Storms drench Mountain Area
Precipitation totals for much of the Mountain Area continued to improve after a series of storms hung overhead from the weekend into Monday.
From Friday night to Monday morning, the National Weather Service in Hanford reported Oakhurst received 2.01 inches of rain, Mariposa 1.71, Coarsegold 1.33, and Yosemite Valley 2.51 post snow melt.
Phil Messerschmitt, with the official government weather station in North Fork at the Bass Lake Ranger District, said from July 1 to Jan. 31 the area received 23.12 inches of rain.
Messerschmitt said records kept since 1903 indicated an average in the same time period of 17.44 inches, with 32 inches from July 1 to June 30 each year.
Snow levels during the storms dropped as low as Oakhurst, Coarsegold and some surrounding areas, NWS staff said.
Trees for America
Joining the Arbor Day Foundation is an ideal way to get in the mood for spring planting. Anyone from California who joins the Foundation during the month of February will receive 10 free Eastern Redbud trees to plant when the weather turns warm. The free trees are part of the nonprofit Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.
“Redbuds will help beautify California for many years to come,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation.
The trees will be shipped postpaid between March 1 and May 31, with enclosed planting instructions. The 6-to-12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow, or they will be replaced free-of-charge.
Members also receive a subscription to the Foundation's colorful bimonthly publication, Arbor Day, and The Tree Book, which contains information about planting and care.
To become a member of the Foundation and receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution to “ten free Eastern Redbud trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE., 68410, by Feb. 29, or visit arborday.org/february.
Loans available for drought relief
Non-farm businesses in 33 California counties, including Madera, can apply for low-interest federal disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The loans are meant to offset lost revenues as a product of the ongoing drought, officials said. Small businesses eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans include agricultural cooperatives and most non-profit companies. Officials said the loans have a maximum term of 30 years, with a four percent interest rate for businesses and 2.625 for non-profits.
The deadline to apply is Aug. 23.
Details: sba.gov, disasterloan.sba.gov/ela, (800) 659-2955, email@example.com. Those hard of hearing can call (800) 877-8339. Applications can also be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX, 76155.
The Oakhurst Elks Lodge Sweetball Ball, the annual valentine’s dinner and dance, will be held Feb. 13. The bar opens at 4:30 p.m, with dinner served at 6. Cost is $30 per person.
Reservations: (559) 683-2717.
Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler will hold his next town hall meeting, 6-8 p.m., Feb. 11, in the Yosemite Lakes Park clubhouse.
311 county info
Just a reminder that anyone can dial 311 from another Madera County number and speak to a live person at the county.
Supervisor Tom Wheeler has also arranged for key Madera County leadership staff to be available to Eastern Madera County constituents on a semi-regular basis, beginning Feb. 3, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Staff available will include, but is not limited to, the building official, the planning director, the fire marshall, the environmental health director and the public works director.
Appointments, which will be held in the Yosemite Bank conference room, can be arranged by calling (559) 675-7821.
The next planning meeting for the 20th Annual Mountain Heritage Days will be held, noon, Feb. 8, in the Cunningham School Home at Fresno Flats. Everyone is invited to attend.
Details: Gwen Dunn, (559) 265-2608, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ash Wednesday service will be offered for the mountain community again this year, 5:30 p.m., Feb. 10, at the Little Church on the Hill. “I find that receiving ashes at the cemetery is a sobering experience and a helpful way to begin Lent,” said Little Church Foundation President Jackie Mallouf.
The service marks the first day of Lent and continues an ancient tradition that first began when public penitents ceremonially began their penance by covering themselves with ashes. Today, Christians receive the imposition of ashes on their foreheads. The service reminds worshipers of their mortality and ushers in a 40-day penitential season in anticipation of Easter Sunday.
Sweet Dreams workshop
Classes on seasonal floral decor and design will be held 6-8 p.m., Feb. 24, at 40114 Suite A, Highway 49 (next to Enterprise Rentals). Taught by Laura Zabicki, owner of Sweet Dreams Everyday, the class includes supplies, wine, refreshments and sweet treats catered by Yosemite Catering and Sweet Dreams.
The fee is $40, and returning customers who bring a guest next month will receive $5 off.
Advanced registration only: Sweet Dreams, (559) 641-7606.
The Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce German Fest will be held 6 p.m., March 5, at the Oakhurst Community Center. There will be a door prize, raffle, live auction, and entertainment.
The four-course German style dinner costs $30.
Details/tickets: (559) 683-7766.
The Mountain Area Merchants Association (MAMA) formalized its organization Jan. 18. This is a voluntary, non-profit, non-partisan group of area business owners dedicated to the collaborative promotion of member businesses, support of community initiatives, and encouragement to shop locally.
Ten area businesses are founding members.
The next meeting will be held 6 p.m., Feb. 8, at Crab Cakes.
Details: Colette Goga, (559) 683-7977; or Mike Sullivan, (558) 683-5999; or email email@example.com.
In the Best Pizza in the Mountains contest photo under the Community View section of the Jan. 28 Sierra Star edition, Goldmine Pizza of Coarsegold was accidentally omitted from the list of participating area pizzerias.