25 years ago in the week of Nov. 27, 1991
MCDOUGALD NAMED WATERSHED ADVISOR FOR S.J. VALLEY — The San Joaquin Valley now has a watershed advisor — Neil McDougald — as part of the University of California Cooperative Extension’s renewed commitment to the Valley’s water supply. McDougald has been the livestock farm advisor in Madera County since 1979. McDougald will now spend the majority of his time studying ways rangeland and forest management in the Sierra Nevada and its foothills affect the amount and quality of water runoff. McDougald said, “Water need for producing food and fiber, recreation, fisheries, and population growth force us to be more aware of our watershed from the Sierra Nevada.”
COYOTE BASKETBALL TEAM SET FOR OPENER — Madera basketball coach Brian Tessler who inherited a decimated program last season is counting heavily on junior Marcus Jones, 6-4 point guard. “He is extremely smart on the basketball floor and sees the entire court,” said Tessler. “He sees things develop and reacts. He would definitely start on any team in the North Yosemite League,” Tessler said of Jones. Another key player will be sophomore Emilio Avila, a 6-3 forward. The other projected starters are 6-1 Bill Stretch, 6-1 forward Felimon Guillen, and 6-3 forward Edmond Jefferies. All three started on the varsity last season.
WAL-MART JANITOR CHARGED IN JEWELRY THEFT — A Wal-Mart janitor was arrested for allegedly stealing jewelry while working the night shift over the weekend. Madera Police Captain Charles Dickison said Robert Martinez, 43, was seen on security surveillance going through freight to be put on shelves in the jewelry department. Store security continued watching him allegedly remove watches and various other jewelry before confronting him. Dickison said security officers found Martinez with $800 worth of stock in his possession and placed him under arrest. Martinez admitted taking a total of $1,551 worth of merchandise. He was booked into jail on charges of grand theft and burglary.
EARLY BIRD SHOPPERS FLOCK TO MADERA STORES — The early bird sales the day after Thanksgiving have almost become a tradition with some people. For others the economy is forcing them to look for the best bargains, and people believed they were getting them this morning at Kmart and Wal-Mart’s early bird sales. To help ease the first rush at Kmart, the doors opened at 6:45 a.m. Elizabeth Garzone, Madera’s Kmart manager, said she was optimistic about this year’s Christmas season, based upon what has been purchased the last couple of weeks. A Wal-Mart spokesperson said the early bird sale “went well.” With six less shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Madera merchants expect to be busier.
WEBER LOOKING FORWARD TO CHALLENGE AS MAYOR — Saying he is looking forward to the challenge, Bill Weber was elevated to Mayor of Madera during Monday’s meeting at City Hall. Weber, who replaces Margaret Medellin was elected to the council in 1988. Weber assumed his new position unceremoniously and offered only a short speech. “I’m looking forward to the challenges. Note I said challenges, not fears,” he said. “The most dangerous issue facing the council is development in the northwest area of the city,” Weber said. “I’m very concerned we might cripple the airport by allowing housing to get too close,” said Weber.
50 years ago in the week of Nov. 27, 1966
RAISIN GROWERS PLAN TO EXPAND PICKETS — Raisin growers, dissatisfied with the price of raisins, announced today they will expand picketing of the Bonner Packing Co. to include two other Valley packing plants. Tony Nielson, chairman of the raisin growers protesting the current raisin price, said placard-carrying growers appeared at the Lion Packing Co. in Fresno Tuesday. Today the farmers are scheduled to set up pickets at the West Coast Growers in Selma. The disgruntled farmers have been picketing the Bonner plant for eight days. The demonstrations began after the company offered the growers $230 per ton. The farmers want a $250 per ton minimum.
MADERA YOUTH DIES FROM TRAFFIC ACCIDENT INJURIES — A 19-year-old Madera youth was killed and eight passengers were injured Friday in a single car accident on Avenue 12, three miles west of Highway 41. Joseph Wayne Harris, driver of the car, died at Madera County Hospital. According to Highway Patrol reports, Harris’s vehicle slid off the road during heavy rain and rolled over several times in a muddy field throwing the driver and the eight passengers out. Other Maderans injured in the accident were Cecil Jones, Camille Jones, Andrew Thomas, Margie Crittenden, Addie House, Pearl Willis, James Brown, and Marilyn Turner.
POLICE TO SEEK COMPLAINT FOR DEATH OF BABY — The police department is expected today to seek a complaint against a Madera woman and her male acquaintance who are being held for investigation of murder of the woman’s 10-month-old daughter. Mrs. Joyce Piagentini, 20, and Kenneth Hall were booked at the county jail after the youngster, Shelly Rene, was pronounced dead on arrival at the County Hospital Friday. According to the coroner’s report the baby’s body bore scars of possible mistreatment. An autopsy showed death was caused by multiple skull fractures and contusions.
WILL GILL NAMED LEADER OF CATTLEMEN — Riding Big Bertha, the performing elephant, Will Gill Jr. of Madera was officially proclaimed the president of the California Cattlemen’s Association Saturday in Reno, Nevada. Gill and the president of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, who rode Tina, another performing elephant, celebrated their presidencies aboard the animals prior to taking office. Gill had been first vice president of the organization for two years. The Madera cattleman was still in Nevada due to rain and snow and was unavailable for comment. The organization Gill heads is one of the official representatives for cattlemen across the state.
MID UNDER FIRE OVER ‘STANDBY CHARGE’ — While city residents are constantly being drenched with unwanted water, several farmers in Madera County are protesting unwanted water in the form of tax from the Madera Irrigation District. What really galls the farmers who have their own means of water distribution is the fact they must pay $3 per irrigable acre in a standby charge whether they really want, need, or use the canal or ditch water from the MID distribution system. According to the MID board, a farmer is not forced to use the ditch water, but he must pay the standby charge or tax regardless.