25 Years Ago
Week of Nov. 6, 1991
NEWCOMERS SWEEP MUSD RACE — Madera Unified School District will have three first-time trustees following Tuesday’s election, which saw the defeat of a 16-year veteran of the board. Alfred “Buz” Boberg, Betty Finley, and Robert Garibay were elected from a field of candidates which included four-term trustee T.R. “Gus” Gustaveson, a fifth place finisher. Superintendent Tom Riley said he doesn’t see a problem with having all new members. The results will leave B.J. Robinson as the lone trustee with more than one term on the MUSD board. Incumbent Bill Driggs chose not to seek reelection, and Benny Barsotti withdrew from the race after filing closed.
JURY VOTES DEATH PENALTY FOR PHILLIPS — Richard “Speed” Phillips is facing a death sentence for the second time following a jury’s verdict Wednesday afternoon in his retrial. Phillips got his first sentence overturned in 1985. Phillips stared straight ahead as the verdict of death was read in the Madera County Courthouse. He was placed in handcuffs and led away by two deputies. District Attorney David Minier said, “I believe it was the proper verdict, a repeat of the one 11 years ago.” Phillips was found guilty of the 1977 murder of Bruce Bartulis and sentenced to death. That sentence was overturned in 1985, which led to the present penalty phase trial.
THE ‘MAGIC’ IS GONE; MADERA PLAYERS SHOCKED — Magic Johnson’s confession of having contracted the HIV virus sent shock waves through members of the Madera High School basketball team who have grown to idolize the superstar. Coach Brian Tessler said the players were silent as they watched the press conference during which Johnson announced his retirement from the sport. Johnson vowed to be an ardent spokesman for the disease, but Tessler doubts his admission will have a long-term effect on teenagers. Tessler added that he thought the announcement would have a tremendous impact on the NBA.
SUPERVISORS WILL APPOINT REPLACEMENT FOR MINIER — For the first time in 15 years the reins of the district attorney’s office will be passed to a successor as a result of the election of Madera County District Attorney David Minier to become Chowchilla Justice Court Judge. The person selected to be the new district attorney will be appointed by the Board of Supervisors. In the interim, the office will be overseen by Ernest LiCalsi, the current assistant district attorney. LiCalsi has handled similar duties whenever Minier has been out of town or unavailable. The position pays $64,247 and requires supervision of 10 attorneys.
VIRDEN RESIGNS AS MHS FOOTBALL COACH — Bob Virden, Madera High’s head football coach the past four years, has announced his resignation from the position effective immediately. Virden, who compiled an overall 20-18-2 record during his stint with Madera, said the lack of time needed to run the program properly was the main reason for his decision. Virden has been strapped with the task of teaching five math classes each day before heading to football practice. Virden said a new coach must have the time to run the program, something he didn’t have enough of this season. “We had a lot of new coaches that I needed to work with, but I was so swamped that by the time practice was over, I would have to get home and start working again,” Virden said.
50 Years Ago
Week of Nov. 6, 1966
MADERA FATHER, 2 SONS DIE IN CRASH — An unexplained single-car accident in Fresno County this morning snuffed out the lives of a Madera father, two of his sons, and a nephew from Chowchilla. Dead are Louis Beban and sons Ricky, 16, and Douglas, 14, and Jerry Beban, 13, son of Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Beban of Chowchilla. The Beban vehicle, which was northbound on Highway 99, swung from the roadway and struck a concrete bridge near Central Avenue. The quartet was returning to Madera County from Los Angeles, where the boys had participated in the Great Western Livestock Show. They were carrying checks representing proceeds from the sale of cattle at the show.
WAYNE FULTON SELECTED CATTLEMAN OF THE YEAR — Wayne Fulton, a representative to the California Cattlemen’s Association, was selected Madera County Cattleman of the year Saturday at the fourth annual banquet of the local cattlemen’s association branch. An estimated 125 members attended the feast at Lucca’s Restaurant where Fulton was awarded a $25 hat of his choice. Fulton received the recognition because of his service to the cattle industry. Dan Collin of Sacramento spoke at the meeting about tax problems facing the cattlemen. Collin is director of research for the California Farm Bureau Federation.
SUPPORT MUSHROOMING FOR BERGON APPOINTMENT — Support for the appointment by Governor-Elect Ronald Reagan of Frank Bergon as state director of agriculture continues to mushroom with an endorsement this morning by the San Joaquin Supervisors’ Association meeting in Bakersfield. Other endorsements have come from the Farm Bureaus of Madera and Merced Counties, the Federal Land Bank, Madera County Republican Central Committee, County Board of Supervisors, and the Farmers for Reagan Committee. John Garabedian of Fresno is the chairman of the local committee gathering support for Bergon.
TEACHER COUNCIL OBJECTIVES ARE REJECTED BY BOARD — The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was repeated Thursday night as one by one the objectives presented by the negotiating council of the Madera Unified Teachers Association were shot down by the MUSD Board of Education. Under a cloud of hostility, Bill Gamboa, leader of the teachers council went through a reading of the MUTA objectives. At the top of the list was a demand that teachers salaries should be 65 percent of the total operating budget. Gamboa told the board the district needs to adopt the salary position to “attract good teachers and hold them.” The board rejected the proposal.
NEW MANAGER, NEW PLANS COMING TO WARDS STORE — Montgomery Ward & Co. of Madera added a new store manager, and in doing so added plans for new service techniques. Gene Small, who has more than two years service in the Ward organization, moved here from Carson City, Nevada. Among the ideas he brought with him is the complete remodeling of the store located at 115 South D Street. Small also plans to revamp the current customer contacts techniques. Small indicated that the complete plans will remain private until definite changes are established. Small said if remodeling does not take place, the store will be moved to a different location.