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In the News - Friday, December 21, 2012



No road construction delays for the holidays

  For the first time since May 2010, from December 23 through January 1, there will be no road construction delays on the Generals Highway for travelers on their way to snow play, the Giant Forest attractions, Lodgepole, or Wuksachi Village. Two lanes are now open on the newly reconstructed segment of the historic highway above Amphitheater Point.
   Beginning January 2, delays will be limited to 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., except when specific segments are being paved. There will be no delays during non-work hours.
   This construction project is now expected to be concluded by summer 2013.
   The utilities construction on a 1.25-mile section of roadway in Giant Forest that has also necessitated a lane closure and up to a separate 20-minute traffic delay has been suspended for the winter season.
   All vehicles are required to carry chains and most, except four-wheel drive vehicles, will be subject to use their chains because of the series of storms that is expected to bring new snow to elevations above 5,000 feet.
   For the latest parks road information, call 565-3341.

More rain and snow in forecast,

but it’s not the end of the world

  All the hoopla surrounding the end of the Mayan calendar is just that: the end of the Mayan calendar but, if you are reading this, not the end of the world as some soothsayers had predicted. What is for certain is that today (December 21) marks the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year for those in the Northern Hemisphere.
   On this first official day of winter, snowplay areas at Wolverton and Grant Grove have patchy snow with depths up to a foot where snow has drifted. The Mineral King valley at 8,000 feet has a foot of snow cover.
   In Kaweah Country, the weather will continue to feel like winter with daytime highs in the upper 50s. At the higher elevations, daytime temperatures will barely reach the freezing mark and up to a foot of new snow is expected by Sunday night.
   The foothills around Three Rivers could receive an inch of rain on top of the current total (Dec. 20) of 5.05 inches. At this time last year (2011) the rainfall total for Three Rivers was 4.78 inches without a drop during the month of December and not much of a snowpack for the entire season. In 2010, Three Rivers received 11.86 inches in December alone; the season ended with a whopping 32 inches and a huge snowpack in the nearby mountains.
   What will 2013 bring? With a mild El Nino building, it’s a safe bet it will be somewhere in between the seasonal average of 20 inches and the above-normal 32 inches of two years ago.

Christmas shopping experience is best in Three Rivers

Don’t be a yokel, shop local! For those who are notorious for their last-minute gift-buying, in Three Rivers, there are shops that are open right up till the big day with no crowds, and plenty of parking.

By Holly Gallo

  If you’re looking for a more international approach to shopping locally, HEART’S DESIRE GIFTS (open Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to dark) has that and more. Judy Carreras’s wares are fair trade and provide “unique gifs for everyone,” from clothing to home décor. The scarves and purses from Guatemala and India are her biggest sellers, but browsing through the lightly incensed room reveals many treasures. Heart’s Desire features Indonesian art and musical instruments, new and used books, international music CDs, greeting cards, and jewelry. An entire wall is dedicated to scented soaps, lotions, and candles, and there’s even a selection of locally made pottery and other local artwork.
   NADI’S STUDIO AND GALLERY, which owner Nadi Spencer says is the oldest art studio in Three Rivers, has great gifts that focus especially on the beauty of Three Rivers.
   Nadi has been a professional artist for more than 40 years, and the more than 50 original paintings available for sale express both keen talent and faithfulness to the natural, historic, and social scenery of Kaweah Country. Though there are original paintings in every size, for smaller gifts her studio also sells T-shirts, coffee mugs, Christmas ornaments, and greeting cards adorned with her work. The studio is impossible to miss with its brightly colored curb appeal, and visitors are welcome to stop by seven days a week.
   Shopping for outdoor enthusiasts is made easy at SEQUOIA OUTDOOR SPORTS. Their expertly guided snowshoe walks during the winter season and day or overnight hiking trips in the summer make a unique present as they offer gift certificates for both, or they will provide an adventure outing while family visits for the holidays.
   The store also has everything one would need for camping and backpacking no matter what the season, including cooking equipment, backpacks, hats, gloves, gaiters, snow boots, headlamps, and tents of all sizes. If shopping for snowplay toys and gear, their selection includes recreational as well as professional grade boots, clothing, accessories, and equipment. They also offer snow chains for sale, and books and trail maps are also available.
Sequoia Outdoor Sports is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
   Though ANNE LANG’S EMPORIUM has been treasured as one of the best places to grab lunch in Three Rivers since 1979, it offers more than a satisfied palate. Whether for doctoring a recipe or a seasonal affliction, an entire corner of the deli and gift shop is reserved for a collection of culinary spices and medicinal herbs.
   Shoppers will also find a wide selection of greeting cards, holiday ornaments, and locally made jewelry. The most prized gift at the Emporium, however, is Anne’s fresh flower arrangements. During the holidays, it is the seasonal centerpieces that are the most coveted.   And if wishing to send season’s greetings to friends and family elsewhere, the Emporium ships these colorful arrangements anywhere in the world.
   Anne Lang’s Emporium is open Monday through Saturday till 5 p.m. and closed Sundays during the winter.
   Open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, TOTEM MARKET’s long-lived shop displays a variety of merchandise. Much is focused on park activities, such as snow hats, gloves, and snow boots. They also carry some last-minute camping gear, such as lamp oil, eating utensils, binoculars, tent stakes, and toiletries, and have snow chains available for rent. Beyond the active wear, they also sell incense and Native American art, as well as jewelry, knives, and clothing.
   THE ART CO-OP presents another great opportunity to support local artists while completing your holiday shopping. Open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday (and on Christmas Eve!), several local and area artists have their crafts and artworks available for sale.
   The Co-Op offers jewelry from several designers in the area, as well as handmade ornaments. Also available are hand-painted scarves, ceramic wear, and gourds. The Co-Op also sells original paintings by talented local artists.

SFCC reveals 2013 plans at holiday mixer

  As part of their ongoing mission to support local businesses in Kaweah Country, the Sequoia Foothills Chamber of Commerce will begin to concentrate their efforts on stimulating business during the typically slower winter months, Chamber president Peter Sodhy announced at the quarterly mixer on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
   This effort to increase the visibility of foothills businesses is in part already in progress. The Chamber website www.threerivers.com features a revolving banner publicizing member events, such as 1st Saturday, local visual and literary artists’ events, Three Rivers Performing Arts Institute events, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks visitor opportunities.
   Beginning January 1, 2013, the Chamber will sponsor its seventh annual Hero Appreciation Months program, which gives a 20 percent discount to first responders, veterans, and military personnel at dozens of participating businesses from January through March. Each month, there will be a Friday evening celebration at the Historical Museum where local honorees, who will be announced in the coming weeks, will be honored and presented with an original work of art.
   In addition, a Snowman Contest will occur January 19 at Wuksachi, March 30 will mark the Bathtub Race for charity at Lake Kaweah, and a Learn to Square Dance Party will take place at the Three Rivers Memorial Building every Wednesday night in February. Lessons will be taught by Mark and Dot Robb, and the final dance will include a pie social.


Francis Brown
1932 ~ 2012

   Francis D. Brown, a former resident of Three Rivers, passed away at his Visalia home on Monday evening, Dec. 10, 2012, surrounded by his loving family. He was 80.
   A celebration of life will be held at the White Horse Inn in Three Rivers on Sunday, Dec. 23, 2 p.m. All who knew Francis are invited to attend.
   Francis was born to Dick and Lela Brown on June 4, 1932, in Billings, Okla. From 1950 to 1953, he served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict, receiving an honorable discharge.
   On August 25, 1954, he married the former Mary J. Siler. He was a bulldozer operator with the California Department of Forestry (present-day Cal Fire), cutting fire lines during forest fires throughout California.
   In 1961, Francis, Mary, and their three children moved to Three Rivers. Francis became the resident fireman serving the community.
   On January 11, 1964, he and Mary bought Three Rivers Market and, later, Skyway Liquor and Sporting Goods (in the present-day Chump’s building). In 1971, Francis returned to what he was absolutely the best at: heavy equipment operator.
   During the 1980s he was co-owner of Beige Construction. He also was an equipment operator at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, retiring in 1996.
   He was a longtime member of the Three Rivers Lions Club.
   Francis was preceded in death by his wife, Mary, son Douglas, father Dick Brown, mother Lela Brown, and sisters Shirley Gammon and Sue Smelser.
   He is survived by his wife, Carol Brown of Visalia; son Michael Brown and wife Theresa of DeKalb, Ill.; son Clayton Brown and wife Kathy of Three Rivers; daughter Jeanne White and husband Gary of Three Rivers; daughter Carolann DeMoss and husband Mark of Los Banos; daughter Janice Eastburn of Visalia; daughter Julie Eastburn of Santa Clara; 11 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
   There will be a private graveside ceremony. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Francis’s name to Tulare County Hospice, 900 W. Oak Ave., Visalia, CA 93291.
   Condolences may be sent to the family at www.evansmillerguinnchapel.com.

Robert Jones
1922 ~ 2012

   Robert Jones died Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. He was 90.
   Bob was born in Havelock, Neb., on September 3, 1922, the youngest of four children. His school years were spent in Nebraska City and Omaha where he graduated from Omaha Tech.
   In 1940 he joined his two sisters who already were living in California. The life-changing World War II motivated him to volunteer first for the Merchant Marines and then the Army Air Corps, where he spent 3 years, 3 months and 3 days.
   After leaving the Air Corps and returning to California, Bob met the challenges of higher education at Long Beach City College, USC, and Long Beach State College. He was president of the first class to graduate from the latter institution and received his B.A. in 1950.
   Following three years of teaching at elementary schools in Upland and Norwalk, Bob returned to California State University, Long Beach, and received his M.A. in Education.
   In 1954, Bob began his 26-year teaching career in Long Beach. It was a varied career: elementary, junior high, and college; traditional sixth-grade classes and classes for the developmentally disabled. His favorite teaching assignment was for the Long Beach Unified School District’s outdoor conservation/science program at Camp Hi Hill, 4,000 feet above Pasadena.
   In 1959, Bob married the former Margaret Busch. In 1980, the couple retired and moved to Three Rivers.
   Bob took advantage of the many opportunities for volunteer service. He served as president of the Three Rivers Senior League, was an ordained elder in the Community Presbyterian Church, sang in the church choir, and assisted with Bible study and activities for youth groups.
   In 2006, Bob and Margaret moved to Quail Park Retirement Community. Bob enjoyed being with people and participating in exercise classes, golf putting, Wii sports, choir, and a variety of games.
   During the brief illness that took his life, longtime church friend Jacque Randolph was the special angel who helped with his care.
   Bob is survived by his wife of 53 years, Margaret; and his nephew and three nieces.
Services will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, remembrances in Bob’s name may be made to Community Presbyterian Church. P.O. Box 685, Three Rivers, CA 93271.



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
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