Community News for 8/1/13 edition

July 30, 2013 

Zoe Powell and Cecelia Garcia will run for Mountain Belle

Zoe Powell, 17, and Cecelia Garcia, 16, are running for the title of Mountain Belle during the Oakhurst Heritage Days celebration Sept. 20 and 21.

Both Powell and Garcia are seeking an organization or business to sponsor them.

Powell, who will be a senior at Yosemite High School, participates in soccer, advanced theater, paints and plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, flute and piano. She is the daughter of Larisa Durr of Michael Males of Ahwahnee.

Garcia, who will be a junior at Yosemite High, is president of the Key Club, a member of YHS FFA, and volunteers with Girl Scouts, the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst, and the weekly community dinner held at New Community United Methodist Church. A resident of Oakhurst, she is the daughter of Cathy and Eazy Garcia.

Yosemite High junior, Katelyn Suderman, 16, is also seeking the title. She is sponsored by the Vision Academy of the Arts.

The winner will be based on personality, poise and talent during the Sept. 19 Mountain Belle pageant at the Golden Chain Theatre.

Girls between 14 and 18 years of age are encouraged to enter the pageant. Sponsoring clubs or organizations are required to pay the $100 registration fee for the contestant. Details: Mary Lou Finley, (559) 683-3789, Kat Musacchio, (559) 760-5287.

Friday at Fresno Flats

"Wild Fire" is the topic of Aug. 9 dinner and program at Fresno Flats Friday.

Jeff May, a volunteer fire spotter and coordinator of all the fire lookouts, will present a computer slide story showing how volunteers work to "keep the fires small" and protecting the public from devastating fire destruction. The featured speaker is Frannie Adams, supervisor of the U.S. Forest Service. Several fires have been successfully controlled this summer.

Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. by Kiwanis Club and Fresno Flats members before the program. The evening will be held in the Cunningham School at Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park on School Road (427).

Tickets for dinner and presentation are $10 per person and space is limited. Details: (559) 683-2161.

Unsecured property tax bills mailed

Madera County Tax Collector Tracy Kennedy Desmond has announced that unsecured property tax bills were mailed July 26.

"Normally these bills would be due on Aug. 31," said, Kennedy Desmond, "but this year, due to the 31st falling on a Saturday and the next business day the Labor Day holiday, taxpayers have until Tuesday, Sept. 3 to get their payments in."

Unsecured tax bills are for assessments on businesses, boats, airplanes, or any possessory interests one may have according to Kennedy Desmond.

"No unsecured tax bills for less than $50 will be printed due to the Low Value Exemption Ordinance that is in operation, meaning personal property generating a tax bill for less than $50, will not generate a tax bill," Desmond Kennedy said.

More than 3,000 bills were mailed, representing more than $5.7 million in taxes to be collected.

Taxpayers may pay by mail, or with a credit card by visiting the department's web page at Details: (559) 675-7713.

Secrets of Nelder Grove tour Aug. 10

The public is invited to join 2013 National Forest Service Volunteer of the Year, Brenda Neglay, as she shares the well known and secret places of Nelder Grove Saturday, Aug. 10, during a tour sponsored by the Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway.

The tour will include an interpretive hike to the Chimney tree and the Bull Buck tree, one of the largest trees in the world.

Negley's grandparents were the original docents and Nelder Grove and she began visiting the grove as a young girl. She started the organization, Friends of Nelder Grove, and because of her dedication and contributions, she was recently named national Volunteer of the Year by the National Forest Service.

Those attending the free tour are asked to meet at 9 a.m. at the Mountain House Restaurant parking lot at Highway 41 and Bass Lake Road (274) to car pool to the grove. Hiking during the tour will be easy to moderate. Those attending are asked to bring water and a picnic lunch. Details: Doug Waltner, (559) 877-2760,

Extension extended for Merced River Plan

Yosemite National Park was under a court-approved settlement agreement deadline to publish a Record of Decision (ROD) for a new Merced River Wild and Scenic River Plan by the end July 2013. Because of the extensive public comments received on the Draft Merced River Plan / EIS, the US District Court granted a schedule extension to publish a ROD by Dec. 31, 2013.

The park received almost 30,000 comments for the Draft Merced River Plan. Over the course of the entire planning period, the park service conducted 66 public meetings and webinars to encourage public participation in developing the draft plan. The park will host a public meeting to address the changes between the draft and final plan later this fall.

Melodrama change at Golden Chain

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Golden Chain Theatre is making a change to their second summer melodrama, "Hawkshaw the Detective." The Golden Chain will instead be presenting "A Night of Melodrama," starting Aug. 10. The evening will offer two mini melodramas, "Run to the Roundhouse Nellie" and "The Shagwood Secret."

The mini melodrams will be complimented by the Grub Gulch Dancers and the Garter Girls. Details: (559) 683-7112,

Garden workshop Aug. 11

The Oakhurst Garden Club will hold a free workshop, "Caring for your late summer garden," at 1 p.m. on Aug. 11 at True Value Homecenter.

The workshop will cover drip systems, hand watering, vacation watering tips, and best hot weather flowers to plant now. Details: (559) 683-7117.

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