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In the News - Friday, April 5, 2013




Health care tops town meeting agenda

  Those who attended last Monday evening’s (April 1) Town Hall meeting at the Three Rivers Memorial Building were given one final opportunity to hear Harry Foster’s career-long perspective and update on the health care industry while he is still the president and CEO of Family HealthCare Network (FHCN). Harry is retiring from his official administrative duties effective April 23, but from his new home in Ashland, Ore., he will be in constant demand for his expertise on the national primary care movement he helped to establish in Tulare County.
  “When I was a hospital administrator in Utah, I remembered seeing television ads showing a doctor with a cigarette hanging from his mouth saying, ‘Winston tastes good like a cigarette should,’” Harry said. “Our priorities in health care have come a long way since those days.”
   Harry explained that most people thought they could simply do anything they wanted to, and when something went wrong the family doctor would fix it. Of course, that wasn’t the case so now we must deal with the full-blown consequences of obesity, heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and other lifestyle diseases that contribute to early mortality.
   Harry provided a multimedia presentation and handouts that outline causal factors of early mortality. The two largest categories of the five critical factors are behaviors (40 percent) and genetics (30 percent).
  “We can’t do much in the short run to change the genetics because that is the hand we were dealt,” Harry said. “But we can change our behavior or make lifestyle changes.”
Health care costs twice as much in the U.S. as anywhere else and yet the care is not twice as good. The U.S. is ranked 50th in the world in life expectancy and 37th in overall health care services.
   So rather than focus on treating the sick and often dying patient when it’s too late, Harry pointed out that the health center model teaches the patient to take care of themselves. The neighborhood health center treats less catastrophic illness and can house an array of specialists and lower costs.
   Primary care is more cost effective and is the preferred model in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Harry explained. FHCN can provide the same level of care at 35 percent lower cost than the typical institutional hospital provider.
  “It [ACA] pushes dollars from the patient or robotic institutions to primary care health centers and the point of contact,” Harry said. “That’s why you will see hospitals like Kaweah Delta starting to open new health clinics. Cost is not addressed as strongly as it could be in the ACA and should be amended to make it stronger.”
   Harry admitted that the ACA is a complex law, and even after its first three years no one knows for certain what will happen as new provisions are implemented. What is certain is that the pool of insured persons will grow and consumers will be faced with more choices.
   Hopefully, Harry pointed out, there will be more competition among the insurance companies and that could drive premium costs down. The State of California has responded to the new market conditions by creating Covered California.
   Covered California, is a new insurance marketplace mandated by the ACA that will take effect in January 2014. The exchange is going to make affordable policies available to individuals and small businesses based on net income and not assets.
   Harry concluded by saying that Family Healthcare Network is committed to maintaining its Three Rivers facility even though, since its inception in 2001, it has never made a profit.
  “FHCN is a mission-driven provider of health care for everyone,” Harry said. “We remain fully committed to supporting Lauren Elliott [local physician’s assistant] and her staff to provide integrated, quality care here.”
   The next Town Hall meeting sponsored by the Three Rivers Village Foundation is scheduled for Monday, May 6. For information or to suggest an agenda item, contact Lee Goldstein, 561-3204.

Snow pack at 52 percent
of statewide average

  First it was the driest January and February ever recorded for most of California. Now weather watchers are adding March into the mix, and it just might be the driest January to March for that same area on record.
   And if that’s not enough bad news, the paltry Sierra snowpack is only 52 percent (water content) of average statewide, and that doesn’t bode well for furnishing one-third of all the water used by California’s farms and homes that typically comes from the melting Sierra snow.
  “With the most of the wet season behind us, this is more gloomy news for our summer water supply,” said Mark Cowin, Department of Water Resources (DWR) director.
   These dry conditions will impact Central Valley farmers immediately as the DWR moved this past week to decrease water allocations from the State Water Project from 40 percent to 35 percent.
   Here in Kaweah Country, the percent of the April 1 average is more like 44 percent of the water content, depending on the reporting station.
   Don’t let that visible snow on the highest peaks be mistaken for a typical snowpack. At 8,000 feet in Mineral King, only patchy snow remains, and what’s left is melting rapidly.

   If more rain comes in the form of April showers, it is likely it will be way too warm to generate much snow. In Three Rivers, as of that last .20 inches received in the March 31 rain event, the season total reached 11.26 inches.
   That’s an inch-and-a-quarter behind last season when on April 1, the season total was 12.54 inches. But April 2013 will have to bring some major rain events to keep pace with 2012.
   Nearly four inches of rain came last April, mostly during the 39th Jazzaffair weekend as well as the week before the Lions Team Roping. On April 26, 2012, the local total was 16.36 inches with .05 inches coming in May and nary another drop for the rest of the season (through June 30).
   A more detailed analysis of the 2013 snowpack around Yosemite National Park contains some curious data. Like the Kaweah drainage, the snowpack in the Merced and Tuolumne basins is virtually snow-free below 8,000 feet.
   But high country stations (above 8,000 feet) are reporting more snow than last year — 70 percent of the average as opposed to 45 percent in 2012. What that means is high-country trekkers planning early-season backpacking trips might still find the highest passes clogged with snow.

3R man airlifted after ATV rollover

  Russell Fisher, 46, sustained what was described as moderate injuries by a Tulare County Sheriff’s deputy when the quad he was riding overturned and struck the victim. The solo-vehicle accident occurred Tuesday, April 2, at 6 p.m., on a private dirt road near Redbud Trail off South Fork Drive where the victim lives.
   According to witnesses at the scene, Fisher was driving a Honda Rancher Four Trax eastbound uphill when it apparently struck an object in the road and flipped “head over heels” back down the hill. Fischer was struck by the careening quad but was able to stand up and request help.
   After paramedics arrived at the scene and examined the victim, they noted that Fisher had injuries to his chin, shoulder, and ribs. Because there may have been internal injuries, emergency personnel called for the Sky Life helicopter to rendezvous with their ambulance at the Three Rivers Golf Course.
   Fisher was then transported via ambulance the approximate five miles to the golf course where he was loaded onto the helicopter and airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. No further information has been released as to Fisher’s condition, but his injuries did not appear to be life threatening.
   A separate solo vehicle accident occurred on Tuesday, April 2, at 7:55 a.m., on Sierra Drive, just east of Eggers Drive. A 2011 Toyota Tundra pickup headed westbound crashed into a sign and two rocks before coming to rest against a utility pole.
   The 53-year-old Three Rivers woman who was driving the pickup said she swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle that had crossed the center line. When she swerved, she told the CHP investigating officer, it caused her to lose control of the vehicle.
   The accident report stated that the airbag was deployed and the driver was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. She sustained only minor injuries.

Photo caption:

  On Thursday, April 4, the pool elevation at Lake Kaweah was 632, 71 feet above mean sea level, storage was 48,619 acre feet (185,000 acre feet is the capacity). Inflow was 358 cubic feet per second; outflow was barely a trickle at 24 cfs. The reservoir storage is steadily heading up river and has reached the Slick Rock area.

Sequoia-Kings Canyon awakens from winter slumber

  Sequoia National Park— Unless there is a freak winter snowstorm waiting in the wings, the spring-skiing in Giant Forest is nonexistent, and hiking boots can take the place of snowshoes. In fact, the snow is disappearing so rapidly that the road to Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow is now open.
    Again, if there is an accumulation of snow, the road will be subject to closure as it is not a part of the regular snowplow routine. The Giant Forest Museum, located at the turn-off to Moro Rock/Crescent Meadow, will open Saturday, May 11, which is when the Lodgepole Visitor Center will begin its extended summer hours. The parking lot across the road from the museum is now partially open.
    The road to the Mineral King area will open Wednesday, May 22, the week before the Memorial Day weekend.
   Kings Canyon National Park— The Panoramic Point Road in the Grant Grove Village area will remain closed to vehicles until May 22. Visitors may walk the route to the viewpoint, which is five miles round-trip.
    The Kings Canyon Highway to Yucca Point will open mid-April. On Friday, April 26, at noon, the highway will be opened to Cedar Grove, but the campgrounds and all services will remain closed until May 22.
    Cedar Grove will be open for day-use only until May 22. During this time, visitors must be totally self-sufficient, bringing their own food, water, and whatever else necessary to enjoy the day. Vault toilets will be the only restrooms open; they are located at Lewis Creek, Zumwalt Meadow, and Road’s End.

River View Restaurant upgrades menu, dining room

By Holly Gallo

  The River View Restaurant and Lounge recently received a fresh upgrade — with an emphasis on “fresh.”
   Long beloved for its casual atmosphere, down-home cooking, and summertime grill, the River View will now cater to those with more garden-variety tastes with their new fresh veggie appetizer basket, vegetarian sandwich, and fully stocked salad bar.
    The salad bar in particular is quickly winning popularity, but the new menu has also expanded for the fans of their savory items. Customers are welcomed to come and try their battered zucchini sticks, western burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches, and loaded grilled cheese sandwiches and baked potatoes.
    The interior of the restaurant is also revamped; the inviting warmth of a new coat of paint and custom redwood counters act as the perfect backdrop to the culinary renovations.
    With the weather now flirting with spring, it’s the perfect time to grab a spot on the River View’s namesake riverside patio, try one of the tasty new dishes, and enjoy the sun with the whole crew at the River View.
   And with the warming temperatures comes a return of live music on Sundays. Starting April 7 with local favorite Still Water, there will be live music every Sunday throughout the summer with a river view from 4 to 8 p.m.
   Come join the fun!




World-class cellist returns to 3R

Jennie Jung will provide flawless piano collaboration

By Bill Haxton

   When it is said that cellist David Requiro is really, really good, you have to remember that it’s not hyperbole if it’s true. And in his case, it is completely true.
    Three of the world’s leading authorities on classical string performers believe David Requiro is one of the most gifted cellists of our time, anywhere.
    The first is Professor Robert Lipsett, who holds the Jascha Heifetz Distinguished Violin Chair at the prestigious Colburn Conservatory and has been honored with the Distinguished Teachers Award from the White House Commission for Presidential Scholars. He commented that in 40 years with classical music’s best musicians, he has never heard the Chopin Polonnaise rendered better than during Requiro’s performance two summers ago.
    Next is master cello teacher Richard Aaron, who recently moved from the Cleveland Institute to Juilliard and has taught many of the world’s top cellists. He agrees, calling Requiro perhaps the single finest artist he has taught.
    Interestingly, Aaron uses Alexander Technique in teaching a highly focused but relaxed approach to the body’s postures and movements that opens the sound and may explain why David Requiro’s magical phrasing is so supple, natural, and hypnotic.
    And the third is the Naumberg Competition’s panel of judges who awarded David Requiro with the Grand Prize at the 2008 competition, which the New York Times states for cello is the most prestigious competition of them all.
    When you watch David Requiro perform, it seems effortless, like the cello is part of his body, or that the two have merged to form a transformative union that elevates both. His tone is full and fertile, and you’d swear there was nothing solid between what he feels in his heart and the music that comes to your ear. It’s like singing. And it will move you.
    David will be accompanied by one of the finest collaborative pianists there is, the estimable Jennie Jung, who possesses an uncanny ability to align her poetic touch with her soloist. David literally could have chosen anyone for this concert, and he chose Jennie.
    Opening the program is Bach’s immortal Suite No. 3 in C Major for unaccompanied cello. Long the most popular of Bach’s cello suites, the C Major is justifiably famous for its exuberance, its nobility, its heroism, and its warm, buoyant optimism.
    Also to be performed in the first half of the program is Beethoven’s watershed Sonata for Cello and Piano in C Major, Opus 102, No. 1. Composed just as Beethoven began to realize he was going deaf, the music is more deeply personal and more intimately reflective than most of what preceded it.
    At the time, Beethoven was withdrawing from society, and a new interior world was opening to him, a world that would produce his greatest compositions.
Closing the program is Cesar Franck’s most famous work, better known as his Violin Sonata. Strangely, there are some who believe Franck originally wrote the piece for cello, then rewrote it for the violin as a wedding gift for his friend, violinist Eugène Ysaÿe.
    People in the cello camp claim the range of passion and the rich harmonies seem better suited to cello than violin. Either way, it’s a composition perfectly suited to David Requiro’s deeply expressive and lyrical style.
    If David Requiro looks familiar, it’s because he is. He has been a member of the faculty or otherwise assisted at the Center Stage Strings Music Camp that has been held for the last three summers in Three Rivers.
    This is the last concert of the 2012-2013 season series.
    Bill Haxton is a founder of the Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute.

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