Twenty-five years ago, Sheryl Berry, right, President of Thompson and Gill/Teco, chatted with Becky Brown of the Homemakers School about the upcoming demonstration at the Madera Fairgrounds. Teco was one of the Madera merchants featured in the homemakers/cooking presentation. (Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society)
25 Years Ago
Week of Sept. 11, 1991
VALLEY GRAIN SOLD TO ILLINOIS FIRM — One of Madera County’s industrial landmarks now has a new name and a new owner. Valley Grain Products, a part of the county since 1955 with plants in Texas and Kentucky as well as Los Angeles and Madera County, has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland. Valley Grain Products will now be known as the ADM Milling Co. Willard Pitman, the former owner, will continue as a consultant to assist with the continuation of the philosophy of quality and service to the customer. He will establish an office in Madera. In addition to serving as consultant, Pitman will continue to farm 120 acres of table grapes.
MUSD CANDIDATES HOLD FIRST DEBATE — No clear-cut favorite stood out Monday in the first candidates’ night for seats on the Madera Unified Board of Trustees as the candidates gave their reasons for running. Robert Garibay underscored the importance of the classified staff, and Mike Burns said class sizes have to be reduced. Betty Finley, Anna Wattenbarger and Alfred Boberg called for improved morale among the district’s employees. Patti Anderson pushed for more involvement of the business community in the schools, and Dr. Aftab Naz would like to see more innovation in teaching.
FRESHMAN INVASION CREATES CONGESTION AT MADERA HIGH — Overcrowding has been a problem at MHS for a long while, says Mel Silva, vice principal of Madera High School. “This school has had too many students for the size of this campus since the early ‘80s,” said Silva. He says this year the overcrowding should reach its peak with the new freshman class. More than 3,000 students started school Tuesday. “We don’t have the luxury to spread out,” said Silva, “We will try to use every room every period. That means when one teacher is on a break, another might have to sneak in (to use the room).” Silva said students are the real prisoners of overcrowding.
WORLD’S BIGGEST FERRIS WHEEL COMES TO MADERA FAIR — Those attending the Madera District Fair will get an extra treat this weekend as the largest portable ferris wheel in the world will tower over the grounds. The fair begins its five-day run today with gates opening at 4 p.m. Not only does the $500,000 structure stand 100 feet high, the equivalent of a 10 story building, but “its design allows for a ride that feels like being in a jacuzzi with no water,” says crew chief Andy Pavkatos. The ride’s 20 gondolas can hold six adults or eight children. The wheel arrived Tuesday on four semi-trailers, and it took 12 people 12 hours to assemble it.
AIR CONDITIONING MAY DELAY PLANS FOR YEAR-ROUND AT MILLVIEW — Millview Elementary will move toward becoming a year-round-school next year, but the air conditioning system must be in proper working order before it can begin operation. Madera Unified trustees approved a resolution of intent Tuesday for Millview to go year-round, but keeping students cool is a concern. “It really kind of scares me without having the air conditioning set up,” Board President Gus Gustaveson said. Superintendent Tom Riley guaranteed the school would have air conditioning. Enrollment at Millview is 761 now and is expected to jump to 1,000 when the school goes year-round.
50 Years Ago
Week of Sept. 11, 1966
COURT ASKED TO DISSOLVE VALLEY FEED AND FUEL — Mrs. Anne Betters Busick has filed suit against the Ralph Stoetzl family for dissolution of their partnership in the Valley Feed and Fuel Company. Mrs. Busick asks the Superior Court to dissolve the partnership, appoint a receiver, order sale of the property and division of the profits. Disputes between the parties make it impossible, she says, to continue the partnership. The complaint traces the history of the company to 1956 when she and her former late husband formed the partnership with Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Stoetzl. Total assets, the court action alleges, are more than $500,000.
THREE DEPUTIES NAMED IN FALSE ARREST SUIT — A $100,000 false arrest and imprisonment lawsuit has been filed against three sheriff’s deputies by Fred Salyer of Corcoran. Salyer claims Deputies Allan Conway, James Thomas, and Shirley Baxter arrested him June 29 at Bass Lake and imprisoned him for several hours. Salyer claims to have been the victim of physical violence in the presence of his wife and children. The plaintiff alleges the deputies should have taken him immediately to the Sierra Justice Court in Bass Lake, since they arrested him without a warrant. Instead, he claims the deputies confined him and drove to Madera, denying him the opportunity to give bail for several hours.
NEWLYWED THOMAS CHIDLAWS TO BE HONORED AT RECEPTION — Friends and relatives of Thomas Chidlaw and his bride, the former Mrs. Pearl Bennett are invited to attend a reception at the Masonic Temple on Sept. 24. The couple was married at the First Baptist Church in Chowchilla Saturday afternoon. Mrs. Chidlaw, a resident of Chowchilla since the early 1930s, is a surgical technician at the Chowchilla District Memorial Hospital. Chidlaw is a former Madera County Supervisor and is now a member of the Madera County Planning Commission. He was employed by the Danish Creamery Association for many years.
EVERYTHING READY FOR FIRST MUSD SCHOOL OPENING — All but two of the new Madera Unified School District’s approximately 350 teaching positions are filled, and everything else is ready for the start of school Monday, trustees were told Thursday night. Arrangements have been made with qualified persons to fill the two vacancies until teachers can be contracted permanently, Duane Furman, district superintendent, reported. The district will be in charge of instruction for nearly 8,000 students. Most schools in the new district can expect better pupil services than they had when they were independent, Furman told the board.
CAPTAIN IS PROMOTED TO FIRE CHIEF — The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to authorize the promotion of Capt. Joe McKee to the position of assistant fire chief. McKee, 47, became a full-time member of the city fire department in 1951 and was promoted to captain in 1956. The native Maderan began working for the city in 1946 in the public works department. Councilman Bruno Lattanzio introduced the motion for McKee’s promotion and said he had talked personally with the department personnel and assured the council that the move would be supported by the firemen.