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Author Archives: George Lurie

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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Cash Crop: Supervisors Poised to OK New Industrial Hemp Rules

MADERA — The Madera County Board of Supervisors this week could OK a new, recently revised ordinance regulating the growth of industrial hemp in the county. The effort to OK large-scale industrial hemp operations in Madera County has been underway for more than a year. While industrial hemp is already grown in the county on a limited basis, the new ...

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Eminent Domain Action Postponed in Midtown Connector Project

Update: After Madera County Community Development Director Matthew Treber told supervisors Tuesday morning that County officials and the private landowner were still negotiating and hoped to able to reach an agreement soon, the Madera County Board of Supervisors postponed for one week (until May 12 regular meeting) any further action on the proposed eminent domain proceeding detailed in the story ...

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