The Kerman News

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One Injured in Kerman Traffic Accident

One person was injured in a traffic accident Tuesday, May 29, at the Whitesbridge and Madera intersection in Kerman.

Reports from the scene indicate that the incident occurred at about 1 p.m., on southbound Madera, just south of Whitesbridge.

Two passenger vehicles were involved, both turning southbound on Madera from westbound Whitesbridge.

During the turn a woman passenger in the lead vehicle suddently tumbled out of the car, onto the pavement.

The following car managed to avoid the victim, but ran into the rear of the lead vehicle. Minor damage was reported.

The victim was able to get up and move around after the incident, but paramedics were called to the scene to check her out, and she was taken to hospital as a precaution.

The Kerman Police Dept. had to block off all southbound lanes on Madera Ave., and traffic was slow for the best part of an hour while the incident was cleared.



Volunteers Kick off Assembly of New Park Playground



Kerman’s newest public park - Soroptimist Park, located at Kearney and Siskiyou, is rapidly approaching completion. On Saturday, May 19, voluteers gathered to begin one of the final chores - putting together the playground equipment.

Work on the two acre park has been underway for the last few years, and it joins the other ‘club’ parks in the City: Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis.

As with the earlier parks the local clubmembers pitched in to help with the park wherever possible. In Soroptimist Park the local businesswomen’s organization paid for the sign and kicked in to help pay for the playground equipment.

Club members also hosted a community build event for the playground, and were on hand with lunch snacks (and bandaids) for the workers.

Grand Opening for New Kerman Bank


ABOVE - CVCB President and CEO Dan Doyle was on hand to say a few words at the grand opening.

BELOW - Handling the ceremonial scissors for the ribbon cutting was Fresno County Supervisor Phil Larson (center.) On the left is Charles H. Jones, vice president of the Kerman branch, and on the right is Kerman City Manager Ron Manfredi.

The Kerman branch of Central Valley Community Bank held a grand opening and ribbon cutting on Friday, May 18, at the bank’s new location at 360 S. Madera Ave. The new 3,600 square foot Kerman office opened on Monday, March 19.

Local officials were on hand to speak at the event, and tours of the new facility were conducted. After the ribbon cutting ceremonies a catered lunch was served to upwards of 200 guests.

The new office features full service banking, commercial and agribusiness lending and other banking conveniences including a drive-up teller, ATM and a night drop.


Parade is Highlight of Annual

Portuguese Celebration

Big Queen, L to R: Attendant Mary Cruz, Festa Queen Angela Porto and Attendant Chelsea Couto.

Little Queen, L to R: Attendant Emma Toste, Little Queen Samantha Herrick and Attendant Catherine Miguel.


At 10:30 am on May 20, beautiful girls and representatives from all over the valley will march through Kerman on their way to Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church. Winding its way through Kerman, the parade will have representatives from at least nine other communities, the Kerman Community Band, and the symbolic protection of the Queen by the Kerman Knights of Columbus. Once at the church, at the 11 am mass, there will be a religious celebration that for generations has bound the Portuguese people in California. The Festival, called a Festa in Portuguese, is both cultural and religious.

It historically refers to the Queen Isabella of Portugal who sold the royal jewels and her crown to feed the poor, eventually being moved to sainthood. This is reflected by the Queens in the parade, one from each city or town that hosts a Festa. In Kerman this year, Queen Isabella and her court are well represented. The Kerman Festa Queen this year is sophomore Angela Porto, daughter of Danny and Linda Porto of Kerman. Her court consists of side attendants Mary Cruz and Chelsea Couto. In the corresponding court of the younger ladies, Little Queen Samantha Herrick, daughter of Kerman native Melanie Couto, reigns with her side attendants Emma Toste and Catherine Miguel. In the Portuguese tradition, the capes of the queens can be handmade and take hundreds of hours at the hands of the most skilled artisans to create.

After the services at Saint Patrick’s, the assembled will march back to the SBF hall. Already in process will be the serving of the free meal, called sopas, that symbolizes the historical feeding of the poor by the Queen of Portugal and the dedication of the Portuguese associations like the SBF to help those in need. Everyone is invited to attend free of any charge whatsoever. The SBF makes particularly sure that food is taken to the elderly, the ill and those in need. The SBF, the Sociadad de Boa Fe, is one of over 500 such organizations in California. Festa celebrations are also held in Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Hawaii and Toronto, Canada. Every organization has a special committee that puts together everything from collecting the money and cows needed to make the sopas to the actual cooking and serving and anything else that might be needed.

This year, the Kerman SDF committee is lead by President Danny Porto and his Vice-President Manuel Rodrigues. Secretary to the committee is Ray Medeiros and the Treasurer/Parade Marshall is Dan Safreno. The hard workers of the committee include Joe D. Perry, Nino Carvalho, Kenny Carvalho, Craig Couto, Dick Nunes, Manuel Ponte, Chris Ponte, Steve Toste and Richard Goulart. Preparation for each year’s festa begins months earlier with careful planning and dozens of members helping out.

When the parade returns to the hall, honor is paid to the new Queen and her court with the National Anthem and the Portuguese National Anthem. Even though a huge meal of sopas is served then, it is again served that evening at 7 pm. After this meal comes the Grand March, where everyone who is part of the court and significant others are formally presented in a tradition rich march little changed in over a century.

After this comes an evening of dance and merriment and almost immediately planning will start for the festa for the next year. Usually, such can take upwards to 20 cows to provide the necessary meat, often from the dedication and pride of local Portuguese dairyman and others who care deeply about such cultural events continuing. As Secretary Medeiros points out "The Festa is certainly an important thread in the fabric of the Portuguese community."

Ken Moore received a gavel from the City of Kerman last week, in recognition of his 11 years of service (four as mayor) on the city council. He recently resigned from the council to take up a position as Public Works Director. Handling the award ceremony was City Clerk Renee Holdcroft.


Kerman, Apr. 25 - The results of a recent community survey have confirmed officials’ long held fears - Kerman loses a lot of business to nearby Fresno.  And there’s more at stake than just community pride - business ‘leakage’ to Fresno means fewer sales tax dollars spent in Kerman, and sales tax revenue is the life blood of important City services such as police protection and recreation programs. 
The community survey was mailed out to 4,500 City residents in utility bills earlier this year.  City Hall reports receiving 431 responses, about a 10 percent return rate, not bad for such things.  The survey sought responses to to questions about City services, Chamber of Commerce events, and shopping habits and needs.
The good news is that by and large residents seem  satisfied with senior citizen and youth services, transportation and recycling, and police protection.  But there were strong numbers calling for more transportation, and for increased attention to streets and sidewalk repair.  
City Manager Ron Manfredi reports that the City has about $1.7 million budgeted over the next five years for street repair and maintenance, and about $125,000 budgeted for sidewalks. 
By more than a 2 to 1 margin survey respondents said they had not atended community events sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, but those who did viewed the events in a positive light.   Little inteest was seen in a Chamber sponsored business or vendor fair.
The City reports that 63% of those responding to the survey work outside Kerman; with the great percentage of drivers commuting about 40 or 50 miles.  
On the shopping side, 98% reported shopping out of town for non-food items, and 46% shop out of town for food.  Clothing was the overwhelming first choice of the most needed goods or services needed in Kerman, followed by restaurants and grocery stores. 
There was also an overwhelming support (73%) for a large retailer (such as a Wal-Mart) in the area.
There were also a number of individual comments submitted, coverning a wide range of topics.  Most of the comments confirmed the findings of the ‘yes-no/number rating’ of the survey questions.
The survey backs up an earlier report presented to the city council, which said that Kerman’s per capita sales tax revenues are very low when compared to neighboring cities.  The council has approved an effort to try to increase revenues by 25-30 percent in the next three years.


Kerman, April 25

Zone Change
The council approved a zone change for 1.85 acres  northeast of California and Vineland from single family residential to mult-family.  The area will be the site of a 35-unit low income apartment project. 

Accept Bid
The council accepted a bid of $250,352 for the reconstruction of Sunt Avel. and the installation of a storm drain pipeling from Madera to First St. Also included is the reconstruction of D St. east of 6th, an the resurfacing of the parking lot at Kerckhoff Park.  The low bidder (out of 12 firms) was Garcia Paving.

I-5 Group
The I-5 Business Develpment Corridor group has asked Kerman to rejoin the organization.  The matter was tabled until a full council is available.

Fee Increases
The City is considering increasing development fees by about 30%, to take into account increased construction costs, rising land values and increased growth. 
Residential fees for a typical lot would increase from $9,800 to $12,800. Commercial fees for a 1,500 square foot building on 1.2 acres would increase from $18,400 to $23,500 
By increasing its fee structure frequently, Kerman is hoping to avoid having to play ‘catch up,’ as did the City of Fresno recently, when it had to raise its fees by 20 fold. 

New Motto
The City is searching for a new motto to replace the current “Gateway to the Westside.”  The council is reviewing about 40 suggestions, hoping to narrow the field to the top four or five.

Eyes FID Water
The City is studying a proposal to use water from the Fresno Irrigation District.
The City would acquire the surface water rights of property inside both the City limits and the Fresno Irrigation District, paying the annual assessments.
The water could then be used for recharging the underground aquafers, landscape irrigation, or treated for public consumption


High winds Thursday, April 12, caused some damage in the Kerman area, but no serious problems were reported other than a power pole being blown over.

The National Weather Service reported wind gusts of nearly 50 mph on the Westside, and large amounts of dust in the air prompted the Valley air district to issue a health warning.

In Kerman a few trees were blown over - one of the largest at the entrance to Kerman Christian School, on Whitesbridge just east of Del Norte. No signifant damage was seen. The most serious incident was on Kearney Blvd., west of Del Norte, where a power pole was blown over. Emergency crews were worried it might take a couple of its neighbors with it, or power lines might break and fall to the ground.

Police and utility crews had the intersection completely blocked off for some time, and it was a few hours before power was fully restored in the area.

DONATION - Valley Food Super Center presented a donation to Kerman Police Explorer Post777 last week. Shown above (l to r) are: (back row) KPD sgt. Phil Suson, Gary Yep and Mark Yep of Valley Food, Explorer Julian Contreras, KPD Community Service Officer Donnie Ramirez. Front row: Explorers Victoria Suson and Tony Rodrigues, Jerry Yep of Valley Food, Explorers Joseph Ramer and David Perez, KPD Officer Terri Cubillos. The funds will help pay for uniforms for the group.


Hazmat Team in Action in Kerman


KERMAN, Mar. 19 - The Hazmat team was in action here Monday morning, in the 100 block of S. Madera Ave. when a suspicious smell was reported at a medical clinic.  The building was evacuated and the area cordoned off by police while firefighters in breathing apparatus went in to check out the situation. It was determined the culprit was carpet glue.

Fresno Philharmonic Concert

Held in Kerman

KERMAN, Mar. 2 -  The Fresno Philharmonic and the City of Kerman presented a concert called "Bad Boy Beethoven"at the Kerman Community Center this evening.

Elizabeth Stoyanovich conducted the regional youth concert which featured a selection of music from Beethoven's 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th 6th and 9th Symphonies. 

On the right, Philharmonic board member Joan Boyd, a Kerman resident and businesswoman, says a few words before the concert. Below, Philharmonic members make ready on stage and an audience of between 300-400 enjoy the show.






Carjacking Suspect Arrested in Kerman

KERMAN (Mar. 6) - A week long hunt for an accused kidnapper and carjacking suspect ended with an arrest in Kerman Saturday afternoon.

Authorities had been searching for Rosendo "Chendo" Lopez, 30, of Fresno for parole violations, carjacking and stealing a Fresno Sheriff’s Dept. vehicle.

On Saturday the Sheriff’s Dept. Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium received a tip that the fugitive was in the Me & Ed’s restaurant in Kerman, just west of the Whitesbridge and Madera intersection.

Officers surrounded the place at about 2:10 p.m. and took Lopez into custody without incident. He was armed with a handgun, believed to have been used in a previous carjacking attempt, but did not attempt to use it.

Lopez is a validated member of the Fresno Bulldogs gang, according to the Sheriff’s Dept.




North Central Fire

Trains on Ladder Trucks

KERMAN (Feb. 22) -- Firefighters from North Central Fire District were training on extendible ladder trucks today, the result of the district's consolidation with Fresno Fire Dept. recently.  The ladders can extend up to 105 feet, and have a built-in nozzle.

The consolidation, approved by district voters as Measure B in the November election, provided more firefighters to man area stations, and is giving North Central access to equipment such as the aerial ladder trucks.  Local crews went through familiarization with the equipment in the industrial park area south of town.

North Central officials have chafed for years at the inability of the department to handle fires in buildings over two stories in height, a problem which has led to construction limits in the city.  The Fresno Fire ladder trucks are availble for Kerman area responses.







Alisa Rodriguez (left) and Mayra Garcia, both of Kerman, will be deploying

to Iraq sometime in the coming weeks.


'Buddies to Serve in Iraq'

KERMAN, Feb. 14 - Two Kerman women will deploy to Iraq in the next few weeks, serving with the 185th Quartermaster Battalion of the California Army National Guard, headquartered in Fresno.

Alisa Rodriguez, 21, and Mayra Garcia, 20, are 2004 graduates of Kerman Unified High School, and describe themselves as "buddies" since junior high school. They joined the National Guard under the buddy system as well, and went through training together.

Although trained at first as administrative specialists, the two friends were retrained as truck drivers - learning how to handle everything from the small Hummers to large semi-truck rigs. Recently they received word that they will be deployed to Iraq within the next few weeks for a tour of about 12 to 18 months.

The women admit to some apprehension about the assignment - driving a truck in Iraq is one of the most dangerous jobs a soldier can undertake. "It’s kind of scary," said Garcia. But both are ready to go, saying they knew they were joining the Guard in the middle of a war, and are proud of what they’re doing. Rodriguez said their time in the service has already "Matured us a lot, I like it," while Garcia said "joining has changed us in a positive way."

The two women each hold the rank of Spc. 4, and say their parents are concerned, but supportive.

 Police Warn of Promotion Requests

Recently, it has been brought to the attention of the Kerman Police Department that a business using the title “KERMAN POLICE AND FIRE CRIMELINE MEMORIAL” is soliciting monies on behalf of the Kerman Police Department.

The Kerman Police Department is not endorsing or promoting this. If anyone has been contacted by any organization requesting donations on behalf of Kerman Police Department do not hesitate to cal at (559 846-6633 or the Fresno County Sheriffs Dispatch office at (559) 846-8800.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Young Film Makers Brave Freeze to Shoot in Kerman

Glaring lights flooded the scene, revealing Kerman police officers with guns drawn facing two scruffy characters on the steps of The Lord’s Church in the freezing late hours of Sunday, Jan. 14. A crowd of onlookers were gathered in the parking lot of this rural church on Whitesbridge Road, about a mile east of Kerman. Travelers on the highway occasionally honked their horns, producing consternation from the gathered crowd.

The concern was for the noise, which drowned out dialogue and instructions from the cast and crew who were shooting scenes for a film. Savannah Nord, daughter of Will and Julie Nord and a 2004 Kerman High School graduate is working with classmate Benji Newell as the producer for the film Newell co-wrote and is directing.

When searching for the right location described in the script, she thought of The Lord’s Church and contacted Pastor Keith Williams to discuss the possibility of filming the exterior scenes here. After a trip back to Kerman and lunch with Pastor Williams, permission was granted.

Ten students from Azusa Pacific University, plus Dr. Warren Koch and his teenage son, were with the film crew that spent two days in Kerman. Four actors from the Los Angeles area were involved in the scenes filmed here. The Kerman Police Department graciously supplied officers and vehicles.

The story line for the film includes two criminals running from the law, a fateful entry by the criminals into a small church where a hostage situation evolves but space here is too short to reveal the entire plot. Crew and cast had filmed interior scenes previously in southern California.

Written by Benji Newell and David Cooper, the film will be entered in various film festivals and will premier at the APU Film Night this Spring.

Azusa Pacific offers a major in Cinema Broadcast Arts and attracts students who have an interest in all areas of video and film production. Nord is a junior at APU and spent the summer of 2006 filming and producing weekly videos of campers at Mission Springs Camp near Santa Cruz. She is also assistant

directing one of the school-sponsored films, Flutter, and will be involved in the production of a script she wrote for the Film Society on campus.

Will and Julie Nord assisted as on-site coordinators which included a wide variety of responsibilities from securing the approval and cooperation of the Kerman Police Department to providing meals and snacks for the entire crew and cast, as well as housing. Maria’s Cafe donated ameal of enchiladas, beans and rice.

A local business, Camco, provided outdoor propane heaters made it possible to shoot scenes in the very cold temperatures up to and after midnight.

One of the professional actors was in the yet-to-be-released ‘Pirates III’ film as an extra. Because of their status the four actors were housed in a Fresno motel. While not receiving the usual compensation, all are in the process of building a resume and valued the experience of working in this endeavor.

Nord said the finished production should be ready in one or two months and promised to provide a screening for those involved in the process locally.

 News From Kerman Unified

Enrollment Up:  Kerman Unified continues to report increases in enrollment, particularly in grades two (up by 32 students) and 8 (up by 44).  As of Dec. 1, 2006 the district had 4,044 students.

Construction:  The district continues to aim for an April, 2007 completion date for the new multipurpose buildings going up on the Kerman High and Kerman Middle School campuses.  The district will probably go out for bids on new library media centers at Sun Empire and Kerman-Floyd Elementary  in late winter.  Officials hopt to go out to bid next year on the construction of new classrooms at Liberty (four), Sun Empire (five) and Kerman High (seven). 

New Elementary School: The board has approved a contract with Davis Moreno to review architectural plans for a new elementary school.  The next step is for the State Architect to approve.  Plans are for the new elementary school to open in August, 2009.  The school will be built with developer fees, state funds and some district money.  The school district and the City of Kerman are working together on a playground design. 

Academic Action Plan: District teachers and administrators will meet Jan. 19 and 22 to review the district's academent data and plan for the future.  Officials hope to keep the district from falling into the state and/or federal "Program Improvement" status.  

NEW COUNCIL READY FOR NEW YEAR - The new Kerman City Council posed for a portrait during the last meeting of 2006, in December. Shown above are (l to r) Newly elected Councilman Raj Dhaliwal, and Mayor Pro Tem Ken Moore; Mayor Trini Rodriguez, Counclmen Jack Sidhu and Richard Stockwell.



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