traditional New Year’s celebration here, and no place is it more fitting to have a Polar Dip than in a town called Three Rivers.


WORTHY WEBSITE… Since the water is too chilly for more than just a quick Polar Dip and you’ve decided to take your surfing inside, check out this interesting website.

Go to: for an amazing collection of old postcards, photos, and some contemporary images of giant sequoias and their inherent tourist attractions. Scroll almost to the bottom of the page for those in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
OFFICE: 41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, California
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
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