Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society
Madera’s Downtown Merchants paid a fitting tribute to the parking meters on Yosemite Avenue, which were done away with 50 years ago by the City Council. The action made parking free for the entire downtown area.
25 Years Ago
Week of June 11, 1992
COUNTY ASSESSOR BLAMED FOR INEFFICIENCY — The Madera County Assessor’s Office has been rocked by a new report demonstrating that inefficiency problems riddling the department are more the result of bad management than a lack of staffing. The evaluation comes after a four-month investigation by an independent firm contracted by the Board of Supervisors. Ironically it was County Assessor Richard Gordon who initially pushed for the evaluation during his request for more personnel. Gordon reserved comment for now, saying he would address the report before supervisors on July 7.
‘MADERA WANTS TO BE STUPID’ — Opposing views on the possibility of a UC campus in Madera County continue to surface. Patti Anderson, a member of the Madera County UC Task Force, said Friday that she noticed alterations to the “No UC” signs that have sprouted up along the back side of the Table Mountain site. They have been altered to read, “Madera wants to be Stupid.” Sally Frazier, Task Force co-chair said, “Evidently we have more support out there than we knew.” Meanwhile, the $1,600 multi-colored sign marking the entrance to the Madera UC site has been uprooted by vandals. Anderson said, “It took three men to put it in, so somebody wanted it out badly.”
SUPERVISORS OK HIRING FREEZE — The Board of Supervisors reluctantly but unanimously rubber-stamped the county administrator’s request for an immediate albeit selective hiring freeze. The proposal was brought by Stell Manfredi, Madera County administrator, in the light of a $3 million shortfall brought on by plummeting sales taxes, interest earnings, and state realignment funds. The board’s action allows Manfredi to use selective judgement regarding open positions in each department. Manfredi said essential services such as the Sheriff’s and Fire Departments will not be substantially affected.
JUNETEENTH DAY CELEBRATION PLANNED — A parade followed by fun and games at McNally Park top the list of activities planned for Juneteenth Day on Saturday, June 20. Juneteenth Day celebrates the end of slavery after the Civil War. Though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law on Jan. 1, 1863, there were many slaves who were not aware of their freedom until six months later. The date of June 19 was designated as a day of celebration in commemoration of the event. The day’s activities will kick off at 10 a.m. with a parade starting at 6th and A Streets. Activities at McNally Park will begin at 11 a.m.
FARINELLIS CELEBRATE 50TH ANNIVERSARY — Albert and Dorothy Farinelli celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary April 11 by hosting a party at Lucca’s for their family. The date of the wedding was set by World War II with Dorothy telling family and friends, “If Albert gets a three-day pass this weekend, we will be getting married at St. Joachim’s Church at 2 p.m.” About 100 family and friends attended the ceremony, and a reception was hosted by the bride’s mother, the late Dora Yenne Lewis. The couple’s best man, Stelio Manfredi and matron of honor Eva Farinelli Manfredi were at the party to help the couple celebrate once again.
50 Years Ago
Week of June 11, 1967
BOARD SPLITS ON COOLERS FOR JAIL — County supervisors divided this morning on the question of whether or not to spend $800 on evaporative coolers for the county jail. The vote was 2-2, with Supervisor Jack Schmitz absent. In voting for the proposal, Supervisor Lonnie Cornwell called the jail cells “ovens.” Supervisor Harold Balmat commented, “It they don’t like it, they can stay out of jail.” Balmat continued by suggesting to Cornwell, “Just ask your taxpayers how many of them want to pay for coolers for jail prisoners.” Cornwell protested a proposed allocation of $40,000 for a new animal pound, “when we can’t even get $800 to provide coolers for human beings.” The issue was deferred to the next board meeting.
HOLDUP MEN FRIGHTENED AWAY FROM GAS STATION — Three young men missed out on a chance for some “easy money” early this morning when they were frightened away from a service station they were attempting to rob. The three fled on foot from the Union Oil station at Avenue 24 ½ and State Route 99 when an unidentified customer drove into the station at 1:10 a.m. for gasoline. Before the car drove up, attendant Rodney Park was being held at shot-gun point by one of the trio, all of whom wore masks. Park told police that the man with the gun had just demanded money from him when the customer drove up, frightening the would-be robbers.
PRODUCERS NAMES DUMONT NEW GIN MANAGER — Wayne DuMont of Madera has been named manager of the Producers Cotton Oil Company’s Madera gin. DuMont, a native of Three Rivers, graduated from Madera High School in 1957 and spent two years in the Army before joining the Madera Farmers’ Gin in 1963 as a manager trainee. He served as manager of the gin from 1965 until he joined Producers’ field department earlier this year. He and his wife, Lorna, have a daughter, Michelle, 4, and a son, Jeffrey, 1. Dumont is a member of the board of directors of the Madera 20-30 Club.
MADERA COUNTY CHP INCREASED — Capt. A.S. Cooper, commander of the California Highway Patrol office in Madera, held briefings today for four officers who began patrolling Madera County roads this week. The new officers are William Wensley, E.J. Gaertner, J.E. Tupen, and R.W. Baldwin. They arrived in Madera Wednesday, transfers from other areas of the State. Cooper said three of the men will replace officers who have transferred to other areas, and the fourth will be an addition to the staff. This brings the total complement to 27, including three sergeants and the captain, to patrol all the public roads in the county.
NEW LIBRARY IS PROPOSED — A 20,000-square-foot main county library to serve the community for the next 20 years is the subject of a report filed by county librarian James Petrella to the Board of Supervisors. Petrella suggested three sites for the new library, with the number one choice being the old courthouse, which would have to be gutted and completely reconstructed inside in order to meet library needs. Other possibilities are the area behind the present library and the land opposite City Hall on 4th Street. Petrella notes that the present library is 50 years old and has lost its adult services and reference areas. The shelves are crowded, aisles narrow, and seating inadequate, he says.