Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society
Because of safety concerns, these two evergreen trees, which framed the Courthouse Museum, were given a death sentence 25 years ago by the board of supervisors. Their removal gave many their first full, unobstructed view of the museum in years.
25 Years Ago
Week of April 23, 1992
SUPERVISORS OK UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LAND OPTION — Madera County now has a site to remain in the running for the University of California’s San Joaquin Valley campus. This morning, the Board of Supervisors, on a 4-1 vote with Chairman Al Ginsburg voting against, approved an option agreement with Larry Freels on his 1,742 acre ranch in the Table Mountain area. “He has agreed to give the UC an option on his property,” said County Counsel Jeff Kuhn. The other two sites still in the running for the campus site are Academy site in Fresno County and the Lake Yosemite site in Merced County. The search for a UC campus site in the San Joaquin Valley started in February 1990.
BARSOTTI DRAFTED BY MIAMI DOLPHINS — The long awaited phone call finally came for Mark Barsotti. After waiting through the first 10 rounds of the NFL draft, the former Madera and Fresno State quarterback got a call about noon on Monday from the Miami Dolphins. While the conversation was taking place, ESPN announced that the Dolphins had drafted Barsotti. “The guy from the Dolphins then said, ‘Congratulations, you are now a Dolphin,’” Barsotti said. Barsotti said that he will head to Miami next week to attend the first mini-camp May 8-10. That will be his first chance to meet Don Shula and the rest of the Dolphin staff.
LOCAL EDUCATORS DISCUSS AMERICA’S GOALS FOR 2000 — Concerned members of the community met last night to discuss the upcoming educational needs Madera will face with the advent of the 21st century. Several goals emerged from the meeting, including a call for children to start school ready to learn, a high school graduation rate of at least 90 percent, competency in challenging subject matter, especially in grades four, eight, and 12, and young minds set on responsible citizenship and productive employment. Sally Frazier, Madera County superintendent of schools, led the group discussion.
MEILKE’S PINCH-HIT BLAST IGNITES 12-RUN RALLY IN 7TH FOR MADERA — Madera was just three outs from joining a very select group, Wednesday. But it was a group that the Coyotes didn’t want to join. Going into the top of the seventh, Madera was trailing 11-7 against Edison and was on the verge of becoming one of the very few teams to lose to the Tigers. However, the Coyotes erupted for 12 runs in the seventh, highlighted by Mike Meilke’s pinch-hit grand slam to pull out a 19-11 victory in North Yosemite League baseball action. “I was a little worried going into the seventh, but the kids didn’t seem worried; they felt they could come back, and they did,” said Madera coach Dan Ascanio.
150 FOOT BUNGEE JUMP WAS QUICK — Madera Tribune reporter Robert Phipps did what he never thought he would do — take a bungee jump from 150 feet in an iron basket. High above the Fresno County Fairgrounds Thursday he launched himself backwards and fell 15 stories in about four seconds. The public lined up to follow Phipps, but they had to fork over $70 for the thrill. “As I stepped toward the edge of the platform, I was suddenly filled with renewed sympathy for Wile E. Coyote. I realized that if my weight proved too much to resist the pull of gravity, all the spectators would see would be a tiny displacement of dirt.” Phipps made the jump safely but not before bouncing four or five times.
50 Years Ago
Week of April 23, 1967
SUPERVISORS REJECT PLEA FOR MORE MINORITIES — A new plea for greater minority representation on the Economic Development Plan Committee was rejected Tuesday. Four of the five county supervisors refused to be “intimidated” into naming any more Negro or Mexican-American committeemen. Herman Neufeld, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, reported that “a very small group” is threatening to protest federal projects on the grounds of lack of representation. “I’m for leaving it as is,” he said. Supervisor Jack Schmitz declared, “I don’t intend to be intimidated. If funds are turned down, I think we can point to the people who are making a big point out of a small one as the cause.”
BURGLARS HIT DOWNTOWN JEWELRY STORE — Burglars struck for the second time in several months at Gim’s Jewelry Store on Yosemite Avenue and escaped with an estimated $2,500 worth of merchandise. According to police reports, thieves entered the building by prying open a rear door. Display cases were broken into as the intruders gathered assorted watches, rings, and bracelets. Among items taken were wedding bands, friendship rings, and three gold bracelets. The theft was discovered by Gim Woo, owner of the business. He observed an open door as he passed by and looked in the front of the store on Friday evening.
REVOLVER-WIELDING GUNMAN ROBS PIRA’S STORE — Dick Pira of Pira’s Hardware handed over $83 this morning to a soft-spoken man who pointed a revolver at him with the warning, “I’m not kidding.” After taking the money, the robber ordered Pira to go into the basement and stay there for five minutes. If he came up, the robber said he would kill Pira’s mother who was standing by the cash register. She followed the robber out the front door and watched him slowly walk down the sidewalk and then cut between the houses. The man was about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 190 pounds.
AWOL MARINES ARRESTED HERE AFTER ACCIDENT — A minor accident on the corner of North D Street and Yosemite Avenue led to the arrest of two U.S. Marines who were absent without leave from their base in San Diego. The soldiers were in a stolen car, which hit a parked car as it rounded the corner. Marshall Young of Fresno, the owner of the parked car, had just arrived on the scene when he saw the two men get out of their vehicle and run down the street. Officers were able to arrest Richard Anderson and Phillip Carr hiding in the restroom of a service station across from the police station. They were booked in the Madera Jail on San Diego warrants.
PIRA’S STORE ROBBER CAUGHT — Robert Lee Rushing, 36, of Fresno will be in the Madera Judicial District Court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on an armed robbery charge. Rushing was arraigned Monday and said he wanted to “hurry up and get it over with” so he could get back to prison. Judge Alec Brown obliged by setting the date for the preliminary hearing two days from the arraignment. Rushing was picked up in Fresno on a traffic violation and was recognized from the description of an all-points bulletin put out by Madera police after Pira’s Hardware was robbed of $83. The Fresno man had a pistol in his car when he was arrested and listed his occupation as “robber.”