CITY OFFICIALS GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT WATER — “Some people just believe water arrives at the spigot. They don’t realize we have to pump it out of the ground,” says Public Works Director David Chumley; therefore, the Madera City Council has a new conservation plan. It will hire a second water patrol officer and commission street sweepers to double as water patrol personnel. The full-time water patrol has been boosted from 40 to 60 hours, allowing more flexibility in searching for and stopping water waste at night. “A lot of people irrigate at night. They think at night, nobody will come,” Chumley said. Residents must adhere to an every-other day watering schedule, water no more than 15 minutes, and ensure there is no run-off in gutters or streets. Councilman Patrick O’Rourke said, “Somewhere we have to reach a point of equilibrium where our use and supply are in balance, or we will start pumping salt.”
EDUCATORS HONOR THORNTON, DAWSON — A Madera native and a relative newcomer to the area were honored at the Madera District Chamber of Commerce Salute to Education on Tuesday night. Susan Thornton, a science and math teacher from Thomas Jefferson Junior High School, was named Distinguished Teacher of the Year, and Bill Dawson, owner of Round Table Pizza, was selected Businessperson of the Year. Thornton has been at Thomas Jefferson since 1983 and is currently in her 13th year of teaching. She began her career at St. Joachim in 1972. Dawson bought into the Round Table Pizza franchises in Madera and Kerman and said he was determined to make a stamp on the community. “I make my money from the community, and I want to give it back,” he said. “That is my concept of business.”
DAY CARE CENTER IN AIRPORT APPROACH ZONE APPROVED — A proposed day care facility, which hit turbulence at the Madera City Council level, will be constructed despite its proximity to the Madera Municipal Airport. In a 3-2 vote by the council this week, developer Dave Berry was granted a use permit for the facility. “I would be far more worried about lightning striking that facility than an airplane,” said Berry. “The potential for kids to be hurt on a bus is much higher,” Berry said. Councilman Robert Garibay proposed Berry be required to inform parents of the airport’s proximity through signs or notices. The suggestion met with Berry’s approval. Councilmen Patrick O’Rourke and Bill Weber voted against the measure.
SUPERVISORS ENDORSE NEW WELFARE RULES — A plan to let chronic welfare recipients off the public rolls and into the mainstream of work got the praise and approval of supervisors Tuesday. According to County Director of Welfare Lee Rhyne, an unemployed father is currently allowed to decline a job offer if it does not pay enough to support a family. With the institution of the Greater Avenues for Independence, Rhyne said the county will seek waivers under the program. Welfare recipients would have to take a minimum-wage job or be dropped from the welfare rolls. The minimum wage jobs would be counted as training, and the welfare recipients would have their salary supplemented by the welfare department...