MUSD TRUSTEES REGAIN BENEFITS — Verbal opposition and tension between school trustees and the Taxpayers Association of Madera County was diffused at Tuesday’s meeting. The conflict was sparked by a letter to the editor in The Madera Tribune saying trustees were giving themselves health insurance benefits until the age of 65. This was not the case. What the board did was to reinstate health benefits for trustees that had been scrapped because of a large surge in insurance premiums. Trustees voted unanimously to reinstate the health benefits, which are only available to them while serving on the board. The benefits are optional, and most trustees do not take them.
DEPUTY HURT IN SATURDAY NIGHT ACCIDENT — A Madera County Sheriff’s deputy, recently nominated for Lawman of the Year, was critically injured Saturday while responding to a call. Sgt. Michael Riley Taylor apparently ran a stop sign at Avenue 12 and the Highway 99 off ramp and was pinned underneath the steering wheel of his vehicle after it was hit broadside, according to California Highway Patrol reports. Taylor was hit by a Chevy Blazer with a boat and trailer in tow. It was driven by Michael Jeffrey Avinelis. According to witnesses, Taylor had no light or siren on when he ran the stop sign. Taylor was flown to Valley Medical Center in Fresno by CHP helicopter. His condition is listed as critical but stable.
TRUSTEES APPROVE HIKE IN DEVELOPER FEES — There were no verbal protests and only one letter of opposition when Madera Unified trustees approved an increase in developer fees Tuesday. Residential developers will now pay three cents more per square foot, raising the fee to $1.56. Commercial developers will have an additional one cent to pay, raising their rates to 26 cents. MUSD Superintendent Tom Riley countered the letter of objection by saying that Fresno and Clovis, which have lower fees than Madera, recently passed $60 million and $59 million bond issues to fund schools. “The day Madera and its citizens decide to pass $60 million or $59 million, or for that matter a $30 million bond issue, I’d be happy to come before the board and recommend the reduction of developer fees.”
PLANNERS TURN DOWN REC CENTER — A North E Street recreation center, which has become a popular gathering spot for local youth, will likely close its doors following a ruling by the Madera Planning Commission. An arcade and pool hall operated by Tobias Teran has drawn complaints from area business owners who say they have been overwhelmed by parking problems, vandalism, and loiterers. A-1 Body Shop owner Leon Emo said parking problems have become unmanageable. Emo said over the past three months, his office windows have been broken out and his building spray painted and littered by beer bottles. City staff made an error in issuing a license for the center, according to Leona James, community development director...