Community News for May 24, 2012 edition

May 24, 2012 

Memorial Day service at Little Church

A memorial Day service is being held at 9 a.m. Monday, May 25 at the Little Church on the Hill in Oakhill Cemetery in Oakhurst and the public is invited. The non-denominational service will feature patriotic music and Chaplain Marc Unger, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Oakhurst, will deliver the message titled, "The Bunker."

The Avenue of Flags will line the main drive to the Little Church honoring the memory of deceased veterans. The patriotic display is a joint effort of the American Legion, the Marine Corps League, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who display the burial flags donated by veteran families in the Mountain Area.

Those desiring to donate a flag may contact Bill Volner at (559) 658-2684. The VFW and the Marine Corps League will also offer Veteran's Memorial Services at the Ahwahnee Roundhouse Cemetery at 9 a.m., the Chukchansi Cemetery at 11 a.m., and the North Fork Cemetery at 1 p.m.

Authorities urge safety this weekend

Authorities are reminding people to be cautious while working and traveling on Memorial Day weekend due to the danger of wild fires. Temperatures are rising and vegetation is beginning to dry out and can ignite quickly, spreading fire rapidly with the slightest wind.

Improper or careless use of yard equipment, power tools and vehicles are a major cause of wildfire.

Approximately 98% of all fires in the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit are human caused.

Bass Lake clean-up

The Annual Bass Lake Clean-up will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 9 at Recreation Point at the lake.

Gloves, trash bags and water will be given to volunteers who help pick up liter and bigger items around the lake's shores and roadways. A ticket will be given for each bag turned in. After the free barbecue lunch, there will be a drawing for prizes provided by local sponsors. The free barbecue lunch will be cooked and served by Sierra Recreation, a division of California land Management. Host Skip Bullock will emcee the drawing activities. Boy Scouts can earn merit badge by participating.

Details: Linda Sadler, (559) 642-3212 or

National Parks free entrance to military

To show appreciation for those who serve in the United States military, the National Park Service will begin issuing an annual pass offering free entrance to all 397 national parks for active duty military members and their dependents. The annual pass were offered for the first time May 19, which was Armed Forces Day.

"We all owe a debt to those who sacrifice so much to protect our country," said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher. "We are proud to recognize these brave men and women and hope that a visit to this or any national park will offer an opportunity to unwind, relax, rejuvenate and just have fun with their families."

Active duty members of the U.S. military and their dependents can pick up their pass at any of the five entrance stations to Yosemite National Park. Military members and dependents must show a current, valid military identification card to obtain their pass. More information is available at

Fire fees opposed

The Regional Council of Rural Counties, with the help of one of its board members, testified before a regulatory hearing strongly voicing objections to imposing fees on structure owners in the State Responsibility Area (SRA) May 16.

Richard Forster, RCRC board chairman of the regulatory committee and Amador County supervisor, Richard Forster testified on behalf of rural counties against SRA fees, also referred to as a 'fire fee.'

A number of arguments against SRA fees were made, including the potential long-term liability to the state by assuming a greater role in fire prevention when homeowners paying the SRA fee expect that Cal FIRE has made their homes fire-resistant. Subsequently, if residents' homes are destroyed in a wildfire, and it is discovered that Cal FIRE has done little prevention work, those homeowners could have a legitimate claim against the state.

"Cal FIRE needs a healthy and strong local fire protection infrastructure to achieve its mission and protect California from the effects of wild fires. SRA fees weaken the State's mutual aid system by unraveling the "respond-first-we'll-figure-out-the-cost-later" understanding. I can assure you that the rural fire districts I represent will begin to contemplate the costs involved in responding to mutual aid efforts on behalf of the state," added Forster.

Crime Stoppers fundraiser

Dinner and a five-star auction promise to draw a large crowd to Crime Stopper's annual fundraising event at 6 p.m. June 2, at Fig Garden Golf Club.

"A Pirates Life For Me" is the theme of the gala that will feature rare items at auction including a four night stay in Monterey and tickets to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am. The trip includes private transportation daily to and from the event.

Another trip up for auction is a Daytona 500 package including round trip air for two, four night accommodations at Disneyworld and VIP seating at the race.

Money raised at the event will be used for anonymous callers who phone in tips to help law enforcement fight crime.

On average as many as 1,000 people benefit from the Crime Stoppers rewards program each year.

For nearly 20 years, Valley Crime Stoppers has been issuing monetary rewards to anonymous callers willing to provide tips that lead to the arrest of criminals. Rewards range from $50 to $1,000 based on the crime. To date, Valley Crime Stoppers has authorized more than $1 million in rewards and over 10,000 arrests can be attributed directly to Crime Stoppers tips.

In Madera County alone dozens of fugitives have been captured. Sheriff John Anderson credits Crime Stoppers for the apprehension of two notorious criminals -- one man for murder, another man for a violent home invasion.

Tickets for the event cost $85 per person.

Details: Detective Brad Stevens, (559) 287-5363.

Beer fest at Tenaya

The Sierra Nevada Beer Fest will be held this weekend at the Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp.

Co-sponsored by the lodge and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., the event will feature mystery beer releases, food and beer pairings and a barbecue with music by country-rock band "Hired Guns."

Friday events begin at 5 p.m. and include a welcome reception on the Grand Terrace with music, food, beer tasting and prizes. Saturday events start at 2 p.m. with beer and appetizers with a blind beer tasting competition. From 3-8 p.m. there will be a "cowboy cookout" barbecue with an unveiling of Sierra Nevada mystery beers, music from the "Hired Guns," prizes, archery and horseshoes.

Details: (877) 247-9241,

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