Community News for 5/2/13 edition

May 1, 2013 

Wildfire in O'Neals

A wildfire started Tuesday afternoon in the O'Neals area and burned up more than 100 acres, as of press time Tuesday evening.

Karen Guillemin, Cal Fire spokesperson, said the blaze started around 1 p.m. off North Fork Road (200) and 201. Fire response included airplanes and helicopters, along with a strike team and many Madera County water tenders to fight the blaze. The fire was still under investigation Tuesday, she said.

Grand jury foreman to speak May 6

Phil Atkisson, this year's foreman of the Madera County grand jury will speak at the May 6 Madera County Republican Central Committee luncheon at the Yosemite Gateway Restaurant.

Atkisson, retired from the serving as the chief information officer for Fresno County, will discuss the role the grand jury plays in the oversight of county and city government operations in the county, what is required of a person on the jury, as well as how to apply to be a member of a grand jury. The jury is currently seeking people who are interested in being part of the 19-member 2013-2014 jury.

Those interested should contact Alicia Ybarra at the Madera County Jury Commissioner's Office, (559) 675-7730.

Cost of the 11:30 a.m. lunch is $10. Details: Leslie Rogers, (559) 665-2744.

Sheriff issues credit card fraud alert

Madera County Sheriff John Anderson is issuing a credit card fraud alert to all cell phone users.

Anderson was advised by local bank officials who reported that at least two customers so far have received one of two text messages on their cell phones: "Visa Cards has been blocked," or "visa card has been suspended." In both text messages, the cell phone owner was instructed to click on the following link:

"Do not open that link," Anderson said. "Do not respond to that text. Delete that message from your phone immediately."

Met story will be told

Matt Sconce, one of three founders of the successful Save the Met Campaign, will explain how the task was conceived, challenge and the success of gathering more than 3,000 memberships to re-open the Met at the May 10 Friday at Fresno Flats event at Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park on School Road (427).

The doors of the Old Cunningham School open at 5:30 for a movie night dinner. Popcorn and Sugar Pine Pizza will be served by Fresno Flats volunteers before the program. Admission is $10.

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Beulah Mills Memorial Garden at Fresno Flats. Details: Fresno Flats, (559) 658-2019

Assemblyman Bigelow elected chair of rural caucus

Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O'Neals), was unanimously elected chair of the Legislative Rural Caucus last week. Bigelow takes over the position from outgoing chair Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto).

In a prepared statement, Bigelow said "I am honored to be elected chair of the Legislative Rural Caucus by members of the legislature and look forward to providing a stronger voice for rural communities in Sacramento. The needs of rural areas can, and have in the past, been either ignored or not prioritized by the state legislature. As chair, I will work to ensure that the issues and concerns raised by constituents of rural California are accurately and effectively represented in Sacramento."

The caucus is comprised of fifty bi-partisan members of the State Assembly and State Senate.

"The rural areas of our state will benefit greatly by having Assemblyman Bigelow serving as this year's chair of the Legislative Rural Caucus," said outgoing chair Olsen. "Unique health care, emergency preparedness and resource needs are vitally important for those who live in our state's rural areas, and I look forward to continuing to work with Assemblyman Bigelow to make sure their interests are protected."

Bigelow represents the 5th Assembly District, which encompasses Madera, Mariposa and six other northern counties and includes Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park.

Firefighter appreciation

Service awards were presented April 28 during the annual Madera County Firefighters Appreciation lunch held at the Oakhurst Community Center.

The appreciation lunch is an annual event to say thank you to all of the Madera County Volunteer Firefighters and Cal Fire who serve to protect the citizens of Madera County.

Many awards were presented including certificates to firefighters with five to 45 years of service to their communities throughout the county.

Jerry Riggs with the volunteer Fire Station 16 in Ahwahnee received a 40-year recognition, and George Mochizuki with Station 1 in Madera was recognized for 45 years of service.

Jere Miller with volunteer Station 11 in North Fork was recognized for 30 years; Gary Williams with volunteer Station 18 in Cedar Valley was recognized for 25 years; and Ray Brackney with volunteer Station 16 was recognized for 15 years.

The following seven firefighters were recognized for 10 years of service: Christopher Lavell (Station 1 and Station 10), James Cunningham (Station 2), Daniel Turner (Station 2), Dawn Davies (Station 9), John Davies (Station 9), John Donaghy (Station 10), and Anthony Myers (Station 19).

Another 11 firefighters were recognized for five years of service.

An auction was also held with donations from Sierra Ambulance, Pistoresi Ambulance and many county businesses. Funds from the auction went to the Volunteer Chiefs Association for needed equipment.

Bass Lake Annual Spring Clean

The Bass Lake Annual Spring Clean will begin at 9 a.m. at Bass Lake's Recreation Point on Saturday, May 11.

Trash bags, gloves and water is provided, and a free barbecue lunch with drinks will be served by California Land Management and Sierra Recreation, a division of CLM.

For every bag of litter turned in, a ticket is given to enter into a drawing following lunch for prizes donated by local merchants as a "thank you" to clean-up volunteers. Details: Bass Lake office, (559) 642-3212, or Linda Sadler at (559) 683-3353 or

Fundraiser dinner for discipleship program

Yosemite High School senior Colton Sterling is hosting a $10 ($5 for children under 10) "Cinco de Mayo" gourmet taco bar dinner at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 5 at Sierra Pines Church, 40855 Covey Ct., Oakhurst to raise money to attend a Discipleship Training School program in England for six months, starting July 1.

Takeout is also available. Taco dinner for a family of four is $35.

The discipleship program is through Youth With A Mission and is the largest global missionary program. The six-month program costs $4,200, not including airfare. For those interested in making a donation to help Sterling with costs, they can also email him at

Yosemite Youth Football Crab Feed

The 10th Annual "all you can eat" Crab Feed will be held Saturday, May 18 at the Oakhurst Community Center as a fundraiser for Yosemite Youth Football. Social hour starts at 5 p.m., with crab served at 6 p.m.

Tickets cost $30 in advance and $35 at the door. The event will include a live auction and raffle. Details: Erik Peterson, (559) 760-3331, or John Kenyon, (559) 760-9904.

North Fork Station ribbon cutting

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new North Fork Volunteer Fire Station, located at 33400 Douglas Ranger Station Road (North Fork Mill Site), will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, May 10. An Open House Tour will be begin at 10 a.m.

The fire station was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the County of Madera, North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, North Fork Community Development Council, and North Fork Volunteer Fire Auxiliary.

The new station is located on a 2.6 acre parcel and replaces an older, inadequate facility. Details: For more information and to RSVP, contact Maria Miranda, legislative assistant to Supervisor Tom Wheeler, at (559) 662-6050, or

Hillside Baptist 35-year anniversary

Hillside Baptist Church, located at 55238 Road 200, North Fork, celebrated their 35th anniversary last month with a special service and banquet lunch.

The church is led by Pastor Steve Crotinger. His wife Sarah serves as the church's children's ministry director.

YHS Car Show May 4

The 4th Annual Yosemite High School Car Show, a fundraiser for the YHS Auto Shop, will be held Saturday, May 4 in the Oakhurst Community Park. Info and entry forms are available online at Details:

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