FURMAN HIGH TEACHERS GET LAYOFF NOTICES — Phil Pendley lost his job as principal of Madera Unified School District Alternative Education at Tuesday’s school board meeting. The teachers and staff who work for him also lost their jobs. Superintendent Tom Riley apologized. He shook his head and said the district had no choice. The governor’s budget placed restrictions and removes funding for portions of alternative education. The proposed budget calls for the elimination of funding for students over the age of 21 or those over the age of 19 if they have not been continuously enrolled since their 18th birthday. Pendley said he was going to search for legislative support. “We intend to leave no stone unturned. We intend to leave no arm untwisted. We intend to leave no word unspoken that can be spoken,” said Pendley.
NEW REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY FORMS — The downtown area has been targeted as a top priority for the city’s first active redevelopment agency designed to pump tax dollars into reconstruction and refurbishment of commercial and residential regions. The members of the Madera City Council comprise the Madera Redevelopment Agency, which got off the ground for the first time in January. Downtown is a leading contender for the project area. It could be slated for facelifts, improved parking, and utilities or signalization, according to Leona James, director of the city’s Community Development Department. James said downtown has been impacted by commercial development in other portions of the city, and the agency could be used as a tool to inject added life into the historic area, which dates back to the turn of the century.
CRLA REFUSES TO SIGN HOSPITAL DEAL — Madera Community Hospital has not received promised indigent care funds from Madera County in the wake of California Rural Legal Assistance’s refusal to join in the recent agreement. Supervisors finally reached agreement last week committing $100,000 for the first five months of the year and $20,000 each month thereafter until the results are in on an indigent care study. CRLA joined MCH in a lawsuit on behalf of an indigent client who represented the general class of indigents in Madera County. As a party to the suit, CRLA refused to sign the agreement between the county and the hospital because it was not contacted during the negotiations but was asked to sign-off.
GARBAGE PLUGGING UP SEWER SYSTEM IN CITY — The toilet has evolved into a garbage receptacle for some Maderans, who flush clothing, diapers, pantyhose, and pieces of wood that continue to clog the city’s largest lift station and prompts sewage to backup through manholes. Public Works employees are called upon day and night to cut material off pump blades, which are often clogged by pantyhose, said Harold Herring, maintenance supervisor. I think everybody knows what they shouldn’t flush, but some people don’t care much,” Herring said. As pumps become clogged, the water level begins to rise and sounds an alarm, which activates automatic telephone dialing to employee home numbers...