Community News for 5/9/13 edition

Body of Yosemite hiker found Tuesday
Glacier Point Road in Yosemite now open
Free Veterans Stand Down in Oakhurst
Free preschool for children ages 3 to 4
Bike Blessing and Run June 1
Flutes of the Foo

May 9, 2013 

Body of Yosemite hiker found Tuesday

Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue Ranger personnel recovered the body of missing hiker Kenneth Stensby, 73, near the base of Vernal Fall Tuesday afternoon. Stensby, a resident of Minnesota, was fatally injured after falling from a cliff near the top of the waterfall.

Ahwahnee Hotel staff contacted the National Park Service Sunday evening, when he did not return to the hotel after leaving a note that he would be back around noon. Park rangers discovered his backpack near the guard rail at the top of Vernal Fall later that evening.

On Monday, the park conducted a full scale search and rescue operation, including multiple ground teams, a dog team, and a California Highway Patrol helicopter. The search area was concentrated around the Mist Trail. The CHP helicopter, concurrently with ground teams, spotted Stensby's body around 6 p.m. Monday and he was extricated the next day. The Mist Trail was closed during the search and rescue operation but has been re-opened.

Glacier Point Road in Yosemite now open

The Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park opened last Friday. There will be limited visitor services available at Glacier Point. Vault toilets will be available, and there will be no running water. There is no projected opening date for the Bridalveil Creek Campground.

Visitors are urged to drive slowly and with caution, as wildlife may be present on or near the roadway. Additionally, road surfaces may be wet due to snow melt.

The Tioga Road is tentatively scheduled to open for the season Saturday, May 11.

For up-to-date, 24-hour road and weather information, call (209) 372-0200.

Free Veterans Stand Down in Oakhurst

A free Veterans Stand Down event, hosted by Caring Veterans, will be held in Oakhurst from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at Sierra Pines Church, located off Highway 49 at 40855 Covey Ct.

The event will include free military gear for veterans, along with free food, drinks, hair cuts and music by band "Crossroads." Veterans should bring their military ID card. Area veteran benefit advisers and physicians assistants will also be available for questions and to provide assistance.

"We'll hopefully have 600-plus people attending with lots more younger veterans coming too," said Caring Veterans Commander Terry Cole.

Details: (559) 658-8939.

Free preschool for children ages 3 to 4

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 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.

Parents will need to 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 twelve months (tax return, W-2's, Passport to Services, Social Security, TANF, etc.). Income eligibility is based on the 2013 Federal Poverty Guidelines.

To be eligible for the 2013-14 program year, your child must turn 3 by October 1, 2013. For more information or to schedule an appointment to apply, Details: Oakhurst Head Start (559) 658-8171, Mountain Head Start, North Fork (559) 877-2352.

Bike Blessing and Run June 1

The "7th Annual Bike Blessing and Run" sponsored by Bikers for Christ will be held Saturday, June 1 at Mountain Christian Center, 40299 Highway 49, Oakhurst. The bike blessing is free and includes breakfast, live music by Rhema Blues Band, and special speaker "Pastor Z" (founder of Bikers for Christ International). Breakfast will be held at 9 a.m., blessing 10:30 a.m., benefit run 11 a.m. ($20 registration is from 9 to 10:30 a.m.) The run ends at Bass Lake. Proceeds go to Helping Hands Pregnancy & Parenting Center in Oakhurst. Details: Mark, (559) 641-2277, or (559) 392-0416.

Flutes of the Foothills May 11, 18

Under the direction of Shirley Lay, the Flutes of the Foothills have been working hard and rehearsing since August of 2012. Since then, they have played for three churches, assisted living homes, hospitals, luncheons and the competed for the first time at the California Music Educators Association festival where they received the highest rating of Superior.

The group's next two performances will be at the Tri-County Art Show at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11 at Gallery Row and at the Relay For Life fundraiser at Wasuma Elementary School on May 18 from 1 to 2 p.m.

All flute players (flutists, flautists) are welcome to join the ensemble. They meet every Monday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Kids' Corner in Oakhurst upstairs.

Details: Shirley Lay, (559) 760-7857.

Nighttime golf event for honorary mayor

Dale Miller, running for honorary mayor to raise funds for the Oakhurst Community Center, is hosting a night golf tournament at River Creek Golf Course Friday, June 7.

Dinner will be served around 7 p.m., including hamburgers. Golfing will commence shortly after.

The tournament costs $35, including golf, food and the night golf equipment. Details: RSVP to Dale Miller at (559) 683-0819 as soon as possible. Rules and layout for the evening will be sent out before the tournament.

Walk against drunk driving for McBride

The family of Dr. John McBride, an Oakhurst physician who was hit by a drunk driver Jan. 20 in Coarsegold, will walk in a "Mothers Against Drunk Driving" fundraiser walk at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 11 in Fresno's Woodward Park.

To join the McBride team, email or go online to, or register at the day of the event at Woodward Park.

"While we can not change the past, we would like to be able to prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future," said the McBride family. "We are asking the community to join us in the fight to end drinking and driving."

The McBride family also said they are encouraging letters to be written to Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, 46574 Road 417, Coarsegold, CA. 93614, asking the casino to be more aware of the condition people are in when leaving the facility. Letters can also be sent via email to

The McBride family said they also think it's important to send letters about drunk driving concerns to county supervisor Tom Wheeler at 200 W. 4th Street, Madera CA 93637, or via email to

"If we are to change any sort of policies regarding safety on Highway 41, it will be with the support of our lawmakers, not simply the casino," the family said.

Letter carriers will collect food Saturday

Oakhurst Postmaster Irene Holly Baker has announced letter carriers in the Mountain Area will be joining letter carriers across the country in collecting food Saturday for families in need.

The United States Postal Service, along with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), is conducting the yearly non-perishable food drive. All donated food will be given to the Manna House in Oakhurst.

"Donations of non-perishable food can be brought to the Oakhurst Post Office or left in bags at you mail box for letter carrier pick up," Baker said.

Yosemite Jazz Band at Pizza Factory

The Yosemite Jazz Band will be playing 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday throughout the summer at the Oakhurst Pizza Factory, starting May 16.

This is the band's 19th year of playing on the patio at Pizza Factory. Details: Pizza Factory, (559) 683-2700,

Minarets Spring Concert May 23

The Minarets Spring Concert will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 23 at the Minarets High School Gymnasium off Road 200.

There will be a band, percussion, choir and a guitar ensemble. The event is free.


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