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In the News - Friday, November 7, 2008


—See this week's FRONT PAGE (PDF)



Barack Obama elected 44th president

in milestone election

   It was a defining moment in the history of the United States of America as the nation overwhelming voted Barack Obama as their next president. With 349 electoral votes to his opponent’s 173, Obama becomes the first African American to hold the highest office in the land.
   As history was made on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2008, people spilled into the streets all across the country — including more than 100,000 in Chicago’s Grant Park, the president-elect’s hometown — to celebrate the landmark election, and the world cheered. In a little over two months, the young black senator from Illinois will assume the role of U.S. president.
   Obama is the product of a brief biracial marriage between a black man from Kenya who was in the U.S. as a college student and a white woman from Kansas. He was raised by a single mother and her parents, none of whom lived to see him assume the presidency. His grandmother passed away one day before the election, although she did have the privilege of voting for him by absentee ballot.
   But for most voters, this election wasn’t about race. Basically, Obama was a presidential candidate who just happened to be black. Most important about this accomplishment is that it proves that in America, anyone can be anything; they are only limited by their dreams. And now, any child in the nation can be told, “You can be president,” because in 2008, it came true.
   The country has come a long way since Aug. 28, 1963, when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said: “I have a dream… that all men are created equal… [and] my four little children will grow up in a nation where they are judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.” Many people gave their blood or, ultimately, their lives to make this day a reality.
   Tulare County, however, remains strongly a Republican county in presidential and congressional elections. The last Democratic candidate for president to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and it was this president who, within a year, signed the Civil Rights Act.
   In Tulare County, Senator John McCain, Obama’s Republican opponent, won the majority of the vote, 57 to 42 percent. Statewide, it was a different story.
   In fact, immediately upon the closing of the polls at 8 p.m., California’s 55 electoral votes were added to Obama’s tally, and that was what he needed to reach the required 270. California overwhelmingly supported Obama, 61 to 37 percent.
   Now the president-elect, who ran on an anti-war platform, faces a daunting task as the to-do list on his desk in the Oval Office includes some of the most serious issues ever faced: improving the economy and increasing job growth; ending a pre-emptive war, increasing national security, and continuing the hunt for Osama bin Laden; combating global warming and pursuing energy independence; enacting healthcare and tax reforms; repairing international relations and this nation’s standing in the world; and, finally, instilling confidence in the American people.
   As the Obama family moves into the White House, other milestones will be marked. Barack Obama, 47, is the first member of Congress to be elected president since John F. Kennedy.
   His wife, Michelle, 44, is the youngest First Lady since Jackie Kennedy. And their children, Malia, 10, and Natasha (Sasha), 7, mark the return of young children to the White House, which hasn’t heard the pitter-patter of little feet since some other little Democrats made the House their home: Chelsea Clinton, who moved in at 12 in 1993; Amy Carter, 9, in 1977; and Caroline and John (Jr.) Kennedy, who were three years old and two months old, respectively, at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in January 1961.
   The president-elect and new commander-in-chief will be sworn in to office on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.


   On Wednesday, Nov. 5, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released the following statement:

  “Today is a historic day for our nation — a day many thought they’d never see. It is an end to a long and important campaign, and the beginning of a new and challenging era. Californians can be proud of the role they played in this election — not just in choosing our next president, but in shaping the issues that were discussed and debated.

  “I congratulate President-elect Barack Obama and look forward to working with him, from across the country and across the aisle. I am hopeful that President-elect Obama will bring a spirit to our nation’s capital that moves us past partisanship and divisiveness, and reminds us that we serve all of the people.

  “Our country faces challenges in the months and years ahead. We must put our financial markets back on solid ground; continue to protect and fight for freedom; and do this all without wavering in our commitments to our environment, expanding renewable energies, and pursuing more affordable healthcare.

  “I stand ready to assist our next president in meeting our challenges and know that the California people are eager to ensure that issues important to our state are an integral part of the next administration.”

How 3R votes…
and other results

   When the Tuesday, Nov. 4, election is finally certified in a couple of weeks, more than 100,000 voters will have voted in Tulare County and those numbers are unprecedented in local annals. Currently, there are 146,415 registered voters countywide.

  “There was obviously a lot of interest in this election,” said Paul Sampietro, Tulare County elections manager. “We had several hundred new registrations come in right before the deadline.”
   On Wednesday, the day after the historic election, the entire elections staff was busy wading through more than 20,000 provisional and absentee ballots that still had to be counted. Sampietro said he doesn’t expect the outcome to change in most of the local races but there are, at times, surprises.
   House of Representatives— As far as the countywide numbers, there weren’t any surprises as Tulare County voters remained true to their conservative heritage. Republican Devin Nunes retained his 21st District congressional seat by winning 69.55 percent of the vote.
   State Assembly— Republican Connie Conway, the current chair of the Tulare County supervisors, was elected to the 34th District State Assembly seat vacated by Bill Maze, garnering 65 percent of the vote.
   In the Three Rivers precincts, there were some interesting trends and maybe a surprise or two.

  “The turnout is always higher in Three Rivers than the rest of the county,” Sampietro said. “But to know the exact figure [estimated to be more than 80 percent and around 70 percent countywide], we’ll have to wait until all the ballots are counted.”
   The election night totals were as follows reflecting approximately the 70 percent of Three Rivers registered voters who cast their ballots on Tuesday at the Three Rivers Memorial Building.


Three Rivers:
REP John McCain, 414 votes
DEM Barack Obama, 576

Tulare County:
REP John McCain, 57%
DEM Barack Obama, 42%

REP John McCain, 37%
DEM Barack Obama, 61%


Three Rivers:
REP. Devin Nunes, 517
DEM Larry Johnson, 474

Three Rivers:
REP Connie Conway, 583
DEM Desmond Farrelly, 483

Two seats; both incumbents re-elected
Three Rivers:
Wayne Hardcastle, 397
Kent Owen, 612

Wayne Hardcastle, 456
Kent Owen, 326

1A-High Speed Rail

Yes 524 — No 580
(Tulare Co.: No; California: Yes)

2-Standards for Farm Animals
Yes 654
— No 454
(Tulare Co.: No; California, Yes)

3-Children’s Hospitals
Yes 549 — No 550
(Tulare Co.: Yes; California: Yes)

4-Abortion Notification
Yes 496 — No 598
(Tulare Co.: Yes; California: No)

5-Drug Offenses
Yes 427 — No 660
(Tulare Co.: No; California: No)

6-Criminal Justice

Yes 286 — No 786
(Tulare Co.: No; California: No)

7-Renewable Energy
Yes 359 — No 729
(Tulare Co.: No; California: No)

8-Same-sex Marriage Ban

Yes 561 — No 562
(Tulare Co.: Yes; California: Yes)

9-Victims’ Rights
Yes 543
— No 535
(Tulare Co.: Yes; California: Yes)

10-Alternative Fuels
Yes 379 — No 517
(Tulare Co.: No; California: No)

Yes 651
— No 408
(Tulare Co.: No; California: Too close to call)

12-Loans for Veterans
Yes 674
— No 409
(Tulare Co.: Yes; California: Yes)

Measure I-COS Bond
Yes 679
— No 420
(Visalia district: Yes)

  The two vacancies on the Three Rivers School board were not on the November 4 ballot because only one candidate filed to run. Valerie Abanathie, former TRUS business manager, automatically won a seat. When no other applicants applied, incumbent Kristina Roper Graber was appointed to the seat she had inadvertently vacated by not meeting the filing deadline.

Scenic highway plan unveiled

   A cross-section of local business persons, property owners, and residents were in attendance at last Monday’s Town Hall meeting to hear details of the corridor protection plan for the Kaweah State Scenic Highway. The plan is the final step in a Caltrans application that seeks to formally designate as a scenic highway a 16-mile stretch of Highway 198 from Lake Kaweah to the Ash Mountain entrance to Sequoia National Park.
   Tom Sparks, one of the principal proponents of the plan, chaired the meeting on behalf of the Three Rivers Village Foundation. He introduced David Claxton, chief planner with countywide planning, who helped draft the corridor protection plan.
   Claxton said in order to qualify as a California scenic highway the corridor protection plan must meet five legislatively required elements:

—Regulation of land use and density
—Detailed land use site planning
—Control of outdoor advertising
—Careful attention to earthmoving and landscaping, and
—Design and appearance of structures.
   There are two key areas, Claxton said, that provide additional regulations if and when the plan is adopted from planning ordinances that are already in place. Those have to do primarily with the regulation of signage and site-plan review when property owners want to alter existing properties or apply for new development.
   When the corridor protection plan was first proposed, some existing properties were to be “grandfathered in” and new regulations would apply only in the event that the property was razed and rebuilt. Claxton admitted that the ground rules for grandfathering changed after the county’s plan incorporated the preliminary feedback. The protection plan was further refined after Michael Mills of Caltrans, who oversees the district’s scenic highway program, suggested additional changes.
   Mills said the plan should define the outer boundaries of the corridor, not just the setback of 300 feet from the centerline of the highway, and he suggested that the Foothill Growth Management Plan-style provisions for hilltop and steep-slope development be applied to the whole corridor.
   In addition, Mills proposed that design-review standards be tightened for buildings, landscaping, grading, and the appearance of utility structures. The bottom line is there might be additional cost incurred by property owners who are required to have a site review.
   Allen Ishida, county supervisor, who was also in attendance, said that Three Rivers business owners who are affected must reach some consensus and furnish that input to county planners.

  “If the business owners of Three Rivers are not comfortable with the restrictions, the entire commercial district could be excluded from the scenic highway’s boundaries,” Ishida said.
   At least two business owners questioned if Three Rivers really needs the designation and the added regulations. Proponents maintain that the designation will boost tourism and furnish grant money for infrastructure improvements.

  “The most important win-win,” said Tom Sparks, “is that the scenic highway program will enhance local property values and preserve the beauty of the Kaweah canyon.”
   Claxton said that none of the plan’s provisions are set in stone, and he welcomes any input to be incorporated into the final plan.

  “There will also be opportunities for interested parties to furnish public testimony during public hearings to be scheduled by the Tulare County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors,” Claxton said.
   At its Wednesday, Nov. 5, meeting the Tulare County Planning Commission approved a resolution authorizing county planning staff to set the first round of public hearings. Sparks said he wants to bring back the item at the December town meeting for more discussion. Copies of maps and all reports are available for review at the CSD office.

Monthly jazz club

concert free to all

   In 1973, a banjo-playing European wood-carver, married to Gaynor McKee’s cousin, named Leuder Ohlwein brought a dramatic change to the lives of a number of old-timers in Three Rivers. He talked them into starting both a jazz band and a jazz club.
   From the start, he invited other well-known jazz bands to come here to entertain his Sierra Traditional Jazz Club along with his Jazzberry Jam Band. It was a real success.
   After a few years, under new leadership, the band became the High Sierra Jazz Band, and the club continued. High Sierra was immediately recognized as one of the top bands on the jazz-festival circuit.
   They then played once each month for the club, along with another invited jazz band. As time went by, their popularity grew so much that they began to have time conflicts with the club schedule.
   So now, the club plans its annual schedule by having High Sierra whenever available and choosing other outstanding bands for the other months. This month, our visiting band will be the Cats ‘N’ Jammers band from Sacramento. They’ve been among the more favored jazz bands since 1980 and invited here many times.
   The music played by these bands can be called Dixieland or traditional or classic jazz. Whatever, it is music with its roots in New Orleans. Renditions are filled with improvisations; no two are exactly alike. The music is happy music; toe-tapping and hand-clapping are spontaneous.
   Because we want you to share our enjoyment, this month’s attendance is FREE! Come try it out TOMORROW, Saturday, Nov. 8. Music lasts from 6 to 10 p.m. Food by the Three Rivers Historical Society will be available and sales benefit the museum. A bar is run by the Jazz Club.
   Annual membership in the club costs $25 for a single and $40 for a couple. Paid now will carry through December 2009.
   Members attend the monthly concerts for free. (Non-members pay $10.) Members also receive a newsletter and get a discount for Jazzaffair. High Sierra will play here six times in 2009.

Arts Alliance develops artists' brochure


   Three Rivers has earned its reputation as an artists’ community and yet visitors to town often ask, “Where are all of the artists?” Of course, we know that we are busily working away in our studios and homes tucked away in the hills.
   The Arts Alliance of Three Rivers wants to help visitors find us. Work has begun on creating a full-color brochure to be made available to the public. The brochure will include information on who the artists are and how to contact us.
Participants must work from a home or studio located in Three Rivers. There will also be a listing of musicians and performing artists in Three Rivers.
   This brochure is a service provided exclusively to members of the Arts Alliance for the low fee of $10. Artists wishing to include a photo of their work may do so for an additional $35. The participant’s name, business name, phone number, address, email address, website, and 25 words of description are included in the initial $10 fee. Each word after the first 25 will cost 25 cents.
   Information in the brochure will be posted to the Arts Alliance website, which is linked to the Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce website. The brochure will be placed at the chamber office and in motels, restaurants, and other businesses in Three Rivers and surrounding areas.
   The brochure application and guidelines were included in the October issue of the Arts Alliance newsletter. Both forms are also available on the Arts Alliance website: www.artsthreerivers.org. Applications and checks must be received by November 22 to be included in the 2009 brochure. Information: 561-4048 or weave@gotsky.com.

Raw milk: A healthy choice as nature intended


  “As safe as mother's milk” holds many connotations from the maximum security of an infant in its mother's arms to the purity of delivery from source to mouth untouched even by air. It also means the safest food to eat or drink.
   Obviously, milk is a complete food for the growing infant, perfect just as it is created, which is raw. Raw milk is unheated, it is not pasteurized.
   The real milk comes directly from a mother’s breast to consumer, with nothing added or removed, and it is not heated beyond body temperature.
   Commercial milk is pasteurized, which means heating it to 140 degrees to kill any potentially dangerous disease organisms. Unfortunately, this denatures, or changes, the delicate protein molecules, making them harder for our bodies to utilize. This is suspected to increase the tendency for allergies and, indeed, allergies have a way of lessening on raw milk.
   Then there is homogenization, or violently shaking the milk, to break up the fat globules into tiny pieces so the cream doesn't rise to the top. This is done only for the convenience of mass delivery and allows the fat molecules to enter the bloodstream too soon before complete digestion. This has its own suspects for causing health problems.
   The main part of milk that is removed is the cream; unfortunately for our health and fortunately for those selling the butterfat. Have you ever wondered what the saying “the cream of the crop" means? It means the very best and that is what cream is; the flavor, the texture, the health properties of the milk.
   It also is the most valuable part to sell. What masterful trickery to convince a nation to drink skim milk so the cream could be sold separately. Skim milk is thin and not tasty.
   Growing mammals don't do well on just skim milk. Besides tasting delicious, that cream, with its fat that’s rich in vitamins, is vital for growing nerves and bodies.
   Coconut oil is added back in for 2-percent milk because it costs less than cream and also is one of the few oils besides butterfat containing lauric acid, which is vital for growth. Coconut oil was never on the label either, and who knows what else was added that wasn't on the label.
   As for the additives, it used to be just vitamin D but now other vitamins and minerals may be added, all in an attempt to regain some of the finely-tuned balance in the original real milk, which was already perfect. Two details need to be mentioned here.
   First, for economy, synthetic vitamin D was added, which is difficult for our bodies to utilize. Natural vitamin D is always present with vitamin A, and they are needed together to utilize calcium.
   Second, it’s more important for the vitamins and minerals in our bodies to be in the proper balance with each other than to be in any given quantity. So adding vitamins to milk tends to upset natural balances in what was an ideal food.
   That’s the cream of the information on the differences between raw and pasteurized milk. To learn more, attend the free presentation on raw milk on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 3:30 p.m., at the Mosley ranch on South Fork Drive. Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures raw-milk dairy, will discuss the health benefits of raw milk and raw-milk products as well as provide samples to taste. To attend, call me, 561-3161, or Teriz Mosley, 561-3637.
   Anore Jones resides in Three Rivers, where she and her husband, Keith, raise goats for milk, packing, weedeating, and more… and drink raw milk!


Chamber supports local community efforts

   The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce works to improve the economic health and quality of life of Three Rivers and surrounding gateway communities through a variety of activities.
   Some projects target folks outside this area to encourage tourism and visitor spending. Other activities go on right here at home, so support local community groups and their efforts to improve the quality of life in Three Rivers.
   This Saturday, Nov. 8, the Community Presbyterian Church is hosting Al Stoppel Cleanup Day, beginning at 7 a.m. The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce is grateful to the church for stepping in to organize this important activity to beautify our community.
   The Chamber encourages business owners and local residents to join in this effort by picking up trash along the highways. Merchants are also encouraged to conduct their own fall cleanup around their businesses as well.
   After working hard to beautify Three Rivers, don't forget to enjoy the volunteer breakfast back at the church, partially sponsored by the Sequoia Foothills Chamber.
   Another exciting event going on in Three Rivers is a silent auction, sponsored by the Three Rivers Historical Society. Be sure to stop by the museum before 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16, to bid on more than 50 unique items. It's the perfect time to look for holiday gifts and to support local merchants and artists. The museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
   The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce strives to support a variety of partner efforts in the community. For the silent auction, the Chamber donated a “gardener's bucket,” filled with planting and gardening goodies. All items in the bucket were purchased from local merchants so support local commerce while recycling money into the community.
   Article by Johanna Kamansky, chamber president.

   These stories and so much more in the weekly print edition of The Kaweah Commonwealth.


THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
© Copyright 2003-2008 The Kaweah Commonwealth