Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society
Third grader Alberto Flores gets a helping hand 25 years ago from Pistoresi Ambulance Service paramedic Tim Williams after a school bus he rode was involved in an accident. Alberto and his fellow students escaped serious injury.
FOLEY HANGS UP HIS BADGE AFTER 27 YEARS — Jack Foley is retiring from the Madera Police Department after 27 years of service. Foley came to California in 1959 and in the early 1960s applied for a position with the Madera PD but was turned down by then assistant City Administrator Nick Pavlovich who did not feel “he was right for the job.” Police Chief Horace Dowell urged him to apply again, and that time he was accepted. At his retirement, his fellow officers described him in the same light as you would “a Texas Ranger — a soft spoken but tough-as-nails cowboy born and bred, a warm-hearted honorable man protecting the citizens of the city.” Capt. Charles Dickison summed it up poetically, “He is the last of the real western heroes.”
QUICK ACTION BY MUSD BUS DRIVER AVOIDS TRAGEDY — Twenty-two Eastin-Arcola students found themselves flying out of their seats in the Madera Unified School bus they were riding in. The bus was northbound on Road 29 1/2 at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when bus driver Toni Tomlinson was forced to hit the brakes to avoid hitting a southbound truck that turned left in front of her to go eastbound on Avenue 9. All 22 students were taken to Madera Community Hospital. Eleven were found to have sustained minor injuries “Had not Tomlinson taken the correct action when the truck turned in front of the bus, we could have had a severe traffic accident,” said Ronn Dominici, California Highway Patrol special duty officer.
TWO ARRESTED AFTER HIDING IN DUMPSTER — Madera police arrived in time to foil a street robbery early Wednesday morning. An officer on patrol spotted Jaime Regollar Reyes lying face down on the sidewalk on South C Street with two men standing over him. The two men started running and the officer called for backup to seal off the area. Officers slowly closed the dragnet and found the two fugitives hiding in a dumpster. They had robbed their victim of $40. Reyes identified the two men who were then pulled out of the dumpster and taken to the Department of Corrections on robbery charges. Arrested were John Cortez, 23, and Fernando Betancourt. 33.
MADERAN GETS NATIONAL EXPOSURE IN TV PERFORMANCE — Madera’s Jaime Jimenez will appear on “Buscando Estrellas,” a Spanish version of “Star Search” this weekend. The program will air at 7 p.m. locally Sunday, Oct. 13, on channel 21. Since the age of 12, Jimenez has dreamed of becoming an entertainer, either in movies or music. Jimenez auditioned for “Buscando Estrellas” in Fresno and won the competition. From there he went to Hollywood for the filming of the nationally syndicated show, which will air this weekend. “My dream is coming closer to becoming a reality,” he said.
GUNNER LOOKS TO LURE MEMORIAL HIGH TO MADERA COUNTY — Richard Gunner, as owner of miles of riverfront acreage, would like to see San Joaquin Memorial High School in Madera County. Just as his offer of 35 acres of free land motivated Valley Children’s Hospital to leave Fresno, Gunner has offered the same deal to Memorial. Although he was turned down last year, there is renewed interest in Gunner’s offer of land, and Memorial principal, Brother Albert, said he anticipates, “our Brother Provincial will be looking at whether or not to consider this in the next two or three weeks.” Gunner has refused to comment further on the declined offer.
50 Years Ago in the week of Oct. 9, 1966
PARENTS OF FIRE VICTIM FILE $75,000 LAWSUIT — Calvin Croom and his daughter are named defendants in a $75,000 “wrongful death” lawsuit filed by the parents of fire victim George Ted Wilson. The Wilsons claim that their son died of burns suffered in a back yard shed fire on the Crooms’ property “as a result of negligence, carelessness, recklessness, and unlawfulness.” One of the Crooms’ daughters is accused of locking the door of the shed after the Wilson boy and her brother, Steven Croom entered it. According to the complaint, a gasoline fire broke out while the boys were in the shed. When the boys tried to get out, the sister would not unlock the door, the complaint charges. Lester J. Gendron is the attorney for the Wilsons.
JURY WANTS AIR BASE FOR POLICE ACADEMY — Use of the abandoned Madera Air Force Base for a police academy is proposed in a resolution by the 1966 Grand Jury. The resolution, which will go to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, urges state authorities to consider the base for a training center and asks local agencies to support the request. The resolution notes that the airbase was developed “at great expenditure,” offers facilities for housing, administration and communication, and is near major transportation lines. The state needs new and expanding police academies, according to the resolution.
DINO PETRUCCI TO RECEIVE TOP FFA AWARD — Dino Petrucci, head of Madera High School vocational education department, will leave Tuesday for Kansas City, Mo., to receive a national Future Farmers of America award. The honorary American Farmer degree will be conferred on Petrucci. He will also be honored as the top teacher/FFA advisor in the state of California at the national FFA convention. The award will bring with it gifts for the school from companies like Ford, General Motors, and Allis-Chambers. Larry Hirahara, Madera chapter president and David Loquaci will be among the 70 California delegates to the convention.
LAST DITCH EFFORT FAILS, CAR SMASHED — A late-model car was smashed to bits on the Southern Pacific tracks late Tuesday night following a last-ditch effort by the driver to save his doomed Rambler. Buford Blaine, 57, told the Highway Patrol he tried to start the car’s engine after it stalled on the tracks at the Avenue 24 1/2 crossing. He then tried to push it across the tracks, but the fast approaching train barreled into Blaine’s car and sent it 500 feet in the air. The car landed in “bits and pieces, upside down, and in a ditch,” according to the police report. Blaine was uninjured, and damage to the diesel was confined to the stairwell.
CEREMONY OF DEAD WILL BE AT BORDEN — The ceremony of the dead will be performed Sunday by Fresno and San Francisco Chinese Association members for 12 persons still buried in the Borden Cemetery and many others who have been removed. The colorful Chinese rites are to be part of a Borden Cemetery historical site dedication program set of 2 p.m. at the site three miles south of Madera. Seven marked graves and five unmarked burial places have been found during work to improve the cemetery, one of the last traces of the early-day community of Borden. Bodies of other Chinese residents buried there have been removed for re-interment in their homeland.