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In the News - Friday, August 6, 2010

 

—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)

3R kids just say NO to

graffiti at Airport Bridge

 

  It all started when Philip Woods, 15, and his brother Thomas, 12, who live on Kaweah River Drive in Three Rivers, heard from their mom Wendy that some older boys had spray-painted the Airport Bridge. Without giving it a second thought, the brothers wanted to help.

  The graffiti incident happened a couple of Sunday nights ago; last Thursday, the Woods boys painted over graffiti and picked up all the trash around the bridge and at the nearby swimming hole.

  “I told the boys that they probably could get community service hours for their good deeds,” Wendy said.

  Apparently, the boys' efforts won't go unrewarded. Steve Katz, a counselor at Woodlake High School who also lives in Three Rivers, heard about what the boys were doing, offered to lend a hand, and already has the signed paperwork for a couple of hours of community service credit for these doers of good deeds.

 

Visalia ranks last in ‘Quality of Life' survey

 

  In a recent study of metro areas that contain a population of 250,000 to 750,000, Visalia (metro population of 422,000, which includes Porterville and other incorporated Tulare County cities) finished dead last out of 109 areas throughout the U.S. included in the mid-market survey conducted by Portfolio.Com and Bizjournals. The partners in the study awarded the highest scores for healthy economies, moderate cost of living, light traffic, impressive housing stocks, and high-powered educational institutions.

  Boulder, Colo., received the highest score in the survey. They placed in the top 10 in 13 of the 20 categories of statistics that were used as criteria in the study.

  Boulder, located 25 miles northwest of Denver, has a metropolitan population of 300,000. It's a hub for high-tech industries and the home of the University of Colorado, two characteristics that have attracted a young, highly educated workforce.

  The biggest discrepancies between top and bottom the study revealed were in education and income. Among adults 25 years of age or older with a bachelor's degree, Boulder scored 55.9 percent compared to Visalia 's 12.7 percent. The median household income for Boulder is $65,960 while in the Visalia metro area it is $43,995.

  The source of statistics used in the study was from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006-2008 American Community Survey.

  California communities ranked by the study were Santa Cruz (31), San Luis Obispo (33), Santa Rosa (35), Santa Barbara (61), Vallejo (81), Salinas (92), Stockton (102), Modesto (102), and Visalia (109).

Some other categories used to determine quality of life are housing units, population growth, workers who walk to work or work at home, poverty rate, jobless rate, homeowner rate, mortgage or rent affordability, and adults 25-44 as a share of total population.

  But there is one thing that Boulder and Visalia have in common. Both have a loud contingent of boosters who would like to see a Trader Joe's grocery store location come to their neighborhood.

  One of the Trader Joe's criteria for selecting a store location is proximity to a four-year university and, with the other San Joaquin Valley stores among the chain's lowest performers, Visalia might be waitlisted for a long time. Now that Colorado has approved liquor sales on Sundays, they meet all of the Trader Joe's criteria except that the company currently does not have an adequate distribution center to serve Colorado .

 

News briefs…

 

New Pacific West

Regional Director

  Jonathan Jarvis, National Park Service director, has named Christine S. Lehnertz as the new Pacific West Regional Director. Lehnertz, who will be based in the San Francisco NPS office, assumed the regional director post on July 8.

  Lehnertz replaces Jarvis who was confirmed as NPS director in September 2009. She had been serving as the acting associate director for cultural resources ( Washington , D.C. ) since April.

  Lehnertz most recently served as the deputy superintendent of Yellowstone National Park and formerly worked in the Denver regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Lehnertz and Shari Dagg, her partner of 16 years, plan to bring their work with golden retriever rescue to their new home in the Bay Area.

  “Chris has shown an uncanny ability to get to the heart of any issue, develop consensus, and get things done,” Jarvis said. “She is respected by her peers and our employees and will be a great addition to our senior management team.”

 

Chief Justice

Ron George retires

  After 38 years, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron George is retiring. The retirement announcement was made public in a statement issued by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on July 14.

  The governor has nominated Tani Cantil-Sakauye to fill the vacancy. If confirmed the new candidate will then stand for election on the November 2 general-election ballot.

  The George family has local ties to Three Rivers having owned riverfront property. Over the years, Chief Justice George has visited Three Rivers and it has been reported that on occasion he has enjoyed taking a dip in the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River .

 

Campground

recognition

  Stony Creek Campground, which straddles the Generals Highway in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, was selected last month as one of the Top 100 Family Campgrounds in the U.S. The selection was made by ReserveAmerica — a leading recreation reservation and campground management service for thousands of campgrounds across the country.

  Stony Creek is now listed in a guide that helps millions of Americans plan that dream vacation at what the company refers to as America 's “hidden gem” locations. Nearly 4,000 campgrounds were reviewed before the final list of 100 was determined.

  The selection criteria considered “family friendly” amenities such as educational programs, proximity to visitor centers, natural beauty, and facilities like stores, restaurants, bathrooms, and showers.

  John Exline, Giant Sequoia National Monument district ranger, said Stony Creek has long been a popular camping area with visitors who want to visit the national forest and the surrounding national parks.

 

Code violation hotline

  In July, the Tulare County Resource Management Agency (RMA) launched a new Code Violation Hotline: (559) 624-7060. The new phone number will allow residents of all unincorporated areas to report potential building code and permit violations.

  The new hotline is a response to recent budget cuts that consolidated several building inspector/permit violation positions. According to Jake Raper, RMA director, residents can now call the hotline to report a potential violation, leave a site address, and furnish a brief description of the violation.

  A paper trail is immediately created that becomes a field investigation case for a county inspecto r. Reporting parties have the option of remaining anonymous.

Postal increase

  The U.S. Postal Service is seeking a two-cent increase for a stamp on a first-class letter from the current 44 cents to 46 cents. The price of a postcard stamp would go from 28 cents to 30 cents.

  If approved (try to remember the last time when an increase wasn't approved), the postal increase would go into effect January 2, 2011 . The last price increase was two years ago.

  As a part of the pricing package, a new Forever Stamp image will be available this fall. Forever Stamps may be purchased for the 44-cent rate until the rate increase takes effect and actually increase in value if used on or after January 2, 2011 .

  The slow economy and the Internet has mail volume plummeting and will create a $7 billion shortfall in the next fiscal year, according to James T. Wigdel, a public relations consultant for the U.S. Postal Service. The price increase is projected to generate $2.3 billion in the first nine months of 2011.

 

Passport fee increase

  As if paying $20 to check a suitcase onto an airline isn't bad enough, the U.S. State Department just raised the price to apply for a new passport from $100 to $135. The new rates went into effect on July 13.

  The new rate hikes also apply to passport renewals and extra visa pages. That backpacking vacation to nearby Sequoia-Kings Canyon is looking better all the time, but of course, there's a $20 park entrance fee and a $15 per party fee for backcountry travel too.

 

Views all around from

this award-winning home

 

By Greg Sweet

 

  Most Three Rivers residents are here because they enjoy the outdoors. But, by the nature of our being, we must live indoors. But one South Fork family has managed to gracefully combine the comforts of a modern home with the great outdoors.

  Several years ago, Cathy Opie and Julie Burleigh, a pair of Los Angeles artists, started looking for a mountainous vacation getaway. They were initially drawn to the town of Julian in San Diego County , but recent wildfires had blackened the landscape, removing much of the area's appeal.

  Previously, Julie had been enchanted by Three Rivers on a trip to Sequoia National Park and suggested that they look here. The pair found a good deal on a seven-acre parcel, but most of the land was not suitable for development.

  The majority of the property, which spans South Fork Drive , is in the floodplain. The rest is a hog-infested blackberry bog. However, there was an oak-studded rise that could accommodate a small footprint.

  Enter Los Angeles architects Linda Taalman and Alan Koch. They developed a stylish, prefabricated 1,200-square-foot, 2-bedroom, 1-bath, home system they call the It House.

  A more accurate description would be a “kit house.” All the segments were molded, cut, and pre-drilled according to plan at off-site factories, shipped to the home site, then assembled by a licensed contractor.

  Most of the labor is in the site prep and foundation work. The house itself can be built in a weekend. Aluminum is the chief ingredient of the framework, and most of the walls are of glass.

  Three Rivers resident contractor Pete Crandall was responsible for construction. Pete is a builder of homes that feature materials alternative to traditional stick lumber, and lives in a rammed-earth home of his own.

  His ability to think out of the box, so to speak, was what attracted Cathy and Julie to Pete as the man to build such an unconventional home.

  The infrastructure of the It House is upside-down. All plumbing, electrical, and air conditioning are installed first, as well as the radiant heating, then the concrete slab is poured on top of it all. The result is that the glass walls feature unobstructed views of Mother Nature. Kathy and Julie find the lichen-encrusted boulders and the interior live oaks far more picturesque than drywall.

  The Three Rivers It House won the 2009-2010 Sunset magazine's AIA Western Home Award for Best Small Home Design and was featured in the March 2010 issue. Future plans call for a California native plant garden and a privacy fence that interfaces with the riparian landscape.

 

Lightning-caused fire

grows to 100 acres

 

Sheep Fire

  The Sheep Fire in Kings Canyon National Park , which was sparked by lightning about July 16, had grown to 102 acres as of Monday, Aug. 2. The fire is located above Cedar Grove, one-half mile north of Sentinel Ridge.

  Smoke from the Sheep Fire is visible in the Cedar Grove area, where there are campgrounds and other visitor facilities. Smoke from this fire will settle in the valley during the late evening and early morning hours.

  Three other wilderness fires that were discovered following the same storm system in mid-July — two in Kings Canyon and one in Sequoia National Park — are all currently less than one acre in size and are showing little or no activity.

 

Bull Fire

  The human-caused Bull Fire in the Kern River canyon north of Kernville in Kern County , which has caused the smoky conditions in Three Rivers over the past week, is 96 percent contained. The wildland fire, which has scorched 16,442 acres and destroyed eight homes, was discovered July 26.

  A total of 242 personnel from the Kern County Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management are assigned to the blaze. All campgrounds and roads have reopened to the public.

 

Rewood Mountain

Prescribed Fire

  National Park Service fire crews are still eyeing the Redwood Canyon area in Kings Canyon National Park with plans to ignite the 634-acre burn as early as next week. The unit is at the headwaters of the North Fork of the Kaweah River, so that will be where the smoke travels on the prevailing breezes.

 

Firewood permits

available

  About 40 cords of surplus wood in the Lodgepole/Dorst Creek area of Sequoia National Park are available for the public to obtain via firewood permits. The required permits cost $10 per cord with a limit of six cords per family per year.

  To collect the wood, which is pine and fir, a firewood permit must be obtained in person from rangers Chris Trotter or Michael Cole at the Lodgepole Visitor Center . Barring a park emergency, the rangers are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

  For additional information, call Chris Trotter at 565-4403.

 

3R author chronicles

prehistoric Sierra Nevada

 

The Sierra Nevada Before History:

Ancient Landscapes, Early Peoples

By Louise A. Jackson

Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2010

216 pages, paper, $15

 

by Bill Haxton

 

  Louise Jackson's latest book about her beloved Sierra Nevada is more than a tour de force; it is quite simply a wonderful read.

Louise, a Three Rivers resident and widely respected regional historian, has crafted a remarkable account of the evolution of this extraordinary range of mountains and the early people who inhabited it, and did so while striking a beautiful balance between science and riveting storytelling.

  According to the book's introduction, “The prehistory of California 's High Sierra region is more dream than reality. It is a story continually being rewritten, a story of times and events still shrouded in mystery; of ancient and evolving earth forces; of adaptive mountain animals and plant life; of prehistoric people, their beliefs, myths and ways of life; of the interdependence of those people with one another and the land.”

  The book covers virtually everything one would want to know about the prehistoric Sierra Nevada from Sonora Pass south to Tehachapi — how the mountains formed; what shaped them; climate, plant and animal life; and how and when humans first arrived. Whole chapters are devoted to the indigenous tribes who made their homes here — Tubatulabal, Yokuts, Western Monache , Sierra Miwok, Yosemite , and Paiute.

  Each of the tribal chapters takes the reader on a fascinating anthropological voyage, but as residents of Three Rivers, we may find special resonance in the Yokuts chapter. The Yokuts are still with us; the grinding holes we find along the river were made by them.

  Yokuts were the largest, most influential, and most highly organized of all the Sierra Nevada tribes and their seat of government went by the musical-sounding name Daiapnusa, now submerged under Lake Kaweah — dark, silent, eternal.

  There is far too much in this book to summarize all of it here. Better to have your own experience of it.

  It will be a good one. Louise's deft handling of tone and phrasing weaves geology, anthropology, and Native American myth into a mesmerizing tale that leaves readers with the dawning awareness that they are in the presence of a truly great storyteller.

  The research is broad and deep, the scholarship impeccable, and yet while reading you have this sense that you are seated before a campfire and being carried away on the rhythmic incantations of an enlightened shaman.

  The Sierra Nevada Before History is available at Costco for under $10. Anyone living in the region who wants to sink personal roots into the deep soil of local history should buy this book and read it more than once.

  Bill Haxton writes from his Three Rivers home.

 

WHO'S NEWS

 

3R college student devotes one month

to teaching in ‘Pearl of Africa'

 

by Jordan Vieira

  Sir Winston Churchill described Uganda in a 1908 book as “The Pearl of Africa.” Now, a century later and after my own journey to the country, I will make the same declaration.

  I graduated from Woodlake High in June 2009 to attend the University of Southern California in Los Angeles after being named a Trustee Scholar and receiving a full tuition scholarship for four years. One morning in early November, I checked my email to find an offer from the USC Rise of African Youth through Self Empowerment (RAYSE) organization on campus, which would send a delegation for one month during the summer to work in Uganda with the Amagezi Gemaanyi Youth Association (AGYA).

  Amagezi Gemaanyi, which means “knowledge is power” in the native Ugandan language, is a nonprofit organization founded by USC alum Divinity Barkley and is dedicated to creating a safe, supportive, and sustainable place where the youth of Uganda can evolve into the future leaders of Uganda.

  Summer 2009 was the first time that USC students were invited to travel to the country and implement programs and workshops of their own choosing. After speaking with students who had experienced this inaugural expedition, I knew it was something of which I wanted to be a part.

  After throwing a couple of ideas around, I eventually became set on conducting a government and leadership workshop in which I would facilitate the process of drafting a mock constitution with the youth as a means of enabling them to think rigorously and critically about the issues facing their country and what democracy means to them.

  In addition to two generous grants from the Three Rivers Lions and Woman's clubs, I was made aware the week before my departure that the USC college had awarded me a research stipend to conduct independent research for the month while I would be in Uganda. My project proposal was to examine the effects of folklore and popular culture on political socialization and ideological development among the Ugandan youth.

  However, this project has blossomed into an uncanny urge to write a book about the history, culture, and people of the country, as I have discovered that very little literature is to be found since the taming of the Lord's Resistance Army and the removal of military dictator Idi Amin Dada in the late 1970s as, for instance, current scholarship on Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

  The delegation of nine USC students departed May 24 from LAX and, after a night in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai , landed at the Entebbe airport in Uganda , the same airport where, some 30 years ago, hostages were held after Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France plane and received approval from Idi Amin to land.

  Our arrival was decidedly much more pleasant, and we received a warm welcome from the director and youth leaders of AGYA. The drive from Entebbe to the village where we stayed outside the capital city of Kampala took about an hour, during which my 6-foot, 5-inch, body was nearly folded in half while riding in a matatu , a small minivan taxi with folding seats that allow for the packing in of as many people (and animals) as possible.

  We passed the president's motorcade along the way and also got a great view of Lake Victoria , the largest lake in Africa and source of the Nile River .

  Over the next few days we rested, toured Kampala , contacted our families at an internet café, and exchanged our money for Ugandan shillings at a rate of about 1:2,200.

  On Saturday I held my first government class. We first played a game in which the students wrote their name on one side of an index card and three interesting facts about themselves on the other. Everyone tried to guess the person to whom the facts belonged when I read them aloud to the group. Once we were finished I instructed the students to imagine sailing on a boat and discovering an unknown island on which they decide to establish their country.

  “What will we need to do?” I asked them. Students raised their hands, and I received such answers as “thank God,” “give it a name,” “find food,” and “determine the climate to make appropriate shelter.” Knowing where I was going with this scenario, one of the students said, “We need a leader.”

  “Good! Why do we need a leader?”

  “We need a leader to have someone to keep order and who we can look up to as we try to live on this island that is completely new to us.”

  “Very good! Okay, Beestat thinks we should have a leader, or some type of leadership. Should one single person be in charge of this country, or do we need something or someone else?”

  “Something else!” the class shouted in unison.

  “What should that something else be?”

  “Government!” a student sitting in the back yelled.

  “Precisely – and thus the reason for this class! We need government to create order from what we presume would otherwise be chaos, or a state of nature, and in creating a framework of government you will foster your abilities to think creatively, confidently, and critically about the issues facing you every day. After you create your framework, we will fill the created positions and begin to create laws that are of interest to you. Can anyone name an issue in Uganda right now that interests them?”

  No one raised their hand.

  “How about term limits for the President?” Many students began to smile and nod their heads.

  “Or, have any of you followed the homosexuality bill here in Uganda?” This question sparked the interest of everyone in the group.

  “Okay, in preparation for Tuesday's class I want all of you to think about government and what its role should be — how much power should a government have and how can we define a government system? Thanks for a great first day. Webale nyo ! See you next week!”

  Over the course of the month the students completed a mock constitution for their country, the Democratic Republic of Ugame, and it was quite refreshing to see students as interested and creative as they were. Moreover, I was fascinated at how their opinions of the Ugandan government were manifested and reflected in the framework they created.

  For instance, they granted as little power to the president as possible and in doing so overlapped the roles of what would be clearly defined as legislative and executive responsibilities in the United States .

  The students also banned any and all tobacco and alcohol products from their country, and though understanding the negative economic impact this would have, thought it necessary to create their own utopian society, free of the societal ills that are prevalent in their own lives.

  One more aspect of the class I found interesting was the fact that the youth chose to elect a monarch who would be the start of a line of royalty. While without political power, the role of the monarch would be to uphold the separation between church and state and serve as a role model to whom the people could turn should the government become corrupt.

  This idea derived from a real issue of tension between the Buganda King and President Museveni, who was allegedly behind the burning of the sacred burial ground of past Ugandan kings, Kasubi Tombs, this last March.

  In addition to my time in Uganda , a group of us journeyed over to neighboring Kenya where we experienced a game drive at the Masai Mara. I also engaged in a jumping contest with some members of the Masai tribe and, had I been a member of the tribe at an authentic competition, would have won a cow with which I would secure a girlfriend.

  The trip was altogether remarkable, and it was only enhanced by the enthusiasm of the students and spirit of the World Cup that radiated throughout Africa . I felt blessed to have been back in the United States when the devastating attacks in Kampala occurred during the World Cup Final, but that won't prevent me from visiting the Pearl of Africa again.

  Jordan Vieira, who was raised in Three Rivers, recently completed his first year at the University of Southern California .

  He will be providing a free presentation to discuss his trip to Africa on Tuesday, Aug. 10, beginning at 6 p.m. , at Three Rivers School . The public is invited to attend.

 

OBITUARIES

 

Rose Kulick

Owner of Kaweah General Store

1923-2010

  Rose Kulick, a longtime resident of Three Rivers, died at her home Monday, Aug. 2, 2010 . She was 87.

  A funeral service will be held today (Friday, Aug. 6) at 10 a.m. at St. Clement of Alexandria Church , 498 N. Valencia Blvd. , Woodlake. Burial will follow at Three Rivers Cemetery . Visitation was held Thursday, Aug. 5, at Evans Miller Guinn Exeter Chapel.

  Rose was born on May 17, 1923 , in Madison , Ill. , to Mary and George Koroby. On October 18, 1941 , she married Harry Kulick in Great Summit, Mo.

  Rose and her husband of nearly 70 years, Harry, owned Kaweah General Store in Three Rivers from 1960 to 1995. She was a devoted wife and mother.

  She was a member of St. Clement of Alexandria Church in Woodlake where she sang in choir. She also was a member of the Three Rivers Woman's Club and the VFW Auxiliary.

  Rose was preceded in death by two sons, Harry Kulick Jr. and John Kulick.

  She is survived by her loving husband of 68 years, Harry Kulick of Three Rivers; two sons, Mike Kulick of Mariposa and George Kulick of Three Rivers; 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

  The family extends special thanks to Hospice of Tulare County for the help and support they gave.

  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Rose's name to St. Clement of Alexandria Church , 498 N. Valencia Blvd. , Woodlake , CA 93286. Condolences may be sent via www.evansmillerguinnchapel.com.

 

Ora Kay Peterson

Founder of Mineral King Preservation Society

1929-2010

  Ora Kay Clow Peterson passed away Saturday, July 31, 2010 , in Visalia . She was 81.

  A memorial service will be held today (Friday, Aug. 6) at 10:30 a.m. at St. Paul 's Anglican Church, 120 N. Hall, Visalia .

  Ora Kay was born July 7, 1929 , to Ora T. Clow and Alpha Kendall Clow. She was the youngest of three sisters.

  Her father, Ora, operated the Cross Horlock Hardware stores in Visalia and Hanford . She was raised in Hanford by her mother where she was educated in the local schools.

  After high school, Ora Kay attended College of the Sequoias where she was an avid tennis player. She later obtained her Dental Hygiene degree and a B.S. degree from the University of California , San Francisco , School of Dentistry .

  While at UCSF, Ora Kay met a sophomore dental student, Edward Francis “Jock” Peterson, whom she later married. She graduated a year before her husband and worked as a dental hygiene instructor at UCSF until he graduated.

  Then, in 1953, the couple moved to Visalia , where they have lived continuously for 57 years. In addition to being a mother of four children, Ora Kay also worked as a hygienist in her husband's dental office for 45 years.

  Locally, Ora Kay was instrumental in the establishment of the Mineral King Preservation Society. In the summer of l986 she called together a small group of Mineral King residents to consider the preservation of the historic cabins in the Mineral King valley. It was believed that after the lapse of cabin permits the National Park Service would raze these dwellings, some of which are over a century old and many which have been used by multiple generations of the same family.

  Ora Kay had been the executive director of MKPS for over 20 years. Through her unwavering dedication, the cabins were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 as part of the Mineral King Cultural Historic Landscape District.

  Also as a result of her MKPS leadership, the following programs were created and projects completed to educate the public about the history of the cabins and the entire Mineral King area:

  —The “Picnic in the Park” program which has been held each July since l987 for Mineral King residents, visitors, and National Park Service personnel and features a keynote speaker, community updates, and lemonade and cookies, so often provided by Ora Kay.

  —The preservation of the Honeymoon Cabin at road's end in Mineral King that is now open to the public daily during the summer visitor season.

  —Assisted in the collection of mining equipment and other historic artifacts to create the display at the Mineral King Ranger Station.

  —Hiring of a cultural resource expert to collect data and document the history of the Mineral King valley, which includes trails, mines, road, hydroelectric dams, and cabins.

  As an additional testament to Ora Kay's dedication to local history, she was a member of the Tulare County Historical Society and served as the organization's president. She was also active in publicly promoting dental hygiene, both locally and statewide, and was honored for her commitment by local and statewide hygienist organizations.

  In recognition of her historical preservation efforts, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors proclaimed July 18, l998, as “Ora Kay Peterson Day.” On May 5, 2007 , she was inducted into the College of the Sequoias Hall of Fame.

  Ora Kay and Dr. Edward F. Peterson were married for 58 years. For more than a decade, she had been battling multiple sclerosis, but despite the challenges she faced with this disease, it never diminished her enthusiasm or her activities.

  Ora Kay was preceded in death by her son, Matthew Peterson, in 2004.

  She is survived by her husband, Jock; her children, Michael Peterson of Fremont, Marilyn Weldon of Tollhouse, and Martin Peterson of Clovis; sister Miriam Bartlett of Corcoran; and grandchildren Hailey and Kelcey Peterson, Cory Smith of Fortuna, and Samantha Weldon.

  In lieu of flowers, remembrances be made to the Mineral King  Preservation Society, P.O. Box 286, Exeter, CA 93221; or Tulare County Historical Society, P.O. Box 295, Visalia, CA 93279 .

 

Elise Becker

1955-2010

  Elise Kasten Becker of Three Rivers succumbed to cancer on Friday, July 23, 2010. She was 54.

  A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m., at First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.

  Elise was born October 18, 1955, in Washington , D.C., to Walter Mason Jr. and Connie Kasten. She was raised in Washington , D.C., and New York .

  For the past 10 years, Elise was an aesthetician. In 2002, she married Larry Becker, and the couple moved to Three Rivers in June 2003.

  Elise is survived by her husband of seven years, Larry; her parents, Walter and Dottie Mason and Connie and Sheldon Kasten; grandmother Elise Cusack; brother Walter Mason; and her aunts, Misty, Johanne, Phyllis, and Janie.

  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Elise's name to First Baptist Church , P.O. Box 35, Three Rivers, CA 93271 .

 

 
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