Town meeting features 'state of the agency' updates


The regular monthly Town Hall meeting was held Monday, Feb. 2, and featured presentations from several organizations important in the civic affairs of Three Rivers. 


National Park Service

At the top of the agenda was an update from Dana Dierkes, public information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Dierkes introduced Michael Theune, the new fire education specialist for the local parks. Theune is a Californian who has worked previously for the NPS at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and the U.S. Forest Service at Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota.

“I love to hike so I’m anxious to get out in the parks and see the conditions of the forest here,” Theune said.

With the lack of snow, the Generals Highway remains open and the Crescent Meadow Road in Giant Forest is also open.

“There isn’t much opportunity for snowshoeing this season but the hiking is great,” Dierkes said.


Three Rivers Lions Club

A team of Three Rivers Lions Club board members led by Moises Garza, 2014-2015 president, announced that the local Lions are seeking to increase the number of amplified events that they hold each year from five to 10.

Garza said that increasing the number of events is important so the club can donate more funds to charitable causes and local scholarships. They are working with county planners to minimize noise and traffic impacts, Garza said, and expect approval of the new permit once certain conditions are agreed upon.


Tulare County Fire Department

Chief Joe Garcia reported there were 17 calls/incidents for the month of January for Three Rivers Station 14. This was not an unusual number of calls, he said, and there were no serious fires, but, instead, mostly medical aids, accidents, and smoke checks. He introduced Division Chief Charlie Norman who spoke about the new Fire Corps volunteer program for those residents who want to assist the fire department with non-suppression activities.

Chief Norman said there are plenty of opportunities to help but some training at the local fire station is a necessary prerequisite. Corps volunteers receive CPR and first aid training prior to being assigned any duties. Call 967-5420 if interested in the program.

Chief Garcia said regular paid call firefighters are also needed as several locals have recently left the department. 

“In communities like Three Rivers, the paid-call volunteer firefighters are the backbone of our response on any scene,” Chief Garcia said.

Garcia also announced the receipt of a grant and funds from the county Board of Supervisors that will allow his department to purchase an additional 3,000-gallon water tender. 


Cal Fire

The local Cal Fire station is currently unstaffed in Three Rivers. Unit Chief Paul Marquez said he expects the local station to be staffed by March 1. Also, in March, Cal Fire personnel will begin hazard reduction inspections to ensure that the required 100 feet of clearance is provided for every structure in Three Rivers. 

“If you still have burn piles and a valid permit, call the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to see if it’s a burn day,” Chief Marquez said. 

He stated that as a part of the hazard reduction program there will also be some upcoming “chipper days” when cuttings may be chipped instead of burned. 

“We will notify the community when they can bring materials to be chipped,” he said.

Chief Marquez announced that Andy Turner is the new Kaweah battalion chief, whose jurisdiction includes Station 35 in Three Rivers. Turner replaces Derek Staberg, who was promoted to division chief and is now assigned to the Visalia headquarters.


Tulare County Sheriff’s Department

Deputy Mark Frick, who has been assigned to fill in for resident deputy Scott Doyle while he is on leave, presented the 2014 statistics for local incidents and arrests.

There were 31 misdemeanor crimes reported and 20 felony crimes. Among the 2014 arrests, 32 were adults and four were juveniles. Of those arrested, six were arrested on felony charges; 14 for misdemeanors.

Twelve warrants were served to known offenders. Five search warrants were served, three in Three Rivers and two in Lemon Cove. All five search warrants were served for suspicion that an illegal amount of marijuana was on the premises.

Fourteen individuals in Three Rivers were arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. There was one arrest for possession of narcotics.

In 2014, there were 1,027 calls that the Sheriff’s Department responded to in the Three Rivers coverage area.

At the March 2 Town Hall meeting, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux will make his debut Three Rivers appearance since he was officially sworn in on January 2, 2015. His topic: law enforcement challenges of medical marijuana.

For information on the meeting, call Lee Goldstein, 561-3204, who conducts the monthly gatherings on behalf of the Three Rivers Village Foundation.  

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