Community News for 9/26/13 edition

September 24, 2013 

DUI results in five year prison sentence

Last week, the Madera Superior Court handed down a lengthy prison sentence to Cathy Robertson, who was convicted in July of felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury, and felony hit and run, said Madera County District Attorney Michael R. Keitz.

On Jan. 20 of this year, Robertson, 52, of Los Banos, drove away from the Chukchansi Casino in her vehicle around 8 p.m. and traveled southbound on Highway 41. She drifted across the centerline into the northbound traffic, striking the vehicle of Oakhurst physician, John McBride, causing him major injuries. Robertson got out of her vehicle and fled the collision. However, witnesses at the scene followed her and kept her in view until the Highway Patrol arrived to take her into custody.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, the court sentenced Robertson to five years in state prison and remanded her into custody to begin serving her sentence immediately.

"Dr. McBride will suffer for years from the physical injuries he received from Robertson," Keitz said. "Drinking and driving are a bad combination that often end in tragic consequences as it did here. The simple message is — if you drink or use drugs, don't drive."

This driving under the influence prosecution was made possible through funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Murder prelim continued

A preliminary hearing for the North Fork couple arrested for allegedly murdering the husband's brother, was held Friday, Sept. 20 in Department 9 of the Madera Superior Court.

The hearing lasted five minutes as the judge granted a continuous to Friday, Sept. 27.

The two defendants, Marc and Jennifer McMurrain are still being held in jail.

Jennifer McMurrain's attorney, Cadee Peters said that the case is just getting started and there is little information available at this point.

"It is still a developing case and we received a lot more information as far as police reports are concerned," Peters said. "It's a very sensitive case and I don't have a lot of information I can release at this point ... we are still in the information gathering stages and I was told by the district attorney there was even more (information) to come."

Marc McMurrain is being defended by Martin Jones.

Arson hearing delayed

The couple suspected of arson will have to wait until next week before they can continue their hearing to see if there is significant evidence to support a trial.

Kenneth Jackson, 40, and Allison Waterman, 46, were set to have their hearing continue Friday, Sept. 23, but due to an emergency for one of the attorney in the case they will have to wait.

The hearing has been rescheduled for Friday, Sept. 27 at 9:30 a.m. in Department 2.

Tri-Tip dinner

The Sierra Senior Center, 49111 Cinder Lane, behind the Oakhurst Community Center, will host a fundraising smoked tri-tip dinner at 5 p.m. this Saturday. Cost of the dinner is $7 for members and $10 for non-members. Details: (559) 683-3811.

Town Hall meeting Oct. 3

Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler will host a Town Hall meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 3 at the Yosemite Lakes Park Clubhouse in Coarsegold.

Wheeler will give an update on 2013-2014 county budget and there will be a general discussion on district and county-wide issues.

Roadside clean-up

Volunteers are encouraged to participate in an Eastern Madera County roadside litter clean-up event 8 a.m. - noon, Saturday, Oct. 12.

Meeting points are library parking lot in Oakhurst, Pines Village Park in Bass Lake, North Fork Post Office, tepee in Coarsegold Historic Village, park 'n ride in O'Neals. Details: Keep Our Mountains Beautiful, (559) 877-2361, (559) 760-1058,

Annual Hawk Fest

The Rivergold Elementary School's Hawk Fest will be held 5-9 p.m., tomorrow (Friday), at the school.

The fundraising event will include a barbecue dinner provided by Coarsegold Miner's Grill.

A petting zoo, face painting, silly string corral, dunk tank, inflatable slides, bake walk, fortune telling, raffles and a live auction will all be part of the funfilled acitivites planned for the evening. Details: Sarah Curley, (559) 676-0920.

Job fair

Form fitness of Oakhrust will hold a job fair 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5 at Fitness 41 in Coarsegold. Positions available include front deask, sales, childcare, fitness instructors, personal trainers, and maintenance workers.

Those attending the job fair are asked to bring reume and reference letters.

Library event

The Oakhurst Library will host a book signing/discussion by Daniel D. Davis at 10 a.m. this Saturday.

Davis has a varied background that a lot of people would envy. After spending his earliest years in Southern California, he then spent eight years of his childhood in South America. Since then he has lived on five continents, traveled to 36 countries, and he speaks fluent Spanish and Romanian. His career in secondary education took him from California and Nevada to Pakistan, Romania and the Congo.

His newest book, "From Ancient Aliens to the Shift," starts by investigating the UFO appearances around the world that have been left unexplained since 1947.

Spring Valley Fall Festival Oct. 18

The Spring Valley Elementary School will hold its annual Fall Festival 5:30-8:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18 at the school on Road 200.

The fundraising event will include bounce houses, silent auction, cake walk, and games. Details: (559) 868-3343.

Yosemite Facelift

The public is invited to participate in the 10th Annual Yosemite Facelift, Sept. 26-29.

Yosemite National Park and the Yosemite Climbing Association invite the public to participate in the tenth annual Yosemite Facelift on Tuesday, September 24, through Sunday, September 29, 2013.The goal of the Yosemite Facelift is to clean up trash and debris from around the park after the busy summer season. Volunteers are needed to help pick up litter at various locations in the park, including roadways, in the river corridor, on trails, near climbing routes, and in parking, camping, and lodging areas. The event is co-sponsored by the park and the Yosemite Climbing Association.

Last year, more than 1,200 Yosemite Facelift volunteers collected more than 20,000 pounds of trash and debris. More than 95% of the trash collected was recycled. Volunteers worked 9,390 hours throughout the event and throughout the entire park to clear debris and trash from heavily visited areas.

Interested volunteers can sign up at the booth in front of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day of the event. A second check-in station will be located at the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center on Friday, September 27 through Sunday, September 29. The Tuolumne Meadows booth will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 28, there will also be a registration booth in Wawona 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Mariposa Lower Grove parking lot. Crew leaders will be at the booths to organize work groups and hand out trash bags, gloves, and litter sticks. Details: Ken Yager, at,

This Saturday, the park will waive entrance fees in celebration of Public Lands Day. The fee waiver includes entrance fees on Saturday only and is not associated with camping fees.

Soroptimist soup and salad fundraiser

Soroptimist International of the Sierras and the Oakhurst Community Center are hosting their semi-annual Soup and Salad fundraiser Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Community Center.

Tickets are $10 if purchased from a Soroptimist member prior to the event and $12 at the door. The event will include a raffle and door prizes.

M.A.L.Co. monthly meeting

The Mountain Area Literacy Council (M.A.L.Co.) will hold its monthly meeting at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Oakhurst Library Community Room.

All members of the community interested in promoting literacy is invited. Details: (559)683-1456, email:

Coloring contest seeks entries

The San Joaquin Valley Air District is seeking creative student artists to submit their work for the 2014 Healthy Living Kids' Calendar contest. All Central Valley students from kindergarten through high school are encouraged to submit their work.

The deadline for entries to the contest is Oct. 7 when 14fourteen pieces of art will be selected for the calendar.

For examples on this year's calendar visit Details: (559) 230-6000,

Healthy Forests Act

The Restoring Healthy Forests Act, was approved Sept. 20 by the House of Representatives. The measure includes an amendment by Congressman Tom McClintock to allow the burned timber from the 2013 fire areas to be salvaged. McClintock's amendment was adopted by a 243-172 vote.

"This measure has taken on poignant and crucial importance to my district in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, where the Yosemite Rim fire has burned through hundreds of square miles of forest land," McClintock said. "Salvaging the timber will provide for an economic lifeline to communities already devastated by this fire as local mills can be brought to full employment salvaging the timber."

An estimated one billion board feet of fire-killed timber can still be salvaged out of forests devastated by the Yosemite Rim fire.

H.R. 1526 next goes to the United States Senate.

Digital photography class in Mariposa

The Mariposa County Arts Council has announced a free digital photography program aimed at Mountain Area residents over the age of 55. The program, named F/STOP, consists of a series of four-week digital photography classes that will focus on the artistic elements of photography and are designed to promote creativity, self-expression, and increase comfort with digital technology.

The arts council will provide all the necessary equipment and images produced from these classes will be included in an exhibition at the Treetop Gallery and in an online gallery on the council's website.

No prior experience with photography is required.

Classes will be held at the Mariposa County Library and at the Mariposa Senior Activity Center. The first class will be held 10-11:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 14. Details: (209) 966-3155,,

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