Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society
Madison campus vice principal Bill Dabbs (left) discussed racial tensions at Madera High School with Madera police officers Benny Munoz (center) and Fabian Benabente. Outside agitators brought trouble to the high school 25 years ago.
25 Years Ago
Week of Jan. 29, 1992
JENSEN WON’T THROW HAT INTO 25TH ASSEMBLY RACE — Madera County Supervisor Rick Jensen will not seek the Republican nomination to represent the new 25th Assembly District. Jensen, who has represented District 1 on the Board of Supervisors for the last five years, has been in public service for 19 years. He said, “If I were to run for higher office at this time, it would not allow me to fulfill commitments I have made to the people of my district and the county.” Jensen said, “I just don’t have the desire to put myself through a campaign every two years with a six-year limit and then have to run for another office if I wanted to remain in the Legislature.”
CLOSED CAMPUSES FOR MADERA UNIFIED — Campuses will be closed at Madera High and the new South Campus next year, Madera Unified trustees decided this week. Skepticism, however, remains with Trustee B.J. Robinson concerned about operating the schools as a closed campus without building a fence around it. Superintendent Tom Riley said the administration decided against the fence because it would resemble a prison. Principal Beau Carter said having a closed campus and no fence makes supervision more difficult. He added that the location of the South Campus makes it easier to supervise.
TRAGIC U-TURN KILLS 7-YEAR-OLD BOY — A child riding a bicycle was killed this morning when a double trailer rig struck him at the corner of Sonora and Clark streets. The boy has been identified as Kevin Uriel Perez. Witnesses told police the youth was apparently chasing a truck on his bike about 9 a.m. when he was struck by another truck making a U-turn. The driver, 57-year-old Lloyd Thorne of Merced, told officers he did not see the child. Officers on the scene found no evidence that Thorne had committed a traffic violation. The child died instantly at the scene.
RACIAL TENSIONS HIGH AT MADERA HIGH — A 17-year-old Madera High School student and an 18-year-old Fresnan were arrested at Madera High School, capping several days of racial unrest at MHS. Officer Fabian Benabente, assigned to the school system, said there have been the normal number of fights this year, but this is the first time it has gotten out of hand. Benabente said the school investigation is continuing and more suspensions and expulsions could come from it. He said he wanted to put a stop to rumors that only one race was being targeted. In the last two days, there have been six arrests. Three are white and three are Hispanic, Benabente said. “Most of the troublemakers are from other schools.”
COSTA’S BILL STUNS PARKWAY TASK FORCE — Assemblyman Jim Costa introduced legislation Monday to establish a locally based state conservancy to acquire land, and operate and manage the proposed San Joaquin River Parkway. The legislation jumps the gun on a Feb. 12 meeting of the parkway task force advisory committee, where management of the proposed parkway is the first agenda item. The move is an apparent end run around the task force. The action was termed “slime politics” by Supervisor Rick Jensen, a member of the parkway task force, who also said, “Mr. Costa has shown some incredible arrogance in this process.”
50 Years Ago
Week of Jan. 29, 1967
ROCK AND ROLL PE CLASSES OFFERED AT JEFFERSON — Jefferson Junior High School physical education teacher Mrs. Judith Foley has come up with a real pupil-pleaser. While other students do push-ups to “1,2,3,” Mrs. Foley’s teenage girls do a combination of exercises, ballet, cheerleading, and pep girl routines to rock’n roll music. Selections such as “Ring, Dang, Doo,” “Devil with the Blue Dress On,” and “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” blare out of a loudspeaker while about 130 girls a day leap, clap, prance, and side-hop around their side of the athletic field. Requests for excuses from P.E. are down markedly.
JUG OF WINE IS PASSPORT TO JAIL — Two Maderans were booked into Madera County Jail early this morning when one, a minor, was discovered with a half gallon of wine and the other interfered with the arresting officers. Police said Jerry Castro, 19, was seen trying to hide the wine under the front of an automobile when city policemen pulled into the parking lot of Skeeko’s shortly before 2 a.m. When the arrest was made, Jessie Navaro, 23, started cursing and yelling at the officers, according to the police report. Another passenger in the auto, Johnny Lopez, 19, was not booked.
SPANISH-NAME STUDENTS MAKE UP 38 PERCENT OF MUSD ENROLLMENT — Children and youths with Spanish surnames make up 38 percent of the Madera Unified School District’s total enrollment, an ethnic survey showed recently. Negro students accounted for 8 percent of the total enrollment and other non-white racial groups make up 2 percent. The largest concentrations of students with Spanish backgrounds are in Ripperdan, Washington, La Vina, Eastin Arcola, and Monroe. The lowest percentages are in Adams, Berenda, Howard, and Dixieland. Mexican-Americans make up only 29 percent of the student body at Madera High School.
LOCAL TEACHERS WON’T MARCH AS A GROUP — The Madera Federation of Teachers voted Wednesday not to join the protest march to Sacramento on Feb. 11. President Leroy Zimmerman said the local group didn’t want to march because it is on Saturday. The Madera organization is a member of the California Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of AFL-CIO, sponsors of the march, which is being held to protest Gov. Reagan’s cutbacks in education. Zimmerman said individual members are free to join the protest march, but he will not be one of them, citing that fact that “teachers only have two days off during the week.”
ADOBE RANCH OWNER DEAD AT 87 — Mrs. Charles S. Moses, 87-year-old owner of the Madera Adobe Ranch and resident of Madera County for several years died this morning in Palo Alto. Mrs. Moses, formerly Miss Mary Saunders taught in Madera public schools and at one time served as president of Madera’s branch of the Crippled Children’ Society. According to her 10 surviving nieces and nephews, she was especially interested in all projects pertaining to child welfare. Mrs. Moses also served on the Madera County Fair Board. She was born in a small mining town in Nevada.