Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society
Twenty-five years ago, Monroe teacher Ed Gwartney and his 4th grade class gave the wagon they built in class a trial run on the playground. This year-long project was the beginning of the reknown James Monroe Children’s Museum.
25 Years Ago
Week of June 4, 1992
REPUBLICAN ‘TEAM’ OUSTS HOLMES — In a significant grass-roots movement, 13 of 15 candidates endorsed by the coalition of Christian organizations for positions on the County Republican Central Committee were elected. In a crushing defeat, the six-year chairman of the committee, Bill Holmes, came in next to last with just 7.8 percent of the vote. Holmes was quoted earlier as saying, “Fundamentalists” attempts to control California’s Republican Central Committees is unhealthy for the Party. Al Hahn, who was endorsed by the “Team,” says it stands for “Trust, Ethics, Accountability, and Morality.”
HIGH SCHOOL ACCREDITATION REPORT STIRS UP QUESTIONS — The WASC team that recently visited Madera High School accredited it for just two years. According to Vice-principal Mel Silva, “We were remiss in not showing the good things that go on at Madera High. It is kind of like going to a job interview and saying all the things you don’t do well. In simple English, we didn’t blow our own trumpet enough.” Some of the areas of concern for the accreditation committee included the opening of a new campus, the two-campus system in general, the safety of the campus, and the following of the state mandated curriculum.
NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE A MADERA UC CAMPUS — “No U.C. Madera” signs were evident on fence posts along the backside of the proposed Table Mountain site for the University of California San Joaquin campus Monday. When asked about the signs, Don Handly, the county’s UC site negotiator, said, “We told the UC Site Selection Task Force there were a small number of people who would like to see things stay as they are.” Regent Clair W. Burgener, a member of the task force, said, “It’s my best guess those kinds of signs will appear on all three sites in time.” The Task Force is in the process of viewing all three of the finalist sites for the UC campus.
MOSQUITO ABATEMENT PILOT KILLED IN FIERY CRASH — A well-liked pilot with a reputation for being a careful flier who took meticulous care of his aircraft died in a fiery crash just north of the San Joaquin River this morning. Killed was pilot Albert Farinelli, 48, while flying for the Madera County Mosquito Abatement District. He hit the bluff one-half mile north of the river bridge and west of Highway 41. The plane had taken off from a private Madera crop dusting company airport about 20 minutes before the crash. Farinelli had been testing a new nozzle delivery system and was spraying water from the plane. Another Mosquito Abatement District employee had been videotaping the flight.
JOHNNY QUIK CLERK SHOT AFTER PURSUING BEER THIEF — Madera Police are looking for the two men who pulled a shotgun robbery and shot at the Johnny Quik store on West Olive Avenue early Friday morning. The first suspect entered the store about 3 a.m. and went to the beer cooler, where he picked up a case of Bud Lite beer. When the clerk, Kulwant Malka, asked for identification, the suspect ran out the front door firing a handgun. Malka was struck in the chest, arm, and hand. When he looked up, he saw a second gunman holding a shotgun pointed at him. Both suspects escaped, and Malka was rushed to Madera Community Hospital for treatment.
50 Years Ago
Week of June 4, 1967
JOB OFFERS RESULT IN DELUGE OF RESPONSES — More than 1,100 persons applied for 11 jobs offered by the War on Poverty program here last week. Director Frank Rincon described some of the letters as showing “pathetic” need. The response should be an eye-opener to people who live here and think there are not many people in need of jobs, said Rincon. The Rev. Naaman Haynes, chairman of the personnel committee, described the responses as “disturbing.” When asked why Fresnans were named to key positions, Rincon replied that the appointees are experienced in poverty war programs. “We will give the jobs to sub-professionals later and get rid of the professionals from out of town.”
BROOKE MORDECAI QUITS SELECTIVE SERVICE JOB — Brooke F. Mordecai has resigned from Selective Service Board No. 64. He has held the position continuously since his appointment on August 16, 1950, by Gov. Earl Warren. Mordecai, who served with the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919, said he feels a younger man should fill his position. He and his wife, Caroline, live at their home south of Madera on Highway 145. Their three daughters, Barbara, Elizabeth (Brookie) and Susan are married and live on the East Coast with their families.
PURCHASE OF SITE FOR NEW HOSPITAL NEAR — A Madera Community Hospital site south of the city will be purchased July 1, members of the hospital committee were told Thursday. A group of seven or eight local residents will furnish the initial $30,000 for the site on Avenue 13 1/2, with the balance to be paid in January 1968. Sewer and water service for the site is expected to be no problem, according to Cesare Pierini, committee chairman, who described the hospital project outlook as “very, very good.” Madera has one doctor for every 3,000 persons in contrast to one for 600 in San Francisco. The new hospital should improve the statistics, it was noted.
MILITARY RITES HELD FOR MADERA SOLDIER — Church and military burial rites were to be performed this afternoon for 18-year-old Pfc. Wendell L. Carter, who was killed in Vietnam Tuesday. Carter, who had served in the army for 15 months, lost his life when a rain-soaked bunker collapsed on him as he stood guard duty. Funeral services were to be conducted at 1 p.m. in the First Southern Baptist Church and at the graveside in Arbor Vitae Cemetery. Carter was born in Texas but had lived in Madera since infancy and attended local schools before his enlistment. He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Louil Carter and a brother, Richard, of Madera and a sister, Mrs. Donna Vaughn, of Daly City.
RECOVERY OF TWO BODIES EXPECTED LATE TODAY — The bodies of two men who disappeared in March on a hike from Yosemite Valley to 4,500-foot Ahwiyah Point are expected to be returned to the valley late this evening. A team of rangers failed Sunday to recover the bodies from a snow-covered gorge, where they died two and one-half months ago. At 6 o’clock this morning, six more rangers left the valley floor with additional equipment to lift the victims up a steep incline. The victims, Larry Greene, 29, of Los Gatos and Edwin Hermanns, 24, of Pennsylvania, were sighted on a ledge Saturday by hikers.