Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society
Twenty-five years ago, Jason Napier was the first recipient of the Madera Exchange Club’s Boy of the Month for the 1991/1992 school year. Among other activities, Jason was an outstanding wrestler for Madera High School.
25 years ago in the week of Oct. 16, 1991
NAPIER HONORED BY MADERA EXCHANGE CLUB — Jason Napier has pinned down the first Boy of the Month award of the new school year presented by the Madera Exchange Club. The son of Tina and Wayne “Corky” Napier, he is a senior at Madera High School who has been active in Future Farmers of America, the Block M Club, and the varsity wrestling team all four years in high school. His wrestling record has been excellent, moving up each year. He has also been active in Boy Scouts for those years. His future goals are to continue his education and wrestling career by working toward a wrestling scholarship.
JURY SELECTED FOR PHILLIPS’ PENALTY RETRIAL — Jury selection for the retrial on the penalty phase for Richard “Speed” Phillips concluded Wednesday with a nine woman, three man jury being selected. Phillips was convicted in 1980 of the murder of Bruce Bartulis and the attempted murder of Ronald Rose, contractors who Phillips lured to Highway 99 and Avenue 24 offering to sell them roofing materials. He was sentenced to death in 1985, but he and attorney Kathy Hart will attempt to turn it into a life sentence. Phillips was awaiting the death penalty in San Quentin immediately following his sentence, but was transferred to the Madera County facility while attempts for a new trial, eventually refused, continued.
NEW FIRE CHIEF PLEASED WITH MADERA — As a person who sees his frontline people as his best resource, new Madera Fire Chief Gary Crabtree believes this town has plenty to choose from. Crabtree, who began his career in Glendale, Ariz., and rose to chief there, was hired to replace 29-year veteran Larry Sunia in mid-August. Crabtree was quoted as saying, “We won’t face big city problems. We won’t lose touch with the community. The citizens know how to work with the fire department, and I’ll strive to keep it that way.” Crabtree is impressed with Madera’s firefighters. “They are bright and very enthusiastic about contributing to the department,” he said.
MANFREDI NAMED TO TOP POST IN COUNTY — With numerous accolades and congratulations, Stell Manfredi took over as Madera County’s new administrative officer this morning. Calling the vote on Manfredi “a momentous occasion,” Supervisor Al Ginsburg made the motion to elevate him from his position as acting county administrative officer to the permanent post. “Stell has had the county of Madera at heart for practically his entire life, and we have profited from it,” Ginsburg said. Manfredi replaced Don Handly, who retired after serving the county for 25 years. Manfredi, 46, is a native of Madera County and is a graduate of St. Joachim’s School, Madera High School, and California State University, Fresno.
MCNALLY PARK OFF-LIMITS TO DRUG USERS — McNally Park, long a hotbed of drug activity in Madera, was officially given back to the people who created it on Friday. With a tug of their hands, Mayor Margaret Medellin and Lucile Hughes of the Concerned Black Citizens pulled the cover off a sign declaring the park a Drug Free Zone. “Without her (Hughes), we wouldn’t be here today,” said Medellin. Hughes said she helped turn what was just a patch of grass into a park for the area children many years ago. Since then she has seen the park taken over by drug abusers who have made it a stronghold for a long time. Now, finally, she said the park will return to those it was intended for — the children.
50 years ago in the week of Oct. 16, 1966
OFFICIALS WELCOME ‘CITY OF MADERA’ CREW — Three Navy pilots who have flown a warplane in Viet Nam bearing Madera’s name visited the city today for a tour and a luncheon with city officials. Cmdr. A.A. Schaufelberger of Detroit, Lt. F.H. Magee of Fairfield, Conn., and Lt. William Rezek of Decatur, Ill. arrived in Madera this morning from Lemoore Naval Air Station. Their warplane, the “City of Madera,” completed over 175 combat missions in air raids over North Viet Nam. The naval officers went sightseeing today in Madera with Philip Brown, city administrator, and were the city’s guests at a noon luncheon at Lucca’s Restaurant.
SCHOOL BUILDINGS FAIL TO MEET STATE STANDARDS — Structural reports showing that no pre-1933 building in the Madera Unified School District meets state requirements were filed Thursday night. The district took the reports under study and asked structural engineer R. Joe Wood to come back at the Nov. 3 meeting to talk over details. On a scale at which 5 would be the best, Berenda and Ripperdan classrooms, the brick cafeteria, kitchen, and arts building at Madera High School, and the high school library scored 0 on earthquake resistance. The worst building, which has already been abandoned, is the Eastin-Arcola auditorium.
HUNTERS FIND WRECKED PLANE, DOG GUARDING PILOT — A female dog named Samantha, the sole survivor of a plane crash in the High Sierra near North Fork more than two weeks ago, was on her way home today. Although near starvation, the part German shepherd, part wolfhound had stayed at the side of pilot Guido Anthony Nosenzo. When approached by the three Fresno hunters who found the wrecked plane, the dog stood guard and held them off until coaxed away with a piece of stale raisin bread. Details of the crash are not yet clear. The pilot apparently survived the impact but died after the crash.
IMPATIENT TRAVELER BREAKS GLASS AT BUS STATION — An Oakland man who apparently was anxious to return home smashed a plate glass window Thursday evening at the Greyhound Bus Station, entered the building and made out his own ticket. Mark Leon Wilkerson, 24, was booked for burglary at the County Jail. The suspect told police he wanted to return to Oakland but found the bus station closed shortly before 8 p.m. According to police, the suspect shattered a plate glass window with a board and entered the bus station where he made out tickets for Oakland and Fresno.
CROWDS INTERFERE WITH FIREFIGHTERS — A large crowd of onlookers got in the way of firefighters who were fighting a house fire at 907 E. Yosemite Avenue Thursday night. Deputy Fire Chief Joe McKee termed the house as “beyond repair.” According to Police Chief W. Horace Dowell, the fire attracted a large number of sightseers. He reported that Richard Silva, 18, was cited for running his car over a fire hose laid across Lyons Street. The youth ran his car over the hose several times, Dowell added. Police warned this morning that “following fire trucks is a law violation. We might have to issue more citations next time,” the police chief said.