Community News for 12/19/13 edition of the Sierra Star

December 17, 2013 

Arson trial underway

The trial involving two Mountain Area citizens charged with arson got underway Monday, Dec. 16 at the Madera County Superior Court.

Kenneth Jackson, 40, is on trial in regards to 21 counts of arson (20 counts of arson of wildlands and one count of arson of an inhabited structure), along with one count of battery on a peace officer, and one count of resisting arrest.

Meanwhile Waterman, 46, is charged with 12 counts of arson including one count of arson of an inhabited structure. The two share an additional charge: conspiracy to commit arson of wildlands and an inhabited structure.

The couple were apprehended back on June 25 after an investigation and sting operation was launched in response to fires suspected to be started by a serial arsonist.

The jury trial started this week following weeks of testimony from several law enforcement agents and firefighters during pre-trial hearings.

After these pre-trial hearings, Honorable Judge Dale Blea came to the conclusion that there was enough evidence to proceed with a jury trial.

If convicted the two could potentially face jail time and possible fines. Their bail is set at $500,000 each.

The Outpouring needs volunteers

A free Christmas feast, scheduled to take place on Monday, Dec. 23, from 3-7 p.m. at the Oakhurst Community Center is in need of volunteers. Teams of six prepare Christmas dinner for a group of 12, and currently there are only 10 teams signed-up; 25-28 teams are needed.

Details: Becky Kohout (559) 313-9570.

Early deadlines

Deadlines for submitting classified and display advertising for the Dec. 24 Sierra Home Advertiser and the Dec. 26 Sierra Star is 4 p.m., this Friday, Dec. 20. The deadline for the Dec. 31 Advertiser and Jan. 2 Star is 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 27.

The Sierra Star office will close at noon on Dec. 24 and at noon on Dec. 31.

Free legal clinic

The Law Offices of Jonathan O. Pena will offer a free informational legal clinic on Dec. 23 from 2-3 p.m. at the Madera County Library in the Galloway Room.

Topics to be discussed include Disability, Veteran's benefits and Social Security/SSI.

Seating is limited.

Details: (559) 673-0378 Kristina Olvera to reserve seating; or email

Free pony rides

Free pony rides, chili and cornbread will be offered by the Prentice family of Oakhurst on Christmas Day from 3 - 5 p.m.

"If you don't have money for gifts, stop by our place," Lori Prentice said. "Depending on the turn-out, there may not be an opportunity for everyone to ride, though we sure will try our best."

The Prentice family also invites those who simply want to feel the Christmas spirit, give the ponies a carrot, or bring gifts for other children.

Details/directions: (559) 641-2211.

Elks Crab Feed

The annual Elk's Lodge Crab Feed, originally scheduled for Dec. 7, has been rescheduled to 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18. Tickets for the all-you-can-eat dinner are $40. Details: (559) 683-2717.

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