Community News for 11/15/12 edition

November 16, 2012 

Town Hall tonight

Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler will host his last town hall meeting of the year in Oakhurst 6-8 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at the Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Road 425B.

Discussion topics will include:

Update on solid waste management in the county

Update on the North Fork Casino Project

Presentation by the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst

Presentation by Wasuma Elementary School students on the Vaquita Project

General discussion on District 5 and County-wide issues.

End to Raley's worker strike

Negotiators with Raley's Family of Fine Stores and the United Food and Commercial Workers reached an agreement Tuesday ending the 9-day old grocery strike.

"This is very exciting because this contract provides us with the cost savings we need to fund our vision and the initiatives to make us more competitive in the 21st Century," said Mike Teel, president of Raley's of Family Fine Stores."

The agreement, which will not be made public until it is ratified by the Union members, ends 15 months of negotiations between the two sides. This dispute marked the first strike in the history of the 77-year old company. In recent years, there has been a huge increase of more than 240 non-union retailers either opening or expanding their stores specifically to sell groceries. This, coupled with the recession and skyrocketing health care costs, created a number of issues which both the store and the union had to work through.

"It gives me great pleasure to know that our employees are back to work serving our customers with the same attention and care as we have always served our customers at Raley's," Teel said.

Soroptimists looking for outstanding young women

Soroptimist International of The Sierras is accepting applications from young women between the ages of 14 and 17 who volunteer in the community or their schools. The Violet Richardson Award recognizes young women who make the community and world a better place through volunteer efforts, such as fighting drugs, crime and violence, cleaning up the environment and working to end discrimination and poverty.

Volunteer efforts that benefit women, girls or children are of particular interest. Applications are available at Oakhurst Giftworks, or from Sandy Brinley at, (559) 683-7027.

Items sought for time capsule

The Sierra Historic Sites Association is asking members of the community to donate items that can be placed in a time capsule as part of the Oakhurst 100th centennial that has been celebrated during 2012.

The time capsule will be located at Fresno Flats Historic Village & Park on School Road (427) and will be sealed during a ceremony on Dec. 16.

A variety of items that have been suggested such as a 2012 Yosemite High School yearbook, 2012 Sierra Tel phone book, issues of the Sierra Star, postage stamps, 2012 mint coins, letters about Oakhurst from school children (with student's photo), pictures of current Oakhurst business and pictures of 2012 cars and trucks.

Details: Fresno Flats, (559) 683-6570.

Golden 1 kicks off "coats for kids"

With the goal of keeping children warm this winter, Oakhurst's Golden 1 Credit Union is participating in the annual "Coats for Kids" campaign that kicked-off last week in offices throughout the Central Valley.

Through Nov. 30, a collection bin has been set up at the Oakhurst Golden 1 branch, 40044 Highway 49, adjacent to Vons.

The public are invited to use the bin to donate new or gently used coats for children in need.

Golden 1 is also sponsoring the Coats for Kids school and class challenge, which encourages classes and schools to collect coats. The school that collects the most coats will win tickets to a 2013 Fresno Grizzlies baseball game for every child in the school. The class that collects the most coats will receive a pizza party.

The branch is also collecting canned goods for Manna House through Dec. 9.

Holiday Food Festival

A free Holiday Food Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 in Minarets High School's multipurpose room. Booths are available for $25 and Cal Fire will be conducting a chili cook off.

The festival is a fundraiser benefiting Etheridge Educational Foundation, a local non profit organization that is trying to bring a high school girl named Kubi from Africa to attend Minarets. By getting an American education, Kubi's future will be much brighter when she returns to Africa after high school.

Details: (559) 676-2380.

Bass Lake and Oakhurst tree lightings

Bass Lake's Tree Lighting and Parade of Lights will be held at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 24, in The Pines Village. In addition to the parade and tree lighting, pictures with Santa will be available and a raffle will be held with the proceeds going to the Yosemite High School band.

Details: (559) 642-3121.

The Oakhurst Community Tree Lree Lighting event will take place on the north-east corner of Highway 41 and Crane Valley Road (426) at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1. Hot dogs will be provided by Century 21 Ditton Realty, coffee by Starbucks, hot cider and cocoa by Gold Country Water, cookies by the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce and children's books from Sierra Tel.

Pony rides will be available for $2 and children are invited to participate in free pine cone decorating.

Details: (559) 642-0313.

Evergreen Haus open house Saturday

Eddie and Stefanie Rainwater of the Evergreen Haus in Oakhurst are holding an open house 3-5 p.m. Saturday. There will be German-style refreshments to go along with the German theme of the property.

"We're excited to celebrate the completion of our cabin and property restoration by opening our doors and having a grand opening and ribbon cutting event with food, drinks and raffle," said Eddie.

Another B&B next door, A Bed of Roses, owned by Steve and Mary Kay Eicholz, will also be open for tours.

Evergreen Haus is located at 43552 Whispering Pines Drive in Oakhurst.

Details: (559) 641-2220.

'Word-class' band to visit YHS Nov.17

The award winning marching band, percussion and color guard from Rowland High School in Southern California will be rehearsing on the Yosemite High School football field at 1 p.m. Saturday and the public is invited to watch.

According to Randy Hyatt, YHS music department director, the band will be rehearsing for the Western Band Finals at Buchanan Stadium later that evening.

"This is a world class band, with over 185 band members," Hyatt said. "Their percussion unit is one of the finest in the country."

Bioenergy meeting and workshop

A meeting regarding a proposed facility at the North Fork mill site that utilizes woody biomass to create "green" energy while supporting ecological restoration, fire safety and job creation will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27 at the North Fork Town Hall.

A project workshop will also be held on Nov. 30 in North Fork.

The Nov. 27 meeting will be hosted by the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, a non-profit headquartered in North Fork, in partnership with the North Fork Community Development Council. Both organizations are working to develop a small heat and power generation facility in North Fork.

A former feasibility study showed that the proposed heat and power biomass facility would be the most economically and environmentally feasible biomass processing option.

The meeting will include information about what biomass is and how it can be utilized to create clean energy. Discussions will also include potential noise, water and air impacts and job creation opportunities.

The project workshop will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 at the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians Community Center.

Experts will be available to address specific technology and environmental compliance issues.

Those interested in attending the workshop should RSVP to, or call (559) 877-8664.

Old Mexico Taqueria closes for winter

The Old Mexico Taqueria at the intersection of Highways 41 and 49 in Oakhurst has closed for the winter season, to reopen on March 1.

"Part of it is because of the winter economy in Oakhurst," said Jesse Servantes, who owns the taqueria with wife Adrienne. "We're not getting the tourists we've gotten in years passed -- it's both the local and national economy. And also, two-fold, we hadn't had any time off and so we thought that this was a great opportunity ... We're happy and thankful for all our patrons and the mountain people for their support, and we look forward to serving them in the beginning of spring with the same delicious menu and we'll be adding a few more seafood dishes."

The taqueria opened in 2001 in the Raley's shopping center and the Servantes purchased the building where they are currently in 2005.

Centennial series ends at Fresno Flats

Fresno Flats closed its Centennial season of programs Nov. 9 with Cathy Turpin, Docent Chairman for Fresno Flats telling the story of how the name of Fresno Flats was changed to Oakhurst 100 years ago. She also described how the Fresno Flats buildings were brought to the donated land on which they now stand, and told the names of all the Oakhurst donors who have helped create the historic park on School Road (427).

This year's series will be especially remembered for the Harlow Fire presentation to an overflow crowd, some of whom had survived the devastating fire in 1961.Their stories were authentic memories of Oakhurst's worst disaster.

The Fresno Flats Friday night programs will resume in March.Oakhurst Outpouring Christmas Eve Dinner

Community members are once again working together to hold the Fourth Annual Oakhurst Outpouring Christmas Eve Dinner. However, event coordinator Rebecca Kohout is seeking volunteers from the community to make it possible.

"We had such a great turnout last year," Kohout said. "It was a great blessing to see the community work together like that and see so many families that were touched."

Areas that need volunteers are food teams, table sponsors, event volunteers for and cleanup crew.

Details: (559) 313-9570 or

Local woman seeks help to save dolphins

The Produce Place in Oakhurst will host a fundraiser dinner and movie starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 to help fund airfare for Erin Thomas of Coarsegold to get Taiju, Japan in February to protect a cove where dolphins are captured and slaughtered each year.

"Dolphins can be sold for as much as $200,000 U.S. dollars," Thomas said. "This is the true motivation for the hunt."

"It is important that people from around the world go to Taiji, and be a witness to this because it keeps pressure on the Japanese government and the fisherman that do this." Tickets at $20 and include a buffet dinner and a showing of the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove" at 6 p.m.

There will also be a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle, including signed memorabilia from "The Cove."

Details: Erin Thomas, (559) 760-0612, Kandie at (559) 641-616.

Volunteers sought for homeless outreach

Full Circle Family Outreach is meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at New Community United Methodist Church, Crane Valley Road (426) to discuss giving food and shelter at night to the homeless over the winter season.

Details: (559) 760-2440.

Donations sought for Elks Christmas party

The Oakhurst Elks Lodge is seeking community contributions for its annual Christmas party for under-privileged Mountain Area children on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the lodge, 42484 Highway 41, across from the former Mountain House Restaurant.

Each child receives an item of clothing, a stuffed animal and a book. The party also includes a holiday dance program and a visit from Santa Claus.

To make a donation to help Elks purchase items for the children, checks can be made to the Oakhurst Elks Lodge #2724 with a notation that the money is for the Children's Christmas Party, and mailed to P.O. Box 2569, Oakhurst, CA 93644.

Mountain musicians in concert Nov. 17

Musicians from the Mountain Area will join forces in a free concert of classical and contemporary chamber music at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, located at 2672 E. Alluvial Ave. (between Willow and Chestnut), Clovis.

Mountain performers include soprano Christel Biasell, guitarist John Kilburn, and Barbara Ulman on piano. Valley performers include David Fox, cello and piano; Jenny Lewis, mezzo soprano; and David Lorey, flute.

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service