BULLDOZER LEVELS ANCIENT FARMER BUILDING — The Ancient Farmer Restaurant on Howard Road, short on lease and long on building problems, has been razed by the owner, Berry Construction Company, to make way for new development. Elouise Mari-scotti says her understanding is that Berry will build a mall on the site at 1928 Howard Road, and they will be invited to re-open in the new facility. As yet, she and her husband have not decided, though they will keep their liquor license in retirement for now, she said. The wood and brick building was constructed in the “very early ‘50s,” recalls Warren Cook, manager of the Mosquito Abatement District, the original owner. Toxic chemicals were stored nearby for more than 20 years. “I was hoping I would be retired before anyone noticed that,” Cook said today.
BOARD MOVES TO PROTECT FARMERS — Deciding to head off future problems before they erupt, supervisors approved the first reading of an ordinance, which states future subdivisions must alert buyers and farmers within 300 feet of their intentions. The “Right to Farm” ordinance also backs up existing farmers who may face complaints from newcomers moving into the area who find the dust, odor, and noise produced by regular farming operations a nuisance. “Our concern is what happens in the future. People don’t have any concept of what farming is about,” said Board Chairman Jess Lopez. Supervisor Harry Baker said he saw the ordinance as a “good example of preventative medicine” and said the 300-foot limit should be extended to 1,000 feet. “Cows mooing keep you awake farther out than 300 feet,” he noted.
DRAG RACE ENDS AS TRUCK STRIKES TEEN — A Schnoor Avenue drag race Thursday night came to a crashing halt when a 37-year-old driver allegedly smashed his pickup into the back of a parked van and hit a teenager on a motor scooter. Michael Correa was arrested for felony drunken driving after he allegedly attempted to flee the accident scene. Injured when Correa’s spinning vehicle slammed into him was Jeffrey Marquez, 16, who was seated aboard a Honda motor scooter parked next to the van, said Police Chief Gordon Skeels. The collision occurred as Correa raced another pickup down Schnoor Avenue and the vehicles neared Howard Road. The second driver fled but witnesses provided a description of the pickup, which police later found. Arrested was 28-year-old Bobby Lopez.
CITY COUNCIL CLOSES AMUSEMENT CENTER — A proprietor’s plea to keep open his arcade and pool hall, which has sparked interest among teenagers as well as complaints from business owners, has been denied. The Madera City Council rejected 4-1 Tobias Teran’s request for a parking variance and use permit, spelling an end to the business. “It’s a difficult decision to make because we need activity places for our young people,” said Councilwoman Margaret Medellin. Teran’s facility featured video games, pool tables, and a snack bar. Teenage customers of the arcade left the meeting dejected. “Where are we going to go? Summer is coming,” said Lupe Rodriguez, 17. “Why do they blame everything on the kids?” ...