News Briefs: Quesadilla pop-up event in Three Rivers, Lake Kaweah reopens all day use areas, BOS encourages businesses to open, weather watch for triple digits



Quesadilla Gorilla Three Rivers pop-up preview: Saturday and Sunday, May 23-24 serving from 12 noon to 6 p.m. or until all those delicious quesadillas are gone.  At their new home in Three  Rivers, 41119 Sierra Drive (across from 3R Mercantile). 


Lake Kaweah reopens all day use areas 

It’s difficult to imagine Lake Kaweah closed for the Memorial Day Weekend, traditionally the annual kickoff to summer and one of the busiest weekends of the year. Apparently, officials at the Sacramento District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers couldn’t see it closed either. So after reopening Kaweah Marina and Lemon Hill on Wednesday, May 20, all other day use areas will be reopened on Friday, May 22. The Horse Creek campground will remain gated and closed. 

And its the right move at the right time because hundreds of visitors will show up anyway open or not. Had the day use areas not been opened, the Lemon Hill area would have been one weekend-long traffic jam. Now the throng of visitors who are planning to stake out a spot at Lake Kaweah can spread out and keep their social distance as required by the CDC during this COVID-19 emergency.

On Friday, at 7:15 a.m. a park ranger will unlock all gates and visitors who pay the day use fee will be legally allowed to access lake and river shoreline for the first time since the closures of more than six weeks ago.  

“The reopening is in the hands of the users now, ” said Phil Deffenbaugh, Lake Kaweah general manager. “We are really trying to encourage all to keep their social distance and help us prevent another closure.” 

Tulare County supervisors encourage reopening of businesses in defiance of Governor’s executive order

On Tuesday, May 19th at their regular board meeting, Tulare County Supervisors passed a motion directing staff to forward a letter signed by Pete Vanderpol (chair), to Governor Newsom stating  that businesses in Tulare County may open now if they are in either Phase 2 or Phase 3 of the CDPH guidelines for reopening..  The motion to send the letter to Sacramento passed by a 3-2 vote, Townsend, Crocker. Vander Poel ayes, Shuklian and Valero dissenting. 

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The letter directive set off a firestorm reaction because the surprise proposal came up under an agenda item where the Public Health Branch was asked to brief the supervisors on the current COVID-19 situation. Supervisor Crocker (District 1) said the intent of the action was to reassure the public that the county will help businesses “get back on their feet.”

“We have been very clear from the beginning we’re not enforcing the state guidelines,” Crocker said. “Businesses need to be able to make decisions on their own as far as if they can open or not.”

Crocker added that businesses can be responsible enough when it comes to social distancing and making their workplaces safe. But like any offer of government support for local business there is a caveat. Businesses like restaurants, bars and salons, that are state licensed, risk losing their license by opening in advance of Governor Newsom’s Stage 3 directives. 

Eddie Valero, District 2 supervisor and one of the no votes, offered a public apology for the board’s action: “I am sorry we went rogue in reopening our systems,” Valero wrote on social media. “I am sorry we made your cities and businesses more confused now than before.”  

Tulare County Health and Human Services, Public Health Branch, who have diligently followed the CDPH guidelines throughout the COVID-19 crisis, issued this statement from agency director Tim Lutz:

“We understand the risks associated with reopening while Tulare County continues to spread COVID-19 in our local nursing homes, businesses, and communities,” Lutz said. ” We anticipate the number of positive COVID-19 cases will continue to rise; however, we acknowledge that the people of Tulare County need to get back to work and return to a sense of normalcy.”

Triple digit temperatures in the five-day forecast

Anyone who has lived in or visited Three Rivers for any extended time in the summer knows it is bound to happen. That’s triple digit temperatures, and the first ones of 2020 are in the five-day forecast. A flirtation with 100 degrees will occur on Tuesday, May 26 and then the next two days are a bit more certain. Daytime highs in Three Rivers are expected to be 101 for Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday, May 30, temperatures will return to the normal range with highs in the 90s then dip back into the 80s for at least the first five days of June.

In the meantime, temps will remain in the 80s for the holiday weekend until Memorial Day when they begin to climb toward triple digits. It’s not unusual to have hot or cold for Memorial Day. Two out of the last three years it snowed in the mountains and was dreary for those who chose to stay in Three Rivers for the three-day weekend and the traditional kickoff to summer.

That storm cycle that skirted Kaweah Country earlier in the week dumped .33 hundreds of an inch of rain on Sunday night then another .25 in the next 36 hours bringing the season total at 1,000 feet to 13.80 inches; other locales up canyon are reporting at least three more inches for their season total. Wherever your local rain gauge is located, 2020 will go down into weather annals as another dry year in a deepening drought. 

On Thursday, May 21, the storage at Lake Kaweah was 129,939 acre feet. That’s more than two-thirds capacity but still has plenty of shoreline for that throng of visitors expected daily for the three-day holiday weekend.






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