Madera County Historical Society
Superintendent Tom Riley, left, joined Jo and John Osborne 25 years ago as they took a look at the Madera Method book they helped create, “The Mordecai Papers: Correspondence from the Fresno Plains,” The project was completed through Madera Adult School.
25 Years Ago
Week of Dec. 3, 1992
OLDEST KNOWN RECORDS OF MADERA PUBLISHED — Writing history books through the Madera Method is no longer just for children. One local history project, “The Mordecai Papers: Correspondence from the Fresno Plains,” has been completed by adults through Madera Adult School. Material for the book came from 39 letters written by Madera County pioneer George Washington Mordecai. The correspondence was discovered in Raleigh, North Carolina, by a group of sixth grade students from Monroe Elementary in 1988. Mordecai was part of the Alabama Colony, Madera County’s first pioneer settlement and later became its first member of the California State Assembly.
MADERAN IN SOMALIAN EFFORT — At least one Madera family has a personal interest in the United States involvement in the mercy mission in Somalia. James and Alline Bruner have learned that their son, Navy Seaman Apprentice Hahns V. Bruner is aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Tripoli. The USS Tripoli is the lead ship in a three-ship strike force off the East African Coast. The ship’s mission is to embark, deploy, and land elements of a Marine helicopter assault landing force. Bruner drives one of the amphibious vehicles and is expected to be one of the seamen taking the 1800 Marines ashore. He is a 1989 graduate of Madera High School.
MHS RACIAL TENSIONS AT ‘BOILING POINT’ — Racial problems are at the boiling point at Madera High School, if remarks made at the school’s Youth Forum Wednesday are any indication. Student Maribel Samaniego said some on campus give her static about bringing a Mexican flag to school, something she believes she has a right to do. Student Mike Adams responded, “They’re in America, not Mexico; they’re supposed to support our flag, not theirs.” Other comments included opinions that Principal Beau Carter and the Madera police ignore problems and hope they will go away; there aren’t enough Black role models at the school; and students fear each other and find safety in their own race.”
SCHOOL BOARD APPROVES METAL DETECTORS AT MHS — MUSD trustees Tuesday night approved safety measures at Madera High which include three hand-held metal detectors for assistance in periodic search efforts. The decision drew immediate fire from Trustee B.J. Robinson. “That’s depressing to me,” Robinson said. “Carter’s (Principal Beau Carter) making a presentation like he’s running a prison over there.” He told Carter to “get rid of repeat offenders” instead of asking for metal detectors. MHS teacher Karen Rogers told the board many of the teachers are disturbed because the school is being portrayed as a violent place. Trustee Buz Boberg said it would be hard to convince one parent he knows that Madera High is safe, after her child was chased all the way home from school one day.
DA CLEARS OFFICERS IN SKEEKO’S SHOOTOUT — District Attorney Ernie LiCalsi has concluded the deadly force used by police against robbery suspect Hollis Greg Bethal during the shootout at Skeeko’s Bar on Oct. 11 was justified. Bethal was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police. According to a summary report issued by Chief William Colston, 19 shots from six different officers were fired at Bethal. He was struck by two .45 caliber rounds and 11 pellets from various shotgun blasts. Reserve police officer John Markle was hit by several pellets from a shotgun fired by Richard Ray Richey, Bethal’s accomplice in the robbery attempt.
50 Years Ago
Week of Dec. 3, 1967
QUESTIONS ON CITY PROBLEMS? LET US KNOW — Who says you can’t fight City Hall? The Daily Tribune today initiates a new series on the editorial page entitled, “Ask City Hall.” The aim is to allow John Q. Citizen of Madera to ask tough, direct questions about city government. Questions may be addressed to the Tribune and will be answered by either the city manager or a department chief. If you have questions about zoning, policing, cost of running government, or any other inquiry about our municipality, write them down and send them along. By this way, we hope to help enlighten all of us.
FORMER ASST. DA RAPP ORDERED TO VACAVILLE — Former Asst. Dist. Atty. Carson Rapp is to surrender himself this Friday at 5 p.m. for a 90-day commitment to Vacaville State Hospital. The commitment was ordered to determine whether or not Rapp, as his defense counsel claims, is the victim of a compulsion to gamble. The attorney has been charged with more than $21,000 in thefts, forgery and an insufficient funds check. The offences were alleged to have taken place while he was in private practice after he left the district attorney’s office. William A. Smith of Fresno, Rapp’s attorney, told the court that Rapp has a compulsion to gamble and is remorseful to the point of suicide.
NASTIEST THIEF IN THE WORLD VISITS MADERA — The nastiest thief in the world was in Madera Nov. 17. He visited Bruno’s Shop on E. Yosemite Avenue, and when he left, he took with him a small, active, bright, black dog. The pet was the dearest companion of the physically handicapped storekeeper and his 80-year-old mother. The dog customarily entertained both while they rested behind the counter, and they are both inconsolable in their grief over their loss. Pleas broadcast by radio and advertised in the Tribune, along with reward offers have brought no response. Anyone who notices a dog like this answering to the name of Jackie should contact Bruno Baratta.
NO ABORTIONS ALLOWED IN MADERA HOSPITALS — No therapeutic abortions authorized under Medi-Cal will be performed at the Madera County Hospital, Barj Rustigian, administrator, reported Tuesday. Rustigian told the Board of Supervisors that the abortions are allowed only in hospitals accredited by the National Joint Committee on Hospital Accreditation, and the county is not on that list. He also said the hospital staff is so small that the same doctors who would serve on the required three-man board to determine when such abortions are necessary would be the physicians performing them.
AIR FORCE JET CRASHES NEAR CHOWCHILLA — The crash of an F106 Delta Dart jet Thursday six miles west of Chowchilla is under investigation by a board of officers from Castle Air Force Base. Air Force pilot Maj. Marvin Keene parachuted to safety and escaped injury after he noticed a malfunction in the plane at 2,000 feet. An eyewitness said he heard the canopy blow off and saw the pilot eject. He said the plane then made a lazy circle and crashed into a pasture on the Bliss Ranch. The aircraft “almost disintegrated on impact.” It skidded about the length of three football fields. The last crash of a Castle based aircraft was in 1964 when a B52 crashed in a field near Tranquility.