Active North Fork community member Janet Wheeler was named 2014 Citizen of the Year Saturday night during the North Fork Boosters annual dinner at North Fork Town Hall.
Wheeler’s honor was announced by 2013 North Fork Citizen of the Year Mark Logee.
Wheeler has been very active in North Fork throughout the years. She works in real estate, and the little house at the North Fork Recreation Center was originally her office in a more visible part of town. She has been active in assisting with the Loggers Jamboree for many years and has served on the North Fork Booster board for five years. She has gained a reputation for honesty and fairness, and, as her nominator said, for giving 100% to the tasks she takes on.
Wheeler’s daughter, Amanda, was jamboree queen in 2002 and set a record for tickets sold, which has not been topped to date. Grandson John Quigley was Lil’ Logger in 2012.
Logee spoke about what motivates community members who consistently volunteer for projects for the betterment of the town.
“It’s certainly not for money or fame,” Logee said.
Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler (1984 citizen) served as master of ceremonies. He reminisced about the start of the North Fork Citizen of the Year program by pharmacist Jim Zizzo in 1982. Wheeler said he has every nomination form since the award was first presented in 1982, except for one year which were lost. Other nominees were:
• Dan Rosenberg, North Fork Community Development Council president, for his success in moving the old mill site forward, which is a major benefit for the entire community.
• Roger Robinette for his high profile at all community events, taking photos to document North Fork activities, submitting photos to the Sierra Star to provide recognition for North Fork people, as well as for the Madera County Visitor’s Guide. It was noted that Robinette either gave his photos away or sold them at a very low cost.
• Ava Thieson was nominated for her grief counseling work, and non-judgmental advice that comes from her heart.
As is the custom, outgoing citizen Logee and his family (wife, Kathy, son Justin, and son Cody with his wife Jasmine) prepared the pasta, salad bar, and garlic bread dinner. Salad items were mostly donated from the Kern Family Farm. Booster Club members had their famous desserts for sale.
In addition to Logee, past citizens of the year attending the event, were Frank Verduzco (1998), Chris Stanley (2000), Cathey Thornburg (2001), Loretta McKee (2002), Alice Koda (who won with her late husband Curtis Kirk in 2004), Volney Dunavan (2005), Augie and Cindy Capuchino (2007), Joan Constable (2010), Vince and Ginny Smith (2011), and Hansel Kern (2012).
Booster President Cathey Thornburg (2001) reported that the organization had raised $74,000 last year, and after the expenses of maintaining both the town hall and the Recreation Center, and its free summer program for North Fork children, there was a surplus of $6,341.
Booster bingo is beginning on the first Tuesday in March and will continue every first Tuesday through November, with the doors opening at 5:30 p.m.. Refreshments will be served.
The kick-off dinner and dance for the 56th annual Mid-Sierra Loggers Jamboree will be held 6-11 p.m., Saturday, March 28, at town hall. Dinner will be followed by The Freightshakers, a country band. That night, the queen and little logger contestants will be announced. The winners will be decided by how many tickets the candidates sell to the professional events at this year’s Jamboree, July 5.
The Pro-Am events will be held Saturday, July 4, at the Recreation Center, along with the horseshoe contest, the parade, a dinner at town hall, dancing and announcement of the 2015 jamboree royalty.
Booster or event information: (559) 877-7700.