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Author Archives: George Lurie

Patent Lawsuit Filed Against North Fork Biomass Project Partners

NORTH FORK — A lawsuit was filed late last week against North Fork Community Power and the two private companies planning to build a new 2-MW biomass plant in North Fork.The suit, filed July 9 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleges that the private equity partners in the North Fork Community Power project — Phoenix ...

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Search On for Camper Missing in Sierra National Forest

MADERA COUNTY — More details are emerging about  a woman who went missing over the weekend while camping in the Sierra National Forest. Sandra Johnsen Hughes, 53, was last seen at least three days ago on a trail above Bass Lake. Hughes’ campsite in the Johnson Meadows area between Beasore and Minarets roads was discovered Sunday by hikers, who found her ...

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MCDPH Alters Reporting Method, Adds New Data Dashboard

MADERA — Madera County reported 42 new cases of COVID-19 last week, making it the single-worst week for new cases since the pandemic began. On Friday, Madera County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) confirmed 10 new cases of COVID-19, raising the total of cases countywide to 198. MCDPH Director Sarah Bosse also announced Friday that the County will shift its ...

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Yosemite Jazz Band Resumes Thursday Night Pizza Factory Gigs

OAKHURST — A summertime mountain community tradition — live jazz on the outdoor patio at the Pizza Factory — is set to swing back into action next week. “Our community needs the uplift soooo much right now,” says Berl Howell, one of the leaders of the iconic Yosemite Jazz Band, which will perform for the first time since the pandemic ...

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Madera County Has New Top Administrator, Acting Sheriff

MADERA — Supervisors made it official Tuesday morning: Former Sheriff Jay Varney is now the County’s top day-to-day administrator.At the start of today’s (June 2) meeting, which was chaired by Supervisor Rob Poythress, the board formally appointed Varney to be the County’s new chief administrative officer. “He will take over as a strong leader,” said Supervisor Frazier. “Jay is exactly who ...

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Supervisor Wheeler Holds ‘Virtual’ Town Hall

AHWAHNEE — District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler held a Town Hall meeting — via Zoom — on Wednesday (May 27), allowing county officials to provide updates on local efforts to combat COVID-19 as well as share the latest developments regarding key projects underway around Madera County.Running the meeting from his ranch in Ahwahnee, Wheeler said the virtual format, due to ...

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Supervisor Wheeler Confirms Cancellation of Bass Lake Fireworks

AHWAHNEE — District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler held a Town Hall meeting (via Zoom) on Wednesday, allowing county officials to provide updates on local efforts to combat COVID-19 as well as share the latest developments regarding key projects underway around Madera County. Running the meeting from his ranch in Ahwahnee, Wheeler said the virtual format, necessary because of the COVID-19 ...

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Varney Leaving Sheriff’s Job to Become County’s Top Administrator

MADERA — Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney is trading his badge and uniform for a suit, tie and fourth-floor office at the Madera County Government Center. The surprise announcement introducing Varney as Madera County’s new top administrator took place at a press conference held Wednesday morning at the Madera County Government Center. “Throughout my career, I have been a results-oriented, ...

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State Supreme Court to Hear Mono Casino Case Early Next Month

NORTH FORK — Mono tribal officials are hopeful the last remaining legal barriers may soon be removed in the tribe’s nearly 20-year effort to build a casino and hotel off Highway 99 near Madera.On June 2, the California Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of United Auburn Indian Community of the Auburn Rancheria v Newsom. ...

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Supervisors OK First Reading of New Industrial Hemp Ordinance

MADERA — In a rare 3-2 split vote on Tuesday, the Madera County Board of Supervisors approved the first reading of a new ordinance regulating the growth of industrial hemp in the county. The updated regulations set the table for large-scale expansion of industrial hemp in the county, with some ag experts predicting the new “green” rush could lead to ...

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