Tom Wheeler, Madera County District 5 Supervisor, introduced new county Veterans Service Officer, Kurtis Foster, at last week’s Town Hall meeting. Foster is a 2003 Yosemite High School graduate, a former Marine Sgt. who served three tours in Iraq and was awarded three Purple Hearts.
Denise Tolme, Bass Lake District Ranger, USDA Forest Service, Sierra National Forest, reported that many of the forest areas closed to the public for safety reasons following this season’s fires should be open within the next three weeks and work is scheduled to begin Nov. 26 on 4S81 (Mammoth Pool Road/Minarets Hwy.) to repair damage caused by last winter’s heavy storms. Sections of the road will be closed for up to 30 days to accommodate these repairs.
The Burn Cleaner Program was explained by Jamie Holt of the San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Control District. The grant program encourages replacement of older wood or pellet burning stoves with more efficient devices. Grants of up to $1,000 are available to homeowners or renters and up to $2,500 for low income homeowners, renters or property owners. Additional information and voucher applications are available at: www.valleyair.org/grants/burncleaner.htm.
☆ The Madera County Sheriff’s Office is actively recruiting new Search and Rescue volunteers and applications are available online at: www.madera-county.com/index.php/search-a-rescue.
☆ Dr. Janae Barker, a pediatrician who now provides services through Camarena Health, was introduced at the meeting. Camarena Health provides dental and medical services in Oakhurst. “We have a huge need for mental health resources for children,” in this area, Barker said. She noted that she sees lots of concussions resulting from children riding bicycles without helmets or from sports injuries.
☆ Oakhurst’s CHP Commander, Lt. Craig Hinch, said 10 additional senior volunteers will be joining the current 20 volunteers following their graduation from the Senior Volunteer Academy.
☆ Matt Treber, Madera County Community and Economic Development Director, reported that while there have been a lot of issues with “the hotel” project on Highway 41 in Oakhurst, the project is “moving forward.” Retaining walls supporting tanks for water suppression have been completed.
Ending the meeting, Cal Fire reminded the audience it is time to check batteries in smoke detectors and to sweep wood stove chimneys.