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  Here are the highlights of Visiting 2001:

February 16- Excerpts were taken from a book that Mrs. Rich's second-graders wrote about snowfall in Three Rivers the previous week." Our Snowy Morning" will forever remind the children of when the hills and mountains of Three Rivers looked "like cupcakes with powdered sugar frosting." exclusive event that takes place each spring at Three Rivers School. It was the annual celebration of the Renaissance period, a chapter in the class's history curriculum.

The Society for Creative Anachronism made their annual trek to Three Rivers to put on a festival that took the students and their guests back to the 16th century. There was chivalry and yore, merriment and feasting, music, dancing, and storytelling, and knights in battle.

 

May 18- In a segment entitled "Dumpster Divers," it was explained how communities in the Rockies are becoming savvy to bear problems, a situation also faced in towns that interface with the Sierra. We have heard more bear stories this year than in the past, so this may be indicative of an escalating problem that Three Rivers will soon have to confront.

It would be better to take a proactive approach and here's an idea. In Pitkin County, Colo., they implemented a "bear ordinance" in all unincorporated areas of the county. This new law states that all trash cans placed outside must be "wildlife-proof.

Trash-collection agencies in this region took the initiative and provided customers with bear-proof containers. Keep this in mind when submitting comments after the next Community Plan public review coming in 2002.

 

July 20- A residence in Virginia called Kaweah came to our attention. The Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Va., is one of a network of self-sustaining communal groups across the country.

In this community, each of the eight residences are named after extinct cooperative communities. Kaweah is 7,000 square feet, has 21 bedrooms, four living rooms, three bathrooms, a recreation room, and workshop.

This information was passed to us after a resident of the Kaweah house read Jay O'Connell's 1999 book, Co-Operative Dreams: A History of the Kaweah Colony.

 

August 10- This column, entitled "Tree Trip," described the similarities and differences of the coast redwoods and our local giant sequoias. This was written after we took a week-long camping trip that included the northern coast of California, which is the "Redwood Belt."

The "Big Trees" are the largest, or most massive, trees in the world. The "Tall Trees," or redwoods, are the tallest trees.

 

September 7- A brief biography was written on the late Carroll Barnes, former Three Rivers resident and renowned sculptor. Carroll was the creator of Paul Bunyan, who had just dropped in to stay at the Three Rivers Historical Museum.

Also in this column was a segment called "Double Bunyans." Like the column about Big and Tall Trees in August, this piece described the Paul Bunyans of the redwoods and sequoias.

Our local Paul Bunyan is 17 feet tall, nine feet wide, weighs 13 tons, and was carved from one solid piece of sequoia tree in 1941-1942.

The Northern California Paul Bunyan is one of two painted statues, the other one being Babe, Paul's blue ox. This Paul Bunyan is on the Avenue of the Giants near the community of Klamath.

He is 49 feet tall with a 24-foot ax and 10-foot high boots. It was constructed in 1946.

These roadside attractions were developed in a pre-interstate freeway era. These offbeat roadside attractions are part of a bygone era that lured travelers to pull over, stretch their legs, and perhaps spend money.

These days, while zooming cross-country at 70 miles an hour or more, the only thing that lures travelers into a town are the easy-on, easy-off ramps that lead to a cluster of fast-food chains and self-serve gas stations.

 

September 14- And here it is - the date from which there is no going back - September 11, 2001.

In this column," Let the healing process begin," I, like every journalist in the nation, struggled for words because it's my job. If writers didn't write about 9-11, who would?

"Through it all, I have realized that I have never been more proud or grateful that I live in America…"

 

September 28-Official notice was received from the U.S. Board on Geographic Names that Three Rivers was awarded a new place name. Barton Mountain, the 2,300-foot summit that towers over Three Rivers at the beginning of North Fork Drive was named following a request I made to the federal agency to commemorate three now-deceased generations of the Barton family - James, Jason, and Robert ("Bob") - the first of whom settled on this North Fork land 130 years ago.

 

October 26- "Living with diabetes; walking for a cure" was written after our family participated in the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes in honor of our son.

Everyone is on their path in life for a reason. Our son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes three years ago, and our mission now is to help find a cure and educate others.

Johnnie offered an afterword on this column upon reading it. He reminded me he has two pet peeves regarding people's views of diabetes:

1. He despises the word "diabetic" and it is never uttered in our household. Johnnie often says," Diabetes is what I have, not who I am."
2. He is constantly frustrated with news articles and advertisements about "diabetes," claiming that millions of Americans are at risk to develop diabetes because of poor nutrition and being overweight.

This is regarding "Type 2" diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes. It is an entirely different disease, albeit with similar symptoms and complications. Johnnie's Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes was caused by his body's inability to make insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar by converting it to energy.

The overwhelming majority of those who have diabetes, 90 percent or more, have Type 2. But since Type 2 diabetes rarely, if ever, leads to insulin-induced coma, it is considered less dangerous than Type 1.

 

November 9- In comparing Three Rivers to Outside magazine's Dream Town criteria, it is obvious that we should be dubbed the number one Dream Town U.S.A. For instance, here are some of the categories:

Water running through it- Duh.
Climbing gym- Look up canyon. See that big rock?
Clean air- It's not our fault.
Fresh fish vendor- Only if your neighbor went fishing and feels generous.
Juice bar- Do oranges smashed on the highway count?
Big trees- Hmmmm. I need a minute to think on that.
Sunshine- Yeah… we've got that!

Welcome to Dream Town… Welcome to Three Rivers!

 

 

 
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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