Community News for 9/5/13 edition of the Sierra Star

September 3, 2013 

Fire restrictions on Sierra National Forest continue

Fire season came early this year and it's not over. The fire danger condition is currently "High." Given current fire activity throughout California, fire restrictions on the Sierra National Forest have been implemented to help keep the public safe from wildfire.

Reduced snow pack, rainfall – combined with unseasonably high temperatures, dead and downed fuels and new vegetation growth, means everything is in place for wildfire.

Visitors to the Sierra National Forest are reminded that temporary fire restrictions are in place in many campgrounds. Affected campgrounds can be seen at

Details: North Fork Forest Service office, (559) 877-2218.

Cowboy poet

"The Cowboy Poet" returns to Fresno Flats at 5:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 13, to spin his stories of cowboy life. Madison Seamons, a professional horseman who practices equine medicine, and surgery in Coarsegold, will present another of his humorous story telling evenings about cowboy life and times.

The three Heritage Days Mountain Bells, Zoe Powel, Cecelia Garcia, and Katelyn Suderman, will be introduced.

The 5:30 p.m. with dinner and dessert will be served by Fresno Flats and Kiwanis members for $10 per person. The program follows. Two Mountain Heritage Days barbecue tickets will be given as a door prize. Fresno Flats is located on School Road (427) in Oakhurst.

Details: 658-2019

Judge sets new date for Baker case

Harry Baker and his attorney, Roger Nutall, filed a motion for dismissal in early August and the prosecution has responded recently and filed a response to that request as to why it should be denied.

The hearing for 1:30 p.m., Sept. 20.

Baker and his attorney are pursuing a dismissal in the case.

"We are going to aggressively assert that the charges should be dismissed," Nutall said.

Baker, the owner of Sierra Telephone, was arrested Oct. 5, 2009, for allegedly committing a lewd act with a 13-year-old girl in May 2007 in a Fresno hotel room and has maintained his innocence since the arrest.

Madera Fair

The Madera Fair opens its four day run (Sept. 5-8) today with the theme "Nuttin' But Fun," honoring the almond, pistachio and walnut industry so vital to Madera County's economy. The Table Mountain Concert Series brings four big name acts to the stage. Spanning multiple genres, this year's lineup is Los Lonely Boys, Scotty McCreery, Lifehouse and Larry Hernandez. Reserved concert seating is available by calling the Madera Fair box office, (866)973-9610,

Madera Fairgrounds, 1850 W. Cleveland Ave. at Highway 99.

Details: (559)

Frog and toad comment period extended to Nov. 18

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the comments period for the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad until Nov. 18, upon citizen requests, including the Madera County Board of Supervisors.

Submit comments to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Policy and Directives Management, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA., 22203.

The service will accept comments on the two proposed rules. Comments may be submitted online at the federal rulemaking portal at The Docket Number for the proposed listing rule is FWS–R8–ES–2012–0100 and for the proposed critical habitat rule is FWS–R8–ES–2012–0074.

See Madera County Board of Supervisors' comment which can be used as a template for commenting at:

Safety service awards Oct. 26

The inaugural Safety Service Awards Dinner, sponsored by the Oakhurst Elks Lodge, will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the lodge.

"We in the Mountain Area have long recognized that our public safety agencies often go far beyond the requirements to serve us and this is a night for us to show our appreciation," said Dale Miller, dinner chairman.

The dinner will honor one member of each of the five agencies serving the Mountain Area: Cal Fire, California Highway Patrol, Madera County Fire, Madera County Sheriff's Office, and Sierra Ambulance.

Dinner is $12 per person and reservations are required.

Details: Dale Miller, (559) 683-0819.

Low county tax delinquency rate

Madera County tax payers are staying current on their property taxes, resulting in the lowest delinquency rate in at least five years according to Tracy Kennedy, Madera County tax collector-treasurer.

"As part of the end-of-the-year process, we analyze all of the collections and do a year-to-year comparison," said Kennedy. "And what was evident was that the latest delinquency rate was only 3% percent, compared to more than 8% in 2008-09."

In 2009, that resulted in more than $10 million in delinquencies. However, in June 2013, Madera County's delinquent amount was a just over $3.8 million.

On Aug. 8, the treasurer-tax collector's office mailed more than 3,500 delinquent tax notices, notifying taxpayers that they have unpaid taxes. Annually, the department sends out delinquent notices so that taxpayers are advised if they have any delinquent property taxes. This also allows a taxpayer to contact the treasurer-tax collector if they feel they have received the delinquent notice in error.

In addition to reducing the delinquency rate, the Treasurer-Tax Collector held a Tax Defaulted Land sale in the past year, which also brings in tax revenue. The department is planning another Tax Defaulted Land sale in February 2014.

Details: County tax collector-treasurer office, (559) 675 -7713.

Woodcarvers meet every Thursday

The Central Sierra Woodcarvers meet noon-3 p.m. every Thursday at the Sierra Senior Center, 49111 Cinder Lane, behind the Oakhurst Community Center.

According to Larry Smith, club president, all carvers from beginners to advanced are welcome. Meetings include all levels of wood carving instructions and woodcarving tools are available.

Details: Larry Smith, (559) 906-4198,

Stage Route Tour

A Stage Route Tour, sponsored by the Coarsegold Historical Society, is now taking reservations for the Oct.19 tour. This is a narrated six-hour bus tour through historic Eastern Madera County areas and includes lunch and afternoon tea/dessert.

The bus travels from the Coarsegold Historic Museum to the historic Hills Pride Inn and Raymond Museum, then "Stage Route" Road 600 to the Wassama Roundhouse for lunch and talk. The tour continues to Fresno Flats, then walking tour of historic Coarsegold, and finally, an afternoon dessert back at the museum. $40 non-members, $35 members.

Details: Karen Morris, (559) 683-8877, Coarsegold Historical Society, (559) 642-4448.

SNAMP workshop date change

The Public Participation Team from the Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project has announced a change of date for their Collaboration Tools Review workshop scheduled for Sept. 18 in Oakhurst. The new date is Oct. 14. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, 39696 Highway 41, Oakhurst.

The goal of the workshop is to provide an opportunity, for participants to discuss the challenges they face in their collaborative efforts in natural resource management.

Dr. Kim Rodrigues, director of academic personnel at the University of California's Cooperative Extension, will lead the workshop sharing her years of experience.

Guest speakers will be Craig Thomas from Sierra Forest Legacy and Larry Duysen from Porterville's Terra Bella Mill.

Cost: $15 to cover lunch and materials.

Registration is required and must be completed by Oct. 7. Register at:

Free veterans barbecue Sept. 14

American Legion, Post 110 will be hosting a free barbecue lunch for veterans 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday Sept. 14 at the KOA campground, RV Park on Highway 41, Coarsegold.

The barbecue will include entertainment, games and music by The Sounds of Freedom. Veterans will receive a free lunch for themselves and a guest with proof of Military Service. All members of the armed forces are encouraged to attend.

Details: RSVP, Ed Rosa (559) 641 - 2930, Emil Paul (559) 642-3807

Madera County Master Gardeners

Madera County Master Gardeners will be available 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Yosemite Lakes Park True Value Hardware, 19564 Yosemite Springs, to answer questions and give tips for gardeners interested in learning about fall planting and other gardening secrets. Those in attendance are encouraged to bring questions and tips of their own. The event is free and no reservations are required.

Details: (559) 675-7879, email:


In an Aug. 29 story about the Madera County budget, it was noted that the Madera County District Attorney's office was ordered by a Stanislaus County Superior Judge to pay $50,000 to a defense attorney due to prosecutorial misconduct in a murder trial by a Madera County deputy district attorney, according to the Madera Tribune. However, the dollar amount of the sanction has yet to be decided by the judge and the $50,000 was only an estimate made by another attorney involved in the case. We regret the error and any misunderstanding it may have caused.

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