Community Briefs - Jan. 15, 2015 edition

Winter Soup Night

The Senior Center will offer winter soup night on Saturday, Jan. 17. Doors open at 4 p.m., with soup served an hour later. Along with the soup, there will be salad, bread, and dessert. Cost: $7 per person.

Details: (559) 658-2200.

Lean and Green in 2015

Days of Wellness for greater health, vitality, beauty and natural living on Saturday, Jan. 17, and Jan. 24, at the Pero home in Ahwahnee. Drop in between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Younique makeovers will be offered, as well as health remedies and recipes. There will also be prizes and surprises.

RSVP for directions, Jannai at (559) 760-0880, or

Crab Feed fundraiser

The Elk’s Lodge annual all-you-can-eat Crab Feed fundraiser will be held Saturday, Jan. 17. Bar opens at 5 p.m., with dinner at 6. This event is open to the public. Cost is $40 per person or $280 for a table of eight.

Reservations: (559) 683-2717.

Entrance fee waived

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 19, Yosemite National Park will waive all entrance fees. The fee free day is available to all visitors in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy.

Fees being waived for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day include the fees associated with entrance into the park only. All other fees associated with camping, lodging, or activities within the park are still in effect. The free day is good for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day only.

Although the weather has been mild, visitors coming to the park are urged to be aware of ice on the roadway. Additionally, if weather changes, chain restrictions may apply on all roads within the park.

Raley’s raises 2.9 million pounds of food

Thanks to the generosity of Raley’s customers, employees and community partners, Raley’s Food For Families annual holiday bag campaign surpassed its goal by nearly 50%, raising 2.9 million pounds of food in Northern California and Northern Nevada. In the Oakhurst location alone, 5,357 pounds of food was raised.

“This year was one of our best Holiday Bag campaigns ever,” said Jennifer Teel-Wolter, Executive Director of Food For Families. “Not only did we raise nearly 3 million pounds of food for those in need, we also did it by providing fresh and healthy options to our food banks. We’re thrilled to see how the community supported this effort and we’re so grateful to everyone who participated.”

For $10, customers could donate a bag of wholesome food, with Raley’s more than doubling these donations, turning each $10 donation into more than $27 worth of food. All donations remained in the communities in which they were raised and were distributed by local Food For Families food bank partners. Each holiday bag provided 21 meals and included more fresh produce than ever before, and, for the first time, milk in addition to pantry staples like whole wheat pasta and tuna.

Mountain Community Women fundraiser

Mountain Community Women (MCW) will host speaker Lt. Darin McMechan from the Sheriff’s Department, at the Feb. 2, general meeting located at Oakhurst Community Center. He will speak on elder issues, as well as crime in the mountains and homeless problems. Time permitting, there could be a visit from newly elected Sheriff Jay Varney. The meetings are open to all area residents with a social hour beginning at 9:30 a.m., followed by the business meeting at 10 a.m. MCW encourages the public to arrive about 10:45 a.m. to hear the speaker. All proceeds support the Oakhurst Community Center.

Also in February, MCW will host their annual Mardi Gras Card Party & Luncheon, Feb. 27, at the Oakhurst Community Center. Doors open at 10:30 a.m., with all games welcome. If you need a partner, let the organization know and they will find the right table for you. If you don’t want to play, come and join in a great lunch. It’s not just fun and games - there will be lots of raffle prizes to win. A donation of $12 is requested. All proceeds support the Oakhurst Community Center.

Details: Ticket information and group reservations, (559) 683-3938. For information on upcoming events see

Jack Hanna in Merced

America’s most beloved animal expert, Jack Hanna, brings his three-time Emmy Award-winning television series to the live stage with Into the Wild Live, 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 16 at the Art Kamangar Center in the Merced Theatre. In this live show, prepare to be fascinated as Jungle Jack takes you into the wild with a spectacular array of incredible animals. Jack will also share humorous stories and amazing footage from his adventures all around the world from Africa, to the Amazon, to Antarctica and beyond. Audiences can expect to see approximately 15 animals.

Tickets start at $20 for adults and $16 for children 12 years and under.

Details: Tickets can be purchased at, (209) 381-0500, or at the box office at 301 W. Main Street.

First Aid & CPR certification

First Aid & CPR Certification classes, taught by Bill and Gina Hartley of Sierra Ambulance, will be held 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. One class will be held Saturday, Jan. 17, and the second class will be held Feb. 21. A two-year American Heart Association certification for infant and adult will be handed out at the end of class. Space is limited, so call to reserve a spot. This is a senior project put together by Justin Wevers. Cost is $35 and all proceeds go towards Yosemite High Ag Welding Department.

Details: To reserve a spot, Bridgette Russell, (559) 240-9674.

Free preschool

The Madera/Mariposa Regional Head Start preschool program is accepting applications for the 2014-15 school year. Head Start provides a free, comprehensive, high quality preschool program designed to foster healthy development for income eligible children and families.

The program focuses on increasing the social competence of young children 3-4 years of age in Madera and Mariposa counties. Services include early childhood education, medical and dental screening, and follow-up, services to children with disabilities, social skills, nutrition, and family services.

For the 2014-15 program year, your child must have turned 3 years old by Sept. 1, 2014. For more information or to schedule an appointment to apply, Oakhurst Head Start (559) 658-8171, or Mountain Head Start in North Fork, (559) 877-2352. You will need to provide your child’s birth certificate, immunization records (must be up-to-date), Medi-cal or other insurance card, and family income verification for 12 months (tax return, W-2s, Passport to Services, Social Security, TANF). Income eligibility is based on the 2014 Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Joint supervisors meeting in Madera

The Madera County Board of Supervisors will host a joint meeting with Fresno County Board of Supervisors at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 27 in the board chambers at the Madera County Government Center. Agenda topics include a joint vision for development and land use in the Rio Mesa Area and the Friant Corridor study. The board members will also discuss the Fresno/Madera state Route 41 origin-destination study, and the Sustainable Management Groundwater Act of 2014. This will be the second time in two years that the Madera and Fresno supervisors have met.

Best pizza contest

Set aside some time this weekend for fundraising, football and pizza. Once again, it’s time to find out who makes the pizza voters consider to be the most delicious slice.

The Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis will sponsor the 3rd annual “Best Pizza in the Mountains” contest, noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 18, at the Oakhurst Community Center.

This year’s event has expanded to include pizza restaurants throughout the Mountain Area, not just those located in Oakhurst.

Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased through Kiwani members, and participating restaurants. Tickets at the door are $12. Each ticket holder receives a slice of pizza from each participating restaurant and ultimately it’s the ticket holders who vote and decide on the best pizza.

The current defending champion is Pizza Factory, having claimed the honored title in both 2013 and 2014.

Kiwanis will use the proceeds to fund local children and students of the Mountain Area.