Community News for 12/6/12 edition

December 5, 2012 

Tioga and Glacier Point roads closed for the season

The significant storm systems that passed through the Yosemite Area over the weekend resulted in an estimated five and-a-half feet of snow accumulation in Tuolumne Meadows. Due to this significant storm, the Tioga and Glacier Point Roads in Yosemite National Park are closed for the season.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, call (209) 372-0200.

Christmas concert

The Yosemite High School Winter Concert will be performed Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Mountain Christian Center, 40299 Highway 49.

The concert will include students from Bass Lake Bands and Yosemite High bands, percussion and choirs.

"The audience is sure to enjoy a variety of music ranging from Renaissance to contemporary favorites," said Randy Hyatt, YHS music director. "The audience will be impressed with the combined choirs presenting the "Hallelujah Chorus" by George Fredric Handel. Their evening's grand finale will feature the choirs and bands combined.

Hyatt said the concert will be a debut performance for a group of beginning Bass Lake students directed by assistant music director Pat Mierkey. Advanced elementary music students will combine with the Yosemite Concert Band to present "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Deck the Halls With Rock and Roll."

Tickets cost $4 at the door.

Details: Yosemite High, (559) 683-4667.

Area Christmas bird counts scheduled

The National Audubon Society's 113th Christmas Bird Count, an annual international bird census that began on Christmas Day in 1900 and now numbers more than 1,500 individual counts, will be held between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. The Yosemite Area Audubon Society encourages people to participate in any or all of the following area counts: Friday, Dec. 14 in Groveland, Saturday, Dec. 15 in Mariposa, Sunday, Dec. 16 in Yosemite, Friday, Dec. 21 in Oakhurst.

Each count is an all-day event, but participation for only part of the day can usually be arranged. Participants usually start at 7-7:30 a.m. and cover an assigned route or zone within the prescribed 15-mile-diameter count circle, counting all positively identified birds. Inexperienced birders are welcome and encouraged to participate.

This year the NAS is waiving the usual $5 participation fee but will accept voluntary donations to help defray the cost of publishing the CBC results.

Details: (209) 966-2547, (209) 742-5579,

Release from prison denied kidnapper

Madera County District Attorney Michael R. Keitz announced Nov. 29 that the Board of Parole Hearings denied Frederick Woods parole for the next three years.

Woods, together with brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld, kidnaped a school bus full of children and the bus driver, from Dairyland Union School in Chowchilla on July 15, 1976, and buried them alive in a rock quarry near Livermore. The trio demanded a $5 million ransom for the return of the victims, who ultimately escaped their captors.

Two $1,000 awards

This year Soroptimist International of The Sierras will be giving two Womens Opportunity Awards to women who are the primary wage earner for their family and seek financial assistance to go back to school.

A $1,000 cash grant will be awarded to the selected women and the recipients will advance to the Soroptimist region level, where one women will be selected to receive a $5,000 award. Applications are available at Oakhurst Giftworks, Oakhurst Community College or by contacting Sandy Brinley, (559) 683-7027. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 28.

Senior center Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner will be served at the Oakhurst Senior Center Tuesday, Dec. 25 for all those who would otherwise be alone. Doors will open at noon for refreshments and the meal will be served at 1 p.m.

Call the center to R.S.V.P., (559) 683-3811.

Special offer for Ahwahnee's Bracebridge Dinner

Special discounts as much as 50% are being offered to Mountain Area residents to attend the 86th anniversary season of Bracebridge Dinner at The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley.

Tickets for the dinner on Dec. 14 are available at $195 per person (50% savings) and tickets for Dec. 18 and 24 are available at $292 per person (25% savings).

Based on Washington Irving's 1820 tale The Sketch Book about Christmas Day at Bracebridge Hall in Yorkshire, England, The Bracebridge Dinner was established shortly after The Ahwahnee opened in 1927 and features a seven-course meal synchronized with the music and drama of the festivities.

The local discount is for residents that live within 50 miles of Yosemite Valley. Local residents need to mention promotion code "localsbbd" when making a reservation. Please note that overnight accommodations are not included in these offers and space is limited.

Call to make dinner-only reservations at (801) 559-4884.


North Fork sing along

The Friends of the North Fork Branch Library will host the Annual Christmas Sing Along at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 at the library.

Sugar Pine, with members Chuck Thrapp, Robin Flory, Dave Novel and Gina Clugston will lead the caroling with a rousing selection of traditional and current holiday music.

Refreshments will be served following the singing. The event is free to the public. Details: (559) 877-2387.

O'Neals Post Office hours change meeting

Letters were recently sent out to residents of O'Neals inquiring what hours would best serve the public, saying hours would be cut to four hours a day, Monday through Friday.

A community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 at Minarets High School, so the public can offer their feedback as to what time would best serve the O'Neals community.

Jurkovich new Madera County judge

Fresno attorney Michael J. Jurkovich, 57, was named a Madera County Superior Court judge last Thursday, Nov. 29 by Gov. Jerry Brown as reported in The Fresno Bee.

Jurkovich, who has been an attorney at Gilmore Wood Vinnard and Magness since 2011, replaces Eric C. Wyatt who died in April after a three year battle with cancer.

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