2012: new year, new web site

The official free website of The Madera Tribune newspaper (www.maderatribune.com) has been created anew from scratch after a year of being the comatose hostage of our former web host.

For the moment, the amount of content offered on it is light, but it has many features that improve upon those offered by our former sites. This site (www.maderatribuneredline.com) will soon became little more than a metaphorical sign pointing the way to our new free “home” on the Internet. The Red Line and other content previously posted here will soon be appearing on our reborn main site.

We have also changed the company that provides our premium online subscription service. More details on that soon on our main site.

Be sure to surf on over to our new site for an early bird peek, and happy new year!

Letter: Madera ministers speak out on same-sex marriage

According to the Statement of Faith of the Madera Ministerial Association, “We believe the Bible to be inspired, infallible, ultimate, and authoritative Word of God. We believe that the truths taught in the Bible are relevant and authoritative for all generations.”

God made no provision for same-sex unions of any kind, and throughout His Word He clearly stated that any form of homosexuality is sin and an affront to His holy nature. In the creation account of Genesis, which we take as literal truth, God first created man, then woman, bringing the woman to the man for completion through their relationship that included sexual union. God did not bring a man to a man, or a woman to a woman for such fulfillment.

Sodom and Gomorrah, literal cities in Old Testament times, were destroyed because of the sin of homosexuality. The Apostle Paul states in the New Testament book of Romans, chapter 1, that when mankind defies God and His Word, that God then gives them over to shameful lusts including homosexuality as they come under His wrath. Paul also includes homosexual offenders under the category of the wicked who will not inherit the kingdom of God in 1 Corinthians 6:9.

It should be noted that God does not isolate homosexuality from other sins, for all sin separates us from the glory of God and calls for repentant faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for man’s sins and sinfulness, and rose from the grave to give us eternal life in His name.

It must be understood that Christ demonstrated His love toward all sinners when He died in our place on the Cross. Thus His loving desire is for homosexuals to repent of their sin just like anybody else and to place their total (faith) in the Lord Jesus for salvation from sin.

With these thoughts stated, it is incumbent upon every Christian to reach out to the homosexual with the love of Christ without condoning their sin just as they would reach out to any other person lost in sin, separated from God.

Our desire as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to call all people out of sin, and into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We care for the homosexual, but do not condone his or her practice, as it is totally contrary to God’s nature and His Word.

Any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication or adultery are perversions of God’s gift of sexual intimacy. Thus, although the Legislature, court, or people may “legalize” such marriages and unions, this does not legitimize them in the eyes of God, who is our Creator, Redeemer and absolute Lord.

Pastor Randy Brannon,
president of the Madera Ministerial Association

What are your views on same-sex marriage?

Same-sex marriage will be legal in Madera County — and California as a whole — beginning Tuesday, although an amendment to the state constitution may or may not invalidate the unions in November.

What do you think about this shift in policy? Are you in favor of same-sex marriage or against? Or could you care less?

Movie Preview: ‘Kung Fu Panda’ hits the spot

‘Kung Fu Panda’ By John Rieping
The Madera Tribune

When I arrived at the Saturday sneak preview in Fresno’s Imax theater, I did not expect to be especially impressed by “Kung Fu Panda.” I feared it would simply be an uninspired, one-trick pony. In fact, it was a movie I intended to bypass in the cinemas and watch belatedly on DVD.

My spot right in front of a looming monster of a screen due to the family-packed seating didn’t reassure me that I’d have a good experience either. If nothing else I wondered if my eyes could focus on so much area only a dozen feet ahead of me.

But once the film began the engaging imagery, humor and story captivated me so that all else was forgotten. When the film ended I stayed for the ending credits, and a final secret scene, with that pleasant glow inside that in younger years was usually accompanied by the emphatic declaration, “That was cool!”

For the complete movie review of “Kung Fu Panda,” read The Madera Tribune on Thursday. For a movie clip in Quicktime format, click here. For the same clip in a format suitable for an iPod or iPhone, click here.

Letter: Trib sports editor evokes praise

As a parent I have to comment on the article (sports editor) Paul Stanford wrote about our son, Alec, in The Madera Tribune. Wow! Our family is humbled, excited, touched beyond belief. Wow, is the superlative that seems to fit.

In reading this article, you expressed things that reflected a desire on your part to understand our son — you captured his experience going through this process, to a tee. I would say his best friends didn’t display this depth of understanding.

That’s why I’m compelled to write this to you. You repeatedly demonstrate your caring about our kids in this community to accurately represent them at these critical moments in their lives. If something is happening in a young person’s life that is newsworthy, then it must truly be a watershed moment in time for them. Think about it — an intimate and accurate portrayal in a newspaper is a way of forever stamping this event in the individual’s memory, and their family’s.

Your insight into Alec’s comments, and the time you took to get Coach Hirshcorn’s thoughts, and Coach Mac’s, were above and beyond the call, and will enable us to read this 20 years from now and immediately remember the entire experience as if it were yesterday. You’ve given our family a treasure for life.

My wife and I moved here 18 years ago to rear our kids in a great family environment. We were looking for some place that reminded us of where we grew up, without having to move back to where we grew up, if that makes sense. Reading the Tribune back then reinforced our move as a sound one. While the sports articles had their share of misspellings and questionable phraseology, there was never a doubt as to whether the kids of this community were loved. This told us we were in the right place.

Then this “new guy,” Paul Stanford, came on board, and I was a little nervous. I didn’t want to see our hometown paper lose its sense of intimacy. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened, and in fact the qualities that drew us here are abundantly evident every time I read something he has written. And where I used to amuse myself by circling outlandish errors in red (I am an educator after all), I don’t get to do that any more with your pieces. You’re just a d-mn good writer!

Thank you again Paul. Any paper in America would be blessed to have you as part of their team. I’m just so thankful that you’re on ours!

Randy Mehrten,
and echoed decisively by Tiffany, Alec, and Seth,

Letter: Article was needless, insensitive and unprofessional

On Saturday, January 26, 2008 the Madera Tribune felt the need to take it upon themselves to publish a revealing, detailed, overly graphic and very unnecessary article surrounding the details of Krista Pike’s death. When I finally picked up the front page the first thing I focused on was the beautiful picture of the 18-year-old victim; perfectly-styled hair, a bright smile on her face. The next thing I noticed, was the large print placed beside it, detailing how she was raped and beaten before finally dying.

The record in my mind ripped and I did about four double-takes. What was wrong with this picture?

As a 14-year-old aspiring forensic investigator, I was shocked at the details of the evidence gathered from the scene and at the disclosure of statements by witnesses and law enforcement. These things are not supposed or allowed to be leaked into the media. But then, I read something else– “The following, based on public documents, details their investigation.” But that just wasn’t right; if these police officers’ notes, the county coroner and investigators’ findings were released as public records by the court, surely a newspaper would not go so far as to publish a blow-by-blow of what happened. Surely they would not be so insensitive to the brutal slaying of a girl barely an adult. Surely they would respect the family and friends of the parties involved.

Sadly, this was not the case.

I read on, becoming more outraged by each sentence I came across which explained in graphic detail images that I’d rather not be made aware of. I stopped reading halfway through the article, feeling disgusted, outraged, and nauseous.

While Mr. John Rieping, may expect a “Job well done!”, a pat on the back and nothing but pure commendation for this “Look Ma– I made the front page!” article, I, as well as many other readers of the Tribune think otherwise. The details surrounding Krista Pike’s death, no matter how much speculation is made by the public, no matter how many murmurs at the water cooler there are about it, is strictly to remain between law enforcement officials and the parties involved in this matter. It’s not only cause for a change of venue, it’s also very unprofessional on Mr. Rieping and the editors’ part.

In most places, if a law enforcement officer opens their mouths and leaks information about a crime scene, motive, suspect, cause of death or anything about a crime before there is a conviction and the case has been tried, this person will lose their job. But these were public records released by the court with their notes and findings which the Tribune felt the need to plaster all over the front page. I think the Tribune’s staff and editors should know something very important: Just because it is public record doesn’t mean it needs to be released to the public.

With an article this detailed about the crime, this leaves room for benefit of the doubt, which could lead to the perpetrators going free. An article this detailed also leaves room to spawn a possible serial killer. Sixty percent of serial killers spawn from previous crimes their family members and/or friends committed initially. Statistics or not, we do not need another grisly murder like this. No one should have to be submitted to the horrible fate Krista Pike was, and no newspaper should ever post something this detailed.

So regardless of how proud the editors and Mr. Rieping may have felt about this article and their detailed coverage of just what exactly happened on January 14, 2008, this article was unnecessary, insensitive and very unprofessional on the part of the newspaper itself. It’s funny– I thought there was some sort of code of ethics journalists were supposed to follow to show sensitivity to these sorts of crimes. I also thought journalists and especially editors should know what they can and should not write about a pending investigation and trial.

Ann Marie Padilla,

Letter: Hillary is not her choice

From first-hand experience, I know what happens to your body and mind when you go through the change of life. It is a scary thought that the voters may put a menopausal woman in the White House with her finger so close to the nuclear button.

The national news media do not provide the voters with her past records of her hatred of the men and women in the military, her left-wing agendas and her antifamily voting records. Voters, you need to educate yourselves and not listen to what the media only want you to hear. They lie under the 1st Amendment because we do not make them accountable for distorting the truth.

I would like to see a woman in office, but Hillary Clinton is not that woman.

Pat D. Massetti,

Review: ‘Bella’ offers a fresh drama of a day

Images related to the film ‘Bella’

By John Rieping
The Madera Tribune

“You’re not running now,” called out the teenage boy seated on the sidewalk beside a buddy as I walked out of Madera Cinema 6 late Sunday. I had passed them on my way in less than two hours earlier.

“I was late before but the movie’s over now,” I said.

“Which movie did you see?,” he asked.

“Bella,” I said. “It was really good. It takes place all in New York over 24 hours and it really captures the New York vibe. It doesn’t feel like a Hollywood cookie cutter movie at all. It just … sort of unfolds around you. I don’t want to say more because that would spoil it.”

“Is it like a soap opera?,” he asked.

“Yeah, kind of. It’s a drama about two people and its romantic, but they don’t get … ‘romantic’ with each other during it,” I said. ” It would be a good movie to take a chick to though.” Inside I grimaced wondering if anyone even calls women “chicks” anymore, which isn’t a word I normally use either.

“Would it be a good movie to make out with a girl?,” he asked.

For an actual movie review of “Bella,” see The Madera Tribune on Wednesday (Dec. 12).

Changes coming to main Tribune site

The main Web site of The Madera Tribune ( www.maderatribune.com ) will be going through a significant change within a few weeks as we shift from our current free online publication to a subscription-only news site. This change is being made, in part, because we realized months ago that it wasn’t cost-effective to keep the main site updated daily for free. However, this Red Line site (www.maderatribuneredline.com) will continue as a free online public forum for the city and county of Madera.