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In the News - Friday, NOVEMBER 16, 2007

Real estate slump

equals lower taxes

  It’s hard to imagine all the effects of the recent crisis in the mortgage industry and the nationwide slump in real estate. But for anyone who purchased property in Tulare County in the last two years, there could be some relief in the form of property tax savings.
   To capitalize immediately on the opportunity being offered by the Tulare County Assessor’s Office, some critical paperwork must be filed by the end of the month. Greg Hardcastle, Tulare County assessor, said some temporary reductions in property taxes might be in order even for the current assessment year under the provisions of Proposition 8.
   It won’t help most taxpayers on the recent bills that the county began mailing out in October because those taxes are calculated on housing values as of Jan. 1, 2007, prior to the recent downturn. But for some properties that might have been overvalued when the last assessment was figured, these property owners could benefit by requesting a temporary assessment before the Friday, Nov. 30, deadline.
   Homeowners who stand to benefit most from reassessment are those who paid top dollar for new or existing homes in the last two years. Residential properties are typically assessed when new construction is completed or when they change ownership.

  “We can reassess their property if the homeowner files an appeal through the Assessment Appeals Board,” Hardcastle said. “Applications are available from the Board of Supervisor’s office, located at 2800 W. Burrell Ave. To be immediately considered, the appeals must be filed by November 30.”
   After that date, property owners may contact the Tulare County Assessor’s Office and request a review seeking a change in assessed valuation before tax bills are calculated for the 2008-2009 tax year.
   Under California law, counties must use January 1 as the base date for calculating property values. The assessments are based on current home prices paid, with annual increases limited to two percent.

3R optometrist

named to state board

   Lee Goldstein, of Three Rivers, O.D., M.P.A., was one of a dozen appointments announced last week by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Goldstein, 64, was reappointed to a second four-year term on the State Board of Optometry.
   In 2006, Goldstein and his wife, Marcia, moved to Three Rivers from Claremont in Southern California where he had practiced optometry for more than four decades. The Goldsteins now make their home in the Cinnamon Creek area of the South Fork.
   The appointment to the state board marks the second consecutive term for Goldstein. In 2006-2007, he served as the board’s president.
   Goldstein has also served on several of the board’s committees including enforcement, legislation, the Executive Officer Selection Committee, and strategic planning. He is well versed in planning, having served on the City of Claremont Planning Commission from 1979 to 1987; chairing the planning commission during 1986-1987.
   Goldstein’s specialty in optometry is contact lenses, and he is also an acknowledged expert in public health issues. He has been a member of the California Optometric Association since 1990 and a special consultant to the State of California on various projects since 1972.
   The California State Board of Optometry was created by the California Legislature in 1913 to safeguard public health through the regulation of the practice of optometry. Historically, the Board’s primary functions have been licensing, developing standards and regulations, and taking disciplinary actions.
   The operation of the Board is funded entirely by fees collected from licenses and its applicants. Effective 2003, as a result of the Joint Legislative Sunset Review process, the Board was reconstituted. That was the year when Goldstein was first appointed.
   Today, the Board of Optometry is one of numerous boards, bureaus, commissions, and committees, within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), part of the State and Consumer Services Agency under the aegis of the governor. The Board of Optometry has policy autonomy, but the DCA retains administrative oversight and provides program support.
   The Board of Optometry is presently comprised of 11 members. By law, five are public members and six are optometry professionals like Goldstein. The Senate Rules Committee and Speaker of the Assembly each appoint one public member.
   With more than 6,600 practicing optometrists, the largest population of optometrists in the U.S., the Board is charged principally with the following duties and responsibilities:

  —Accrediting schools and colleges providing optometry degree programs.

  —Establishing educational requirements for admission to the examination for certificates of registration as California licensed optometrists.

  —Establishing exam requirements to ensure competence.

  —Setting and enforcing standards.

  —Establishing educational requirements to use and prescribe authorized pharmaceuticals.
   In addition to Goldstein’s appointment, Alejandro Arredondo, O.D., of Brea was also appointed to serve on the State Board of Optometry. The positions do not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem.

Fire’s cause a mystery

   A small fire that started in a pile of construction debris may have been spontaneous, or it’s possible that ignition was sparked by a careless smoker. That’s the latest from one of the firefighters who checked the property the next day for hot spots.
   The blaze flared up last Monday evening, Nov. 12, shortly before 9 p.m. on the Jerky This property adjacent to and on the south side of Sierra Drive. The jerky stand, across the highway from Reimer’s Candies, operates seasonally May to October and was closed at the time the fire occurred.
   It was not immediately known if anyone was on the premises when the fire was first reported as a structure fire. Several Tulare County fire engines were dispatched to the scene to provide back up for Engine 14 from Three Rivers.

  “When the first engine arrived, a small fire was burning in a debris pile that was associated with some railroad ties,” said a spokesperson from the Three Rivers Fire Station. “These trash fires, because of the creosote on the wood material, have been known to ignite from spontaneous combustion.”
   The fire was quickly extinguished and there was no damage to any structures. The cause of the blaze is under investigation by the Tulare County Fire Department.

Concert pianist

to perform locally

Samaritan Center announces

recital to benefit free mediation program

   The hills will be alive with the sound of music next week, and for a good cause.
   On Wednesday, Nov. 21, beginning at 7 p.m., concert and solo pianist Domonique Launey will perform a piano recital. The musical extravaganza will be held at the First Baptist Church in Three Rivers.
   The event is being held to benefit the Visalia Samaritan’s Centers mediation program, known as the Sequoia Community Mediation Center.
   Domonique is the sister of Catherine Launey, owner of Three Rivers Bed and Breakfast and a volunteer at the Mediation Center. Five other Three Rivers residents also volunteer their services to the nonprofit program.
   Domonique was the winner of the Gold Medal at L’Academie de Musique in Brussels, Belgium, and winner of both the Wideman Competition and University of Texas Symphony Concerto competitions. In a program expected to last about an hour and 15 minutes, Domonique will perform works by J.S. Bach, Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonate, a pair of Debussy preludes, and a Chopin scherzo.
   Suggested donations are $10 for adults, $5 for children.
   For more information about the recital or about Sequoia Community Mediation Center services, contact Edie Schroeder, 561-3662. For Samaritan Center information, call Michelle Gill, 733-7853.

Parks fire season

coming to a close

   The Davenport Prescribed Fire, which was one of the last projects on the books for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks fire crews this year, may be postponed. However, if the weather remains dry, there is a slim chance it could be ignited after the Thanksgiving holiday.
   But with crews being sent to fight the Southern California wildfires last month and seasonal workers now being laid off, it is becoming increasingly unlikely the 858-acre project along the Mineral King Road will occur.
   The Davenport Fire was one of 12 projects covering more than 3,500 acres that was planned for the 2007 season, but because of so many variables, all planned projects are rarely completed.
   Two lightning-ignited fires in the parks were all but extinguished due to last weekend’s moisture. The Baldy Ridge Fire in Kings Canyon National Park grew to a couple dozen acres after being sparked by lightning on Monday, Nov. 1.
   The Hidden Fire was discovered after the November 1 storm as well, but never grew to more than an acre. It was in the Yucca Ridge area of Sequoia National Park at 5,950 feet elevation.

Time to update phonebook

   The Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce is in the process of updating the community phonebook and plans to release a 2008-2009 edition.
   Input is currently needed. Now is the time to make additions, deletions, or changes to listings.
   Change forms may be obtained at Village Market, Anne Lang’s Emporium, and Three Rivers Drug. Changes may also be made online at:

Redbud Garden Club plans

tribute to longtime member

   The local Garden Club is inviting the community to gather outside the Three Rivers Post Office on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. Club members will dedicate the new native plant garden they installed to longtime Garden Club member and Three Rivers resident Jean Darsey (1921-2007).

  “Jean is a worthy recipient of this dedication as she was actively involved in the beautification of Three Rivers for many years and is well know for her work and interest in the community at large,” said Bettie Powert, a club member who is helping to organize the tribute.
   Jean was a member of many local service organizations, holding offices in all of them, including the Three Rivers Woman’s Club, the former Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce, Redbud Garden Club, Three Rivers Senior League, and Three Rivers Historical Society. She was also a Community Plan volunteer, Lady Angler, Koffe Klan bowler, Spanish Club member, and wrote a gardening column in the Three Rivers newspaper for 13 years.

  “Her many achievements have endeared her to those who know her with her charming wit and ready smile,” said Bettie. “Her legacy will always be the love she had for a garden.”
   After the dedication and plaque presentation, refreshments will be available. The event is free and open to the public.

VIPs offer home checks

and property patrols

   VIPs are “Volunteers In Patrol,” uniformed volunteers serving the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. They may be a source of comfort for Three Rivers residents as they will stop by to check on the homes of people who are planning to be away for more than a day or two.
   The VIPs who live in Three Rivers contribute their time and attention to the community in a variety of ways.
   Another service they will provide is checking on homebound folks. Any reader who knows of someone who lives alone and would want a visitor to check on him or her at least once a week, then the VIPS are the ones to call.
   To make a request for VIP services, pick up a form at the Three Rivers Post Office (located on the outer counter (adjacent to the post office boxes). Complete the form and mail it to P.O. Box 911. All requests are confidential.
   Meanwhile you may see the white and green patrol truck on the road as the VIPs routinely drive the area, assist stranded motorists, or check on anything that seems unusual. They regularly attend community events, simply offering a peaceful presence.
   The VIPs report directly to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department. For additional information, contact Jim Fansett, Three Rivers resident deputy.
   Anyone interesting in knowing more about the VIPs or getting involved in the program can attend their monthly meetings, held the fourth Saturday of each month, at 9 a.m., at the Gateway Restaurant.
   The next VIP training academy is scheduled for January 2008. Applications are available from any VIP.


Patricia Lauder, helped found

3R ambulance, Lady Lions
1920 ~ 2007
   Patricia Britten Lauder, a former longtime resident of Three Rivers, died Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, in Visalia from complications due to pneumonia. She was 87.
   A “Gathering of Friends” will be held Tuesday, Nov. 20, from 2 to 5 p.m., at Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel, 127 E. Caldwell Ave., Visalia. On Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 11 a.m., a graveside service will commence at Three Rivers Cemetery (if it rains, the service will be moved to the Community Presbyterian Church). A reception will follow at the church’s Harrison Hall.
   Patsy was born March 7, 1920, in Fresno to Oliver and Phila Sisler, their only child. She attended Fresno schools until, at age 15, her father began working for the National Park Service as a building superintendent, working at that time with the CCCs in Kaweah Country.
   The family relocated to Three Rivers, residing at Pumpkin Hollow. Patsy attended Woodlake High School and graduated from there in 1937. She continued her education at Visalia Junior College (present-day College of the Sequoias).
   Soon after her high school graduation, Patsy met and fell in love with N. Richard “Dick” Britten of the Three Rivers pioneer Britten family.
   Dick and Patsy were married in April 1938. Dick had recently graduated from UC Berkeley, and the couple made their home in Three Rivers.
   As World War II began, Dick enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. Dick and Patsy lived at various Air Corps stations throughout the U.S.
   In 1943, Dick’s plane was shot down over the North Sea and he became a prisoner of war in Germany. During that time, Patsy moved in with her parents at Manzanar, where she went to work at the Relocation Center.
   When the war ended, Dick was released and returned home. The couple again settled in Three Rivers where, in 1946, Dick founded Britten Trucking (today, L.E. Britten Construction, owned by Dick and Patsy’s son).
   Also in 1946, Patsy and Dick welcomed their son, Larry, into their lives. In 1954, daughter Julie was born.
   Patsy was a stay-at-home mom who was involved with the Three Rivers PTA, 4-H, and the Community Presbyterian Church, of which she was a member for more than 60 years. In addition, she was the first president and charter member of the Three Rivers Lady Lions and a charter member of the Three Rivers Volunteer Ambulance Committee, serving as secretary/treasurer for 25 years.
   She was also a charter member of the Three Rivers Travel Club and Three Rivers Historical Society and served as secretary of the former Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce. In 1941, she was president of the Three Rivers Woman’s Club and is the only member of the 91-year-old club to be named an Honorary Member (holding at least three offices and performing above and beyond in the club and the community) and a Life Member (member for 50 years or more).
   Patsy was preceded in death by her husband of 39 years, Dick, in 1978.
   For more than 50 years, Patsy met at least once a month with a group of lifelong friends to play bridge. Today, just one of these friends survives.
   Patsy was an avid sports fan, enjoying watching the San Francisco 49ers and Giants on television. She attended COS football games for many years and was a “Red Waver,” following the Fresno State Bulldogs during football and basketball seasons.
   In 1985, Patsy married Bill Lauder. The couple had met through mutual friends, and they enjoyed traveling the U.S. together following the High Sierra Jazz Band.
   After 15 years of marriage, Patsy was preceded in death by Bill in 2000.
   In 2003, after a long illness, Patsy left Three Rivers, her home for nearly 70 years, and moved to the Oak Meadows Apartments in Visalia. There, she continued her active lifestyle and made many new friends.
   Patsy is survived by her son, Larry, and wife Kathy of Visalia; daughter Julie Bruns and husband Daryl of Visalia; and her grandchildren, Christopher Britten and his wife, Natalie, and Denae and Britteney Bruns.
   In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Patsy’s name to her favorite charity, the Valley Oak SPCA, 29016 Highway 99, Visalia, CA 93277 (ph. 651-1111; website:, so that all animals may have a chance for life.

Denver Carr, retired 3R

business owner, 40-year resident
1912 ~ 2007
   Denver Howard Carr died Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, at his Three Rivers home. He would have turned 95 next week.
   A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. at the Community Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers. Interment will be private.
   Denver was born Nov. 24, 1912, in Macville Township, Minn. He was the second son of three children born to Perry Tremble Carr, a descendant of Plymouth Colony settlers, and Cora Elizabeth Meek Carr of Delaware Indian lineage.
   Denver grew up on the family homestead in northern Minnesota. In 1933, Denver married the former Cora Evelyn Gillson.
   While residing in the Midwest, one of Denver and Evelyn’s greatest pleasures was dancing at the Grange Hall on Saturday nights. When not dancing, Evelyn would be at the piano and Denver on the fiddle or calling square dances.
   In 1941, the Carr family came west to Burbank. Denver worked at Lockheed Aircraft as an inspector, working on Vega Ventura bombers and P-38 fighters.
   In 1966, Denver and Evelyn, along with their son, Lyle, and his family, moved to Three Rivers after purchasing the Three Rivers Motel and Trailer Park (present-day Three Rivers Hideaway). Denver retired from the lodging business in 1971.
   He was active in Three Rivers activities, including the local Senior League. He attended the club’s Men’s Breakfast regularly and spearheaded the Gleaners, procuring in-season produce for members.
   Denver also was on the board of directors of the Valley Oak Credit Union, serving as chairman for a term. He enjoyed fishing the Kaweah River, hiking, and painting houses and doing maintenance work for several subsequent owners of the motel and trailer park.
   In 2000, Denver was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Evelyn.
   He is survived by his son, Lyle Carr, and wife Carol of Visalia; two grandchildren, Debra Thomas and husband Tim of Visalia and Dr. Timothy Carr and wife Marion of Lincoln, Neb.; and four great-grandchildren, Jaime, Andrew, Erin, and Rebecca.

THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
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