Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society
Local pickets carried these signs 50 years ago in front of the Madera County Government Center. From left are John Contreras, Maclovio Lopez, and Mrs. Eugene Luna. The demonstration was brief but drew visits from two members of the Board of Supervisors.
25 Years Ago
Week of March 5, 1992
COMMUNITY FIGURE PETE PISTORESI DIES — Pete Pistoresi, 87, a Chowchilla community leader and businessman, died Tuesday, March 10, in a Chowchilla hospital. A native of France, Pistoresi came to Chowchilla at the age of 1. For 41 years, he was the owner of the Pistoresi Chevrolet dealership in Chowchilla. He was a member of the St. Columba Catholic Church, a charter and life member of the Chowchilla Rotary Club, Young Men’s Institute, the Madera County Fair Board, the Elks Lodge, and Knights of Columbus. For many years, he sponsored a car in the Jalopy Races. He is survived by two sons, Larry and Monte Pistoresi, two daughters, Irene McMullen and Violet McClaughry, 11 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
POLICE SEEK OWNER OF KILLER PIT BULL — Madera police and animal control authorities are looking for the owner of the pit bull that attacked a pig on the Madera High School Ag farm Saturday. Officers responding to a call found the dog attacking the throat of a pig. An officer fired two shots, hitting the dog, which backed away from the pig and charged the officer. The officer fired again causing the dog to turn and run, trying to escape the pen. Finally, a second officer shot and killed the dog. The pig suffered damage to its lips and neck and received injections to prevent infection. It appears to be recovering.
BEAKES NAMED MHS FOOTBALL COACH — Andy Beakes was approved as the new head football coach for Madera High School at the Madera Unified School District Board of Trustees’ meeting Tuesday night. Beakes, who has been with the program at Madera High for 10 years, has spent four seasons on the varsity team as an assistant. One of Beakes’ first priorities is to assemble a coaching staff. “First, I need to talk to people on the staff now, and there may be teaching positions open where we can hire one or two more coaches,” Beakes said. He plans to introduce the returning players to a new offense this spring and will have a team in the summer passing league.
MADERA HIGH SCHOOL SOUTH CAMPUS TAKES SHAPE; ON SCHEDULE — Madera Unified School District expects to accept the new Madera High School South Campus June 30. The new school’s buildings, which have been called fortresses, are anything but, if looked at from the interior of the campus — the side of the buildings the students will be looking at. The 1,200 students who will grace the campus next year will be able to utilize a multimedia library, academic building, multi-purpose room, and music room. The new school’s two-story academic building will have an elevator for the handicapped students.
PLANS FOR MADERA THEATER REMODELING ON TRACK — If everything goes as planned, downtown Madera may have three screens in the Madera Theater on Yosemite Avenue. The theater’s owner, Barry Hartsfield of American Properties, said the original plans from last summer got tangled up. He said, however, he has submitted new plans and expects remodeling to begin in about 60 days. The plans call for one large screen on the first floor, and two additional ones to be constructed in what was the balcony. “This’ll bring back the downtown area,” Hartsfield said. “The theater will help put some life back in the downtown area,” he said.
50 Years Ago
Week of March 5, 1967
GABBY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS — Edward (Gabby) Bradburn, who is scheduled to appear in the Sierra Justice Court in Oakhurst on March 15 for sentencing after being convicted of maintaining an area on Hwy 41 for the storage of junk materials, says he hasn’t had a full night’s rest since his ordeal with the law began last month. The 77-year-old Gabby has been a fixture in the mountain area and a source of interest to tourists since 1946. “If I am sent to jail, what will happen to my hens, my dog, and my burro?” Bradburn asked. “Is that American justice? — putting an old man of 77 in jail who is trying to make an honest living.
PICKETS RETURN TO COURTHOUSE — Pickets appeared at the Madera County Government Center Tuesday afternoon just after two Mexican-American businessmen were named to the Overall Economic Development Plan committee. Supervisors Harold Balmat and board chairman Herman Neufeld walked out to the sidewalk to watch the pickets. Balmat heckled the demonstrators, who looked uncomfortable parading back and forth. He offered to bring the whole board outside. Asked by a reporter if he thought the sign carriers knew that two men of Mexican descent had just been named to the OEDP committee, Neufeld remarked that he didn’t think it would make any difference. “They’d be here anyway,” he said.
MADERA JR. COLLEGE HINGES ON TAX OVERRIDE — Location of a third campus of the State College Junior College District is likely to be north of Fresno and across the San Joaquin River in Madera County. This was revealed Wednesday by Stuart White, superintendent of the district, in a meeting here to discuss problems involved in promoting a 28-cent tax overide. The proposal is to provide for expansion as well as construction of an entirely new school. White was one of several college officials who spoke to approximately 20 county representatives from all walks of life. Dino Petrucci, Madera, Dr. George Nishio, Chowchilla, and James McNalley, Oakhurst, have been assigned the task of building support for the tax proposal.
JEWELRY THIEF’S GREED LEADS TO DOWNFALL — A conscientious citizen, a false sense of security and a thirst for more loot led to the downfall of 22-year-old Peter Garcia. Police Chief Horace W. Dowell said Garcia threw a brick through the display window of Leighton’s Jewelry at 1 o’clock this morning and reached in to fill his pockets with a number of watches and rings. An unidentified citizen heard the breaking glass and called the police. In the meantime, Garcia, who had walked around the corner, decided to return to the window for more loot. Officer Albert Hahn spotted Garcia about two blocks from the store and arrested him. The suspect had 10 rings and 10 watches on his person.
EIGHT NEW CHARGES FILED AGAINST RAPP — Eight more forgery and grand theft counts involving $16,519 were to be filed today against Carsen Rapp, Madera lawyer and former assistant county district attorney. The new charges bring the total of theft and forgery complaints against Rapp to approximately $21,800. Largest of the new grand theft charges accuses Rapp of stealing a $10,000 check, which should have gone to A.L. (Sparky) Arnold. The other complainants are Madera attorney Clifford Plumley and rancher W.O. Johnson. The charges involve grand theft by device or trickery along the lines of embezzlement.