NORTH FORK — So many of our readers have been responding to the story of Nikki Johnson and her horse Indy, we wanted to update you on what’s going on with them.
In an attempt to get back home, Indy ran away again from her temporary home, just down the road from the Johnsons.“Once she escaped from the enclosure, she was spooked very badly by something or someone, and ended up at another neighbor’s house,” said Gina Runyan, mail carrier and friend of Nikki and her parents Russ and Sandy Johnson. “This neighbor has a horse, and she fell in love with Indy, and so did the kids.”
So Indy has a new home for the winter, and everyone is relieved that she will be safe and well through the icy weather ahead. Though her new home is about three times as far from the Johnson’s house as the one where she had been staying, everyone is very grateful to their neighbor for taking her in.
Indy has also been given a warm blanket for the winter, with more people offering similar items.
The Johnsons continue to work hard to raise the money to rezone their property so Indy can come home. These are the costs provided by the County, as to what that process will involve:
- Rezone 1622.00
- Development Review 261.00
- Automation Fee 10.00
- General Plan Maintenance Fee 28.00
- Determination Fee 1035.00
- Environmental Closeout (NOD Fee) 311.00
- Fish and Game Fee 2101.50
- Fish and Game Fee Filing Fee 50.00
- TOTAL: $5418.50
Since Madera County reduced its fees by 66.7% in September 2011, it should be noted that these are the reduced fees. Without these reductions, the county fees would have been three times this amount.
The Johnsons are circulating a petition to present to the County, asking that they be afforded the same rights as the other homes in their area of Cascadel Woods just outside of North Fork.
Petitions are available at Box Feed and Hair Care Plus in North Fork, and at the North Fork School. In Oakhurst, you can sign the petition at Hoof ‘n Paw, Leaping Lotus Salon and the Red Bud Flower Shop, or sign online at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-indy/
Gina Runyan set up a booth at the North Fork Fall Festival, and “people drove from all over to sign our petition,” she said. “We raised over $300 selling raffle tickets for donated items. It was wonderful, and the North Fork Women’s Club even gave us a free booth!”
Gina and Sandy and their two kids spent that day showing pictures of Indy and Nikki and telling their story.
They also set up an account for Nikki and Indy at Chase Bank in Oakhurst, account #3032551826, where people can donate. Gina and Sandy are working to set up another day to sell raffle tickets and gather signatures for their petition.
“We are still looking for donations of items of any kind to help sell more raffle tickets,” says Gina.
While all of the comments to S|N|O on this issue voice strong support for the Johnsons, one post points out that the County isn’t to blame for enforcing their own rules.
“I don’t entirely blame the county,” posted one reader. “Once notified, they have a duty to act fairly which means enforcing existing rules the same for everyone. Picking and choosing who pays fees and who doesn’t is not fair overall. I blame the uptight neighbors.”
So the Johnsons will continue to try to raise money for their rezoning and work with the County to get this done. They just want Indy to be able to spend her remaining time with Nikki, the girl who rescued her and loves her so much.