News of an additional round-trip Amtrak train between Bakersfield and Oakland is welcome, especially for those who would prefer to take the train rather than put wear and tear on themselves and their cars by driving to and from those destinations.
One nice thing about it is that we can get on the train at our local station, which will get us used to using the train, so that if the day ever comes that the high-speed rail system is completed and running, we will be old hands at rail travel, which will be facilitated by the transfer station we will have in Madera.
But even if the high-speed rail doesn’t come to pass, the additional train already has, and that’s a good thing.
The Madera Planning Commission on Tuesday of last week approved a plan by the Darin Camarena Health Center to open a clinic on the campus of Madera South High School to provide health-care services to students and residents of the neighborhood.
This seems especially appropriate, since the Darin Camarena Health Center is named after a Madera teenager who died at 17 after years of suffering from hemophilia, and finally AIDS, which he acquired from an infected blood transfusion.
It also seems appropriate that the clinic will offer dental services, since a lot of the parents of the students at Madera South High School may not set a high priority on dental care for their kids because of cost and the need for monitoring dental health schedules and procedures for their children.
The planning commission, however, thumbed its nose at a new model water efficient landscaping ordinance for the City of Madera, which would set up rules for landscaping in new homes, new swimming pool construction, and renovated landscaping of 500 square feet or more.
Natural grass and lawns would be very limited, the commissioners were told; only 25 percent of total landscape area could be grass.
Planted beds of drought-tolerant shrubs and flowers must achieve 50 percent coverage of a yard at maturity, and no bare dirt areas would be allowed in publicly visible areas. And, no areas of bare dirt would be allowed in publicly visible areas.
The commissioners weren’t happy over the strict regulations, and wondered why Madera had to become a city of desert-scapes.
“We just don’t have the water,” they were told.
Besides, the ordinance is based on state requirements. The City Council has yet to vote on it.