Madera County Historical Society
Jose Sanchez, left, and Maria Cardenas, right, played the role of Joseph and Mary 25 years ago in an updated version of the Posada to demonstrate the need for low income housing in Madera.
25 Years Ago, 1992
CITY RAISES BUILDING FEE STRUCTURE — The City of Madera will begin charging higher rates to those wanting permits, copies, services, etc. The City Council agreed unanimously to the hike, which drew opposition from local builders. Building Industry Association spokesperson Bill Sparks said there was no justification for the raises to developers. He asked for a delay in the decision until his people had a chance to look at it. Sparks said there was no serious attempt by the city to sit down and talk about it. Irritated by what he called “delay tactics” by the BIA, Councilmember Marc Scalzo said he wanted to vote on it then and not wait. After the vote, Councilmember Patrick O’Rourke told Sparks he still wanted input from the BIA, but Sparks left the room without responding.
CITY RESIDENTS FACE GARGAGE FEE HIKE –—The rise in the cost of picking up trash in Madera may lead to lowering the level of trash in the landfill in the future, but city residents will pay more now — 50 cents a month and more later. Madera County is required by the state to reduce what it puts into its landfill by 25 percent in 1995 and 50 percent by 2000. Madera County Supervisors purchased a clay liner and have passed along the cost to the city, leading councilmembers to pass the blame for the raise back to the supervisors.Assistant City Manager Ron Manfredi said he was hoping to establish long term rates and then balance those rates between commercial and residential pickups.
MUSD WILL HIKE DEVELOPER FEES JULY 1 — The $1 increase in the cost of developer fees Madera Unified School District was set to charge local developers won’t be implemented as soon as first thought. As of now, July 1 is the deadline for beginning the new fees. The increase has been controversial, with many developers feeling the fees will prevent them from making a profit. Superintendent Tom Riley said, “Our developers shouldn’t be penalized if districts around us are going to wait to implement the fees at a later date.” Trustee Robert Garibay says he has a problem with the fees. “The new homeowner is expected not only to help pay to retire bonds, but they are also forced to pay for school impacts because of the developer fees.”
MODERN POSADA URGES BETTER HOUSING — Showing some things never change, about 60 Maderans re-enacted Monday evening the ghost of poor housing past to better demonstrate the need for better housing today. Using the traditional Posada, the search by Mary and Joseph to find lodging in Bethlehem, as a cornerstone the crowd marched with candles and signs to City Hall at the beginning of the Madera City Council meeting. The march featured children who portrayed Mary and Joseph dressed in full regalia. Madera City and County officials as well as local landlords were portrayed as turning them away. The Posada was sponsored by the Madera Coalition for Low-Income Housing.
VALLEY REELS UNDER STRAIN OF GROWING CRIME — Gail Garson settled in the San Joaquin Valley a decade ago to escape the crime and bustle of San Francisco. Now she worries that her new home is becoming too much like her old one. “Every day you see signs of things catching up,” says Garson who owns a bookstore in this growing city of 30,000 residents. Like many people living in the 200-mile-long Valley, Garson, 52, interprets the graffiti, wailing sirens, and car alarms as signs that the rural environment is changing permanently. “Gangs, shoplifting, homeless people on the streets — you used to be able to leave a bike unlocked in front of my store. Now it would be gone in an hour.”
50 Years Ago, 1967
BASS LAKE FROZEN FOR ONLY 5TH TIME IN HISTORY — The entire surface of Bass Lake was reported frozen today for only the fifth time in the history of the man-made lake, which was built in 1902. Although the ice isn’t thick enough yet, local residents are anticipating a 7-mile-long skating rink. The lake was last used for ice skating in 1948. The low this morning at Bass Lake registered 6 degrees. Snow was still deep on the ground in Oakhurst where the mercury dipped to 17 during the night. Main roads are clear in the mountains, but icy conditions can be expected in the mornings. Local residents are parking along the roads because their driveways are clogged with snow.
NOBLE’S MEAT PACKING FIRM TO CLOSE — Noble’s Independent Meat Company, a multi-million dollar local industry employing 94 persons will close Friday. Manager Eugene Egan announced that the closure was necessitated by runaway costs and increasingly tough competition from out-of-state meat packing companies. Employees were told Friday of the closure decision made by owner Cornelius Noble. Noble’s represented an $887,000 annual payroll to the community. “The decision was the hardest Noble has ever had to make,” said Egan. Noble’s has been in business for 61 years having been founded in 1906 by the present owner’s father who delivered meat to his customers in a horse and buggy.
NATIONWIDE ADVERTISING FOR HIGH SCHOOL COACH — Nationwide advertising as well as local recruiting is underway for a new varsity football coach for Madera High School. Six applications are in now and recruiting will continue until the maximum number of applicants who can be expected to file have applied. A deadline will be announced later. Superintendent Duane Furman commented that the staff knows “this is one of the biggest football towns that ever was” and added that he is pleased by the community’s interest. Petitions are circulating for the appointment of former coach Leroy Zimmerman, but Furman said that he is not yet among the applicants. Zimmerman was unavailable for comment today.
YOUTH HURT IN WRESTLING FALL IN MADERA DIES — A Modesto high school wrestler died Christmas Day of injuries sustained Dec. 16 in a wrestling match tournament in Madera. The youth, Patrick Francis McDermott, 16, received a fractured spine in a fall to the mat during the match. The fall had caused partial paralysis. Cause of death was attributed to complications from the broken spine. He was a sophomore at Grace Davis High in Modesto where he was considered an outstanding athlete. He starred on this year’s sophomore football squad. Funeral services will be held Thursday.
DENSE FOG CAUSES 18-VEHICLE COLLISION — One man was killed and 20 persons injured in an 18 car and truck pile-up in heavy fog on southbound Highway 99 two miles north of Madera. The chain-reaction tragedy occurred around 8 a.m. The California Highway Patrol said that 13 of the vehicles involved were demolished. The Patrol said the dead man would have to be identified through fingerprints. It has not yet been ascertained in which vehicle the victim was riding. Officers said the dead man was thrown from his vehicle and carried no identification. Local residents involved included County Sanitarian Doug Pratt who was driving a county car. He escaped injury.