Madera County Historical Society
Mrs. Raul Salazar squeezed behind a child’s desk 50 years ago and listened in on Mrs. LoRaye Gould’s class at John Adams School. Madera Unified was holding open house in most of its schools at the time.
25 Years Ago
Week of Oct. 29, 1992
ARMENTROUT, PEREZ WIN — Voters in the 1992 election made their choices very clear. Sam Armentrout, chief of maintenance for the Madera Irrigation District and reserve police officer, will join Herman Perez, director of the Private Industry Council and city planning commissioner, as the newest members of the Madera City Council. Armentrout led all vote-getters with 3,815. Perez was second with 3,017; William “Terry” Parkhurst, with 2,596 was third; Issa “Zak” Zacharia garnered a disappointing 2,265 after what long-time political observers called the best run campaign in city history; while perennial candidate Rudy Alvidrez drew 573 votes. Both winning candidates characterized the results as a “mandate.”
MADERA MOTEL RENTERS STRIKE — Paying $300 to $400 rent a month for rooms that have collapsing ceilings and holes in bathroom floors have led residents of the Madera Motel to call a rent strike. The strikers live in the 14 units easily seen from Gateway Drive where it intersects with Ninth Street. The property is owned by Bill Hensley and managed by Walter Pfaff. Hensley said he has wanted to tear the building down because it is not feasible to fix the electrical and plumbing problems. “Although the rent seems high,” Hensley said, “it does include utility bills.” Hensley has offered to sell the property to the city on time payments with nothing down.
MADERANS ASKED TO BOIL WATER — Bacteria found in Madera’s water system has led officials to issue warnings not to drink the water without first boiling it. Public Works Director David Chumley said if ingested, the water could cause nausea, diarrhea, cramps and jaundice. Officials are unsure of what caused the contamination. “For all I know, a bird may have fallen in one of the wells,” Chumley said. “This thing is really bizarre.” Although Chumley said chlorine should eliminate the symptoms, he strongly suggests not taking water internally at all. Washing hands and taking showers should not be a problem, he added.
CROSSING GUARD CITES TRAFFIC DANGER AT ALPHA SCHOOL — Wayne Spence is hoping it won’t take an injured child to make officials sit up and take notice of what he sees as a dangerous traffic situation at Alpha Elementary School. For three days, Spence has videotaped traffic in front of the school on Stadium Road as evidence that there is a problem. He says he sees reckless driving there on a daily basis. Spence estimates the average speed in front of the school at 35 mph. “And it isn’t mostly high school students; it’s the parents,” Spence says. County Road Commissioner Richard Wyatt said, “We will continue to monitor the problem to see if something pops up in our mind.”
FJELDSTED PICKED TO HEAD MADERA COUNTY LIBRARY — Fresno County Business Services Librarian Steve Fjeldsted has been hired by the Board of Supervisors to fill the Madera County Librarian’s position beginning Jan. 13. He will receive $36,644 a year. The new department head will be starting his position about $70,000 short of what the library had in funding during the 1991-1992 fiscal year. “I’m well aware of the financial challenges facing the library and the library community,” Fjeldsted said. Fjeldsted still has vacation time coming from Fresno County and asked supervisors not to appoint him until mid-January.
50 Years Ago
Week of Oct. 29, 1967
SCHOOL BOND PROP0SAL DEFEATED — The Madera Unified School District bond issue went down to defeat without even a simple majority in favor of it. The first unofficial totals are 1,603 no votes and 1,428 yes, including the absentee ballots. Approximately 53 percent of the voters rejected the $2.5 million bond proposal. Less than one-third of those registered for the election went to the polls. Eight of the 12 election precincts turned down the measure. According to Superintendent Duane Furman, shifts of students between classes and schools will be considered to alleviate overcrowding. At the top of the list is the possible shift of students from Ripperdan to La Vina.
PEARSON SAYS REAGAN FIRED HOMOSEXUALS — During a press conference at the Fresno Air Terminal before he gave a public lecture in Madera, columnist Drew Pearson charged that Gov. Ronald Reagan fired two members of his staff due to “homosexual tendencies.” The Governor denied the allegation, and Pearson challenged him to take a lie detector test. Pearson accused the Governor of having a “credibility gap” and said Reagan is now investigating the possibility of more “homosexuals” in and close to state government in California.
‘NEW LIBRARY WILL BE NICER THAN FRESNO’S’ — Plans for a new county library were reviewed Monday by the County Planning Commission. In approving the G and 5th Streets site north of the present library building, commissioners looked over plans for a 20,000-square-foot building. It will include a mezzanine for staff rooms, offices, and a local history department. Architect Charles James made the prediction that the Madera library will be “nicer” than Fresno’s three-floored library. James said plans include the closing of Fifth Street, which will be used for parking. He said additional parking will be available in the lot across G Street, which serves the Madera County Government Center.
CITY COUNCIL RAPS WAR PROTESTING POLITICIANS — Madera city councilmen Monday night moved into the Vietnam War controversy. They approved Councilman John Wells’ resolution rapping politicians who criticize the war “solely for political purposes.” The resolution noted that some political leaders in the United States were engaged in criticizing the Johnson administration for the purpose of gaining political strength and power. The resolution also stated that the alleged criticism is not fully substantiated by facts. Wells’ resolution stated, “We urge all elected officials to forgo their petty criticism and work with their constituents to build a united and stronger nation.”
SCHOOL OFFICIALS EXPLAIN WHY BOND FAILED — Madera Unified School District Trustees asked themselves Tuesday night why the bond election failed and came up with at least six possibilities: objections to unused property owned by the school district; disbelief of reports that pre-1933 buildings are in dangerous condition; a continuing resistance to unification; too little citizen participation in the campaign; and rebellion against taxes. Dr. T.R. Gustaveson also laid part of the blame for the loss to a feeling among the public that the school district was trying to scare them by showing photos of school buildings in poor condition.