Community News for 4/4/13 edition

April 3, 2013 

County to change supervisors meeting time, schedule

The Madera County Board of Supervisors voted March 26 to change its meeting time from 9 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The change will start with the May 7 meeting.

Along with the new time change the agenda will also be reorganized. The board will go into closed session following taking up the consent calendar and determining if there are any additions to the agenda. Previously, closed session items were after all other county business had been considered.

All other items will be considered after the board returns from closed session.

Chairman of the board Max Rodriguez said the reason for the change was to save money. Currently, attorneys for the county sit in the audience while the board finishes with its business before going into closed session. Depending on the topic, the county could pay an attorney for several hours before the attorney is called to closed session according to Rodriguez.

Fire safe gardening workshop April 13

Mariposa County Master Gardeners will present a free, public workshop on fire-safe landscaping from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, April 13 at the Coulterville School and Community Clubhouse at the corner of Cemetery and Broadway.

Master Gardeners Jim Johnson and Jack Welsh will talk about Cal Fire's regulations for 100 feet of defensible space and how to attractively landscape while meeting those regulations.

The Master Gardeners will talk about plants that are naturally fire-resistant.Any plant that has high moisture content, low fuel volume and a low-growing habit works well. Plants that don't work well are those with lots of resinous sap, volatile oils, waxes or pitch or those that produce a lot of debris.

Presenters will talk about the fire ladder -- when low grass catches on fire, then jumps to higher shrubs and then jumps to trees. The strategy is to choose plants that defeat that ladder. Creating a fire-safe space between plants helps; so does having pavers, walls or other decorative elements between plants that can burn.

Register for the workshop by visiting or call (209) 966-2417.

Free preschool opportunities

The Madera/Mariposa Regional Head Start preschool program is accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year.

Head Start provides a free, comprehensive, high quality preschool program designed to foster healthy development for income eligible children and families. The program focuses on increasing the social competence of young children 3 to 4 years of age in Madera and Mariposa counties. Services include early childhood education, medical and dental screening and follow up, services to children with disabilities, social skills, nutrition and family services.

For the 2013-14 program year, children must turn three years old by Oct. 1, 2013. Parents must provide the following documents: your child's birth certificate, immunization records (must be up-to-date), Medi-Cal or other insurance card, and family income verification for 12 months (tax return, W-2s, Passport to Services, Social Security). Income eligibility is based on the 2013 Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Details: Oakhurst Head Start at (559) 658-8171 or Mountain Head Start, North Fork (559) 877-2352.

Library to be closed for re-carpeting

The Oakhurst Library will be closed on the following days in order to install new carpet:

Thursdays through Saturdays -- April 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 25, 26, and 27.

If anyone would like to help on Thursdays and/or Saturdays during this three weekend moving of books to install new carpet, please pick up a volunteer application form at the library's circulation desk and fill it out for approval. Volunteer applications are also available online at

1950s Sock Hop April 13

A 1950s Sock Hop will be held Saturday, April 13 at the Oakhurst Elks Lodge, 42484 Highway 41.

The bar will open at 4 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and skits, music and dancing beginning at 7 p.m. Dinner will include hamburgers, fries, and root beer floats for $10. Tickets are limited.

Details: (559) 683-2717.

Audubon program April 11 in Mariposa

Climate change, or global warming, has moved from a potential future problem to a current problem that is affecting weather, wildlife and the economy. That is why former Vice-President Al Gore's organization is now called the Climate Reality Project.

Area residents Beth Pratt, the California director for the National Wildlife Federation, and Steve Smallcombe, who is retired but has a Ph.D. in chemistry, participated in a three-day Climate Reality Project training workshop with Gore last August and were certified as workshop presenters. The two will reprise a slide presentation they gave in Oakhurst in January, "Climate Change Is Happening," at the Yosemite Area Audubon Society's monthly program at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 11, at the Mariposa Methodist Church parish hall on 6th Street in downtown Mariposa.

Their talk focuses on how climate change is influencing current events, including its effects on weather and wildlife, some of the scientific evidence, and what people can do today to help mitigate this immediate and urgent issue. The presenters will also discuss current climate change trends and projections for California and the Sierra and what those trends mean for wildlife and people of the state.

The event is free and open to the public.

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

Kaiser Permanente receives four-star rating

For the fifth straight year, Kaiser Permanente is the only health plan in California to earn a four-star rating -- the highest possible -- for overall quality of care in the annual Healthcare Quality Report Card from the California Office of the Patient Advocate.

Kaiser Permanente in Northern California - which includes Kaiser Permanente Fresno - also received 4 stars in the "Patients Rate their HMO" category, which measures members' satisfaction with their total care and service.

The 2013 report card (online at provides California consumers with side-by-side comparisons of the largest health plans in the state (10 HMOs and six PPOs), ranking them on national standard-of-care measures that involve treatment and prevention of a range of acute and chronic conditions with significant implications for personal health.

This year, Kaiser Permanente in Northern California earned four stars in all nine of the report-card categories.

The 2013 OPA ratings follow several other recent honors received by Kaiser Permanente:

Kaiser Permanente's Medicare plans in California received a five-star rating for 2013, the only health plan in the state to get the top rating and one of only 11 plans in the nation to get a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California was ranked the top commercial health plan in the state, and 8th-best in the nation of the 474 plans ranked in the National Committee for Quality Assurance's 2012 survey of health plans in the U.S.

Kaiser Permanente members rated the organization's health plan highest in member satisfaction in California for the sixth consecutive year in the 2013 U.S. Member Health Plan study by J.D. Power and Associates.


Kid's Fishing Day at Hensley Lake

Join Hensley and Eastman Lake park rangers for the annual Kid's Fishing Day at 8 a.m., Saturday, April 27 at Hensley Lake's Buck Ridge Upper Boat Ramp parking lot. The event is being hosted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Kid's Fishing Day is open to participants age 15 years or younger. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Participants may register early by contacting Park Ranger Nick Figueroa at (559) 673-5151.

With the help of several local agencies, children will have the opportunity to reel in a big catch as well as learn about fish biology, their environment and water safety. Mid Valley Bass Club will provide a free lunch and raffle to participants and their families beginning at 11:30 a.m.

There are limited amounts of loaner fishing poles available, so participants are highly encouraged to bring their own.

Details: (559) 673-5151.

Community Roadside Litter Cleanup Day

Community Roadside Litter Cleanup Day will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, May 11.

Trash bags can be picked up May 11 at the following locations:

North Fork -- North Fork Post Office, Road 200. Details: (559) 877-2361.

Coarsegold -- Tepee at the corner of Raymond Road (415) and Highway 41. Details: (559) 760-1058.

Oakhurst/Ahwahnee -- Oakhurst Branch Library parking lot off Civic Circle

O'Neals -- pick up trash bags between 8 and 9 a.m. only at the corner of Highway 41 and Road 200.

Volunteers will be entered in a prize drawing.

Loggers Jamboree kick-off dinner, Saturday, April 6

The 54th Annual Mid-Sierra North Fork Loggers Jamboree Kick-off Dinner will be held Saturday, April 6 at North Fork Town Hall, 33060 Road 228. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., entertainment begins at 5:45 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. Music will be performed by Jean Butterfield.

Meet the 2013 royalty contestants at 7 p.m. as well as the 2012 Queen Crystal Piotrowsky, Princess Sidney Frausto and Little Logger John Quigley.

Tickets cost $25 for a couple or $15 a person. Tickets for children 12 years old and under cost $5.

The event is sponsored by the North Fork Boosters.

Details: (559) 877-7700, (559) 676-7766.

Annual card party luncheon

SpringFest, a day of cards, games and a delicious lunch with wine, is set for Tuesday, April 16 at ECCO, the Evergreen Conference Center of Oakhurst, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Both men and women are welcome to attend this annual event, sponsored by Christ Church Women. In addition to lunch, soft drinks and coffee or tea and snacks are provided during game play. There will also be a raffle and a mini-boutique. Players are encouraged to bring their own cards or favorite games.

The day will culminate with the raffling of a fabulous Game basket of Martha's Market edibles and handmade items such as a Wooden Bear Cribbage Board and a Wooden Card Box. There will also be a nice selection of handcrafted items available for purchase.

Tickets are $16 and should be purchased in advance by calling Diane vanDuersen at 877-6401. For more information, you may also contact Christ Church at 683-7374.

American Legion donates to Wounded Warriors

Oakhurst American Legion Post 110 recently donated $2,000 to the Wounded Warriors program and $2,000 to the Fisher House.

The Fisher House is a place where families of Wounded Warriors can stay while they are visiting at a military hospital.

The post, along with the Auxiliary members, make monthly visits to the Veterans Hospital in Fresno. More than $1,500 a year is donated, along with homemade cakes, cookies, pastries, fruit, coffee and tea.

The post and auxiliary puts in 300 hours and 7,000 miles a year putting on Bingo games and visitations to veterans confined in the hospital. Each year they also host a Christmas Party at the VA Hospital and hand out stockings stuffed full of gifts and goodies.

Anyone interested in joining the American Legion can call Commander Emil Paul at (559) 642-3807.

Creative Containers garden workshop

The Oakhurst Garden Club will host "Creative Containers" garden workshop at 1 p.m., Sunday, April 7 at True Value Home Center off Highway 49.

Learn how to create easy plant containers and miniature fairy gardens. Also learn composting 101, building window boxes, and container vegetable growing.

Fire Station 10 open house and fund drive

Volunteer Fire Station 10 in Coarsegold's Yosemite Lakes Park will host an Open House event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 6. The community is encouraged to come meet their local firefighters, take a tour of the station and see the fire engines, squad, apparatus and public safety equipment. Firefighters will also provide fire safety tips and information.

For those interested in helping support the all-volunteer fire station, the non-profit Yosemite Lakes Volunteer Firefighters organization is conducting its first annual fund drive to help defer costs of equipment, training and operational expenses. All donations are tax-deductible, and can be made payable to Yosemite Lakes Volunteer Firefighters and mailed to 29453 Glacier Drive, Coarsegold CA 93614.

Volunteer firefighters from Station 10 respond to fires, vehicle accidents, emergency medical, and public service calls within Yosemite Lakes Park, Coarsegold and Madera County -- covering 48 square miles.

Oakhurst Community Concert April 14

The Oakhurst Community Concert Band will hold their free Spring Concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, April 14 at the Mountain Christian Center, 40299 Highway 49 in Oakhurst next to True Value. Along with the music there will be enhanced video choreography.

The concert will include music from Les Miserables as well as Golden Sierra Reflections, written and arranged by Fresno State's famous music man Dr. Gary Gilroy. Other music includes Karl King's The Walking Frog, Richard Wagner's Lohengrin, Introduction to Act III, and a medley from Star Wars including music ranging from Cantina Band to the Krupa Swing.

The band continues the tradition of community concert bands and provides local area high school and middles school students the opportunity to play and learn from the seasoned adult musicians in he band. Band members also assist Yosemite High School music programs by filling in at football games, musicals, fundraisers, including "Nite on the Town," and graduation ceremonies. Band members also provide free music clinics, lessons and workshops for students.

The band performs three times a year. Musicians interested in joining the band can call Band Director Randy Hyatt, (559) 683-4667 ext. 243. The band rehearses from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Mondays.


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