WATER TOWER WATCH DOGS WIN — In the face of a determined Save the Tower Committee, which sought $3,500 to add to the $20,000 it had already raised, the Madera City Council voted 3-2 to open its coffers to save the 77-year-old D Street water tower. The move brought an end to the 17-month debate over the destruction of the tower, but not before committee member Rose Marchetti put Mayor Robert Garibay on notice that if he didn’t vote the right way, he would have some serious political opposition in the future. “You people (city council) were voted here not to fight us but to fight for us,” said Marchetti, who told Garibay that if he did not “cooperate, he may not be mayor next time. I’m going to tell you I won’t forget it, and if I’m still around, no one else will forget it either.” Garibay provided the swing vote in favor of approving the expenditure of $3,500 for the water tower restoration.
TIME HAS COME FOR BARSOTTI TO PERFORM — After a year on the sidelines, Mark Barsotti’s time has come. Tonight the former Madera High quarterback will lead Fresno State University in its season opener against the University of New Mexico. Barsotti came into the start of fall practice listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind returning starter Dave Telford, but barely a week into practice, Barsotti was moved into the No. 1 position. Barsotti was highly recruited out of Madera High, where he passed for a school record 4,226 yards and 52 touchdowns in his two-years on the varsity team. One of those recruiting him was New Mexico Coach Mike Sheppard. Barsotti received a phone call from Kevin Sweeney, who is now with the Dallas Cowboys. “He said to just relax and do what Mark Barsotti can do and to just go out and have fun,” Barsotti said of the phone call.
HAHN WITHDRAWS FROM COUNCIL RACE — Madera City Council hopeful M.A. “Al” Hahn has withdrawn his candidacy following a decision by the Madera County Counsel’s office, which held he would have to leave his job to serve on the council. Hahn, director of the Madera County Department of Corrections, said he anticipated there would be a conflict of interest and requested a written opinion by the county counsel’s office. He received the decision last week, which informed him that “the moment you are sworn in, you will have vacated the DOC office.” Past area council members have been in a similar situation but went on to serve their terms without question. Former Mayor James Oakley served as assistant district attorney while on the council, and Sheriff Glenn Seymour was mayor of Chowchilla while a sheriff’s lieutenant. Deputy County Counsel Douglas Nelson said those officials did not request a formal opinion as Hahn did. “Generally we respond to things, we don’t initiate them,” he said.
TURPENEN RESIGNS FROM ELECTIONS POSITION — Madera County Elections Clerk Jeannie Turpenen resigned her post Wednesday and moved across the hall of the County Government Center to become the Madera Justice Court supervisor under Judge Victor Dahman. “I have wanted to make a career change, and this was an opportunity,” she said. With a general election right around the corner, County Clerk Juanita Price said she doesn’t think Turpenen’s position will be filled in time for the November election. Saying Turpenen’s resignation “was rather a surprise,” Price said she had been assured by election departments in Fresno and Merced counties they will help Madera County through the November election. Looking back on her years with the elections department, Turpenen said she enjoyed the work as well as the people in the department...