Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society
Madera National Guard Commanding Officer Allen St. Lucia got a hug from his 3-year-old twins, Brandon and Ashley, after arriving home from duty in Los Angeles. Fifty-eight Guard members were sent to help quell rioting in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.
25 Years Ago
Week of May 7, 1992
CITY POLICEMEN, DEPUTIES SENT TO L.A. — As Madera police officials readied themselves to go into the heart of Los Angeles to help quell the riots, Chief William Colston gave a final pep talk. “This is my guess as to what will happen. You are going to drive like hell to get down there and then sit on your butts. There is going to be a lot of disorganization, so stay together.” However, 10 Madera police officers, 14 sheriff’s deputies, and two Chowchilla police officers are at best leery about the situation. “My wife was none too thrilled,” said Det. Tom Frazer. “In fact, she told me to resign.” Madera Police Department watch commander Jerry Noblett said, “The chief didn’t think we would go, but I had a gut feeling we would.”
PAVLOVICH SURVIVES FIRING ATTEMPT — Madera City Manager Nick Pavlovich barely survived an attempt to oust him at Monday’s city council meeting. Following a closed-door session, the council voted 3-2 against the proposal by Councilwoman Margaret Medellin to fire Pavolvich. Medellin initiated the move saying she had made a point of fighting discrimination and dishonesty in all of her years on the council, but “I’ve never had to fight so hard as this year or two against a dictatorship.” Councilman John Wells immediately seconded her motion. Councilman Patrick O’Rourke defended the city manager and was joined by councilman Marc Scalzo and Mayor William Weber.
COUNCIL MAJORITY REAFFIRMS SUPPORT OF CITY MANAGER — The Madera City Council anchored its Saturday brainstorming session by reaffirming the solid ground the city manager is operating on. Councilmen Patrick O’Rourke, Marc Scalzo, and Mayor William Weber met with department heads from every corner of the city to discuss the city’s future and praised their efforts. Of the overall staff, O’Rourke said, “If a chain is as strong as its weakest link, I think this is the strongest chain we have had.” Scalzo added his total confidence in City Manager Nick Pavlovich, and Mayor Weber said, “I see good things coming.” Council members John Wells and Margaret Medellin, who recently asked for Pavlovich’s resignation, were absent.
BURSEY TOP TEACHER; DRIGGS TOP BUSINESSPERSON — An emotional Jennifer Bursey received the Glenn Reitz Distinguished Teacher Award last night. Bursey is a seventh grade who emphasizes her experience in agriculture in her teaching. Bill Driggs, a district trustee for 12 years before retiring last year, and manager of distribution services for Heublein Wines, was honored as Businessperson of the Year. Driggs said he is involved because he loved the community. Superintendent Tom Riley took the opportunity to thank the community for its support on behalf of education in Madera. “I don’t think there is another community that supports a Salute to Education better than Madera County people.
JACKSON NAMED PARAMEDIC OF THE YEAR — When you call 9-1-1, for an ambulance, you certainly do not expect a clown to show up, but with Pistoresi Ambulance you may get both in Paramedic Dan Jackson, a full-timer on the ambulance crew and a part-time rodeo clown. Jackson received the Paramedic of the Year Award from the Madera Kiwanis Club Thursday. Monte Pistoresi, owner of Pistoresi Ambulance, is proud of his employee. He was part of the ride-along program and became inspired to become a paramedic. After graduating from Madera High School in 1986, he began his medical training, and after a year, he became a paramedic. “He is now starting his fifth year and is doing a great job,” said Pistoresi.
50 Years Ago
Week of May 7, 1967
COUNTY WON’T FIX LAKE MADERA LEAK — “The Lake Madera leak is the state’s problem, not the county’s,” the Board of Supervisors said this morning. “The lake wasn’t built right in the first place,” said Supervisor Jack Schmitz. The State Fish and Game Department apparently expected a layer of clay to keep lake water from reaching the sand strata below it. One theory is that the dam construction contractor disturbed the clay layer by using some of the material to build the levee. Laying, compacting, and rolling a six-inch to one-foot clay layer over the sand strata will be the easiest and most economical way to seal the leaky area said County Engineer Norman Hanson.
NEW JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL PLAN UNVEILED — A $3.5 to $4 million construction package featuring a new junior high school was proposed for the Madera Unified School District Thursday night. District Superintendent Duane Furman said a new junior high would be the best solution to space needs. It would solve crowding at the high school by moving the ninth graders to the new facility. At the same time, it would reduce crowding at the rural elementary K-8 schools where classrooms are full and many buildings do not meet the requirements of the Field Act. The new school, which would probably be located just south of the City of Madera would cost $1.7 to $2 million to build. The rest of the money would be needed to address other facility needs.
PRESIDENT’S BALL WILL HONOR HANHART — Members of the Madera Gulf and Country Club and their guests will honor the new club president, James Hanhart, at the annual President’s Ball Saturday night. Dr. and Mrs. Jack Bick, Mr. and Mrs. James Lesan, and Mr. and Mrs. Emilio Pistoresi are co-chairmen of the event, which will feature a chateau briand dinner served from 8 to 10 p.m. There will be a cocktail hour at 7 p.m. and dancing to the music of Carl Bruno and his orchestra from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Mrs. Duane Furman is in charge of the decorations, which promise to be nothing short of magnificent, according to the committee.
VIOLENCE MARKS WEEKEND AT LAKE — Ten thousand persons flocked to Millerton Lake State Park Sunday for a sunny Sunday marred by a boat explosion, a drowning, and a gang fight. A motorboat carrying eight persons exploded and sank on the south side of the lake after taking on 20 to 30 gallons of fresh fuel. A 17-year-old Fresno resident was the lake’s first drowning victim of the year. While the search for the drowning victim was underway, park personnel and sheriff’s deputies were called hurriedly to quell a fight which involved an estimated 350 youths and 65 cars.
UNDERSTANDING OF INDIANS SOUGHT — Downtown merchants have been asked by directors of the Madera Employment Training Center to be warm and understanding to the 56 adults and 91 children currently participating in the training program at the center. “We are trying to teach the Indians to live in the 20th century,” said Jack Carson of the METC. The Indians are here because they want to be, said Carson. They have money to spend and can do as they wish in town. They will be coming to town during the evenings and on Saturdays and will be spending money in the stores.