Madera County Historical Society
Twenty-five years ago, Dorothy Williams, left, coordinator, and Barbara Roach, mistress of ceremonies, for the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, prepared for the festivities, which took place Sunday, Jan. 17. The theme of the program was “Looking Back, Moving Forward.”
25 Years Ago
Week of Jan. 14, 1993
MADERA MAN ARRESTED IN TULSA FOR MOTHER’S MURDER — Police in Tulsa, Okla. Wednesday arrested the Madera man wanted for the alleged murder of Dolores Wright. Madera police had been seeking her son, Mark Wright, 34, since mid-December when investigators felt they had enough evidence to charge him with the crime. Dolores Wright was found hanging from the rafters by her son in her Autumn Road garage on July 20, 1990. It was first believed to be a suicide, but a tip given to then Detective Jerrel Hickobey reopened the case. District Attorney Ernie LiCalsi’s office did not give up on the investigation, and after piecing together enough evidence obtained a warrant for the arrest.
MONROE KIDS ENTER SECOND WEEK ON THE TRAIL — Students from James Monroe School have been on the trail for 1 ½ weeks as they follow the trail of 49’er William P. Huff from Nogales, Arizona to Madera. Flood conditions in Arizona forced these modern-day argonauts to layover a day in Tucson. While doing so, they had time to reflect. “I’m surprised at the number of miles the mules can pull in one day,” said Tony Franco. Todd Ricio said, “I don’t like cleaning up after the mules, but I don’t mind feeding them.” Matthew Sauceda said, “I have learned how to crack a bullwhip and how to make the mules pull by talking to them.”
MADERANS REMEMBER KING’S DREAM — About 250 celebrants gathered to sing, laugh, listen, and remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Millview Community Center Sunday. The fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration was highlighted by a community chorus made up of church choir members from throughout the area and a keynote address Rev. Michael Lyons, a native of Madera but now living in Fairfield. Music from Madera’s Second Baptist Church, Mt. Zion Baptist, St. Matthew’s of Merced, and the Galilee Baptist Church of Chowchilla along with remarks by Rev. Lyons brought the crowd to its feet.
MADERA RANCHOS SHUTTLE SYSTEM IS AXED — A fledgling transit program designed to shuttle Madera Ranchos residents to and from Madera has been axed by county transportation commissioners who say the concept is not financially sound. The commission killed the three-month-old system because of lackluster fares that did not warrant the $3,000 per month operational costs. A repainted, nine-seat city shuttle bus had been making daily runs from the Ranchos Library to places such as the Madera Community Hospital and the Senior Center. At $2.50 per round trip, the bus made only $10 over the three-month period.
PADILLA NAMED TO COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION — Health educator Tamra Padilla is the newest member of the Madera County Planning Commission and will be replacing commission veteran Chris Simonian. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Padilla’s appointment, which was offered by Chairwoman Gail Hanhart McIntyre Tuesday. Padilla has little experience in planning matters, a trait that McIntyre said she was looking for. “I was looking for someone who was interested in serving on the commission,” she said, “I kind of wanted to stay away from the development field. I wanted somebody who was fresh.”
50 Years Ago
Week of Jan. 14, 1968
MADERA MOTHER, CHILDREN STAGE LONELY PEACE MARCH — Yesterday’s Peace March in Washington D.C. had a supporter here in Madera. Between nap time and dinner time, Mrs. Pat Taiz participated in a lonely vigil in front of the Madera City Hall. Mrs. Taiz and her two children, Lisa, 5, and Christopher, 2, were the only Maderans to support the National Women’s March for Peace, which had its main gathering in the nation’s capital. Mrs. Taiz said one main reason she was protesting U.S. involvement in Vietnam was that the war “was immoral and the U.S. is illegally engaged in a Civil War.” Mrs. Taiz and both of her children carried signs against the war.
REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY TO BE FORMED HERE — Establishment of a Redevelopment Agency for the County of Madera entered final stages Tuesday with the appointment of a three-man executive board. Named to the administrative committee were County Council Roy Wolfe, Veteran Services Officer William Venturi, and Duane Furman, Superintendent of Madera Unified School District. Another step is to be the setting of a monthly time for the Board of Supervisors to meet as a redevelopment agency. Supervisors will keep control of redevelopment projects rather than create a separate agency.
BOARD APPLAUDS PLANS FOR 75TH CELEBRATION — County supervisors applauded plans for a year-long observance of Madera County’s 75th anniversary. A Diamond Jubilee Committee made up of Ralph Baraldi, Joe Cappelluti, and Les Hayes has been formed. Merchants will be asked to dress their windows in 1893 style and perhaps wear old time clothes during a special week in May, the month the county was actually created. Baraldi reported that another suggestion has been made to give away a diamond during the celebration. Celebrations are expected to reach a peak during Madera District Fair time when the committee is thinking of staging a pageant portraying the county’s history.
KEN SELLAI IS STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT — Ken Sellai was elected student body president in the final elections for spring semester officers held Friday at Madera High School. Dion Goldsworthy was elected vice president. Other winners in the student body race were Donn Imrie, commissioner of finance; Cindy Brunnoli, clerk; Bob Gaines, commissioner of publicity; Jeanette Taylor, club activities; Steve Loquaci, commissioner of awards, and Joan Del Bianco, commissioner of school spirit. David Melikian was elected president of the senior class; Cathy Leasan, vice president; Gail Hanhart, secretary; and Michelle Oberti, treasurer.
HARRY DIEBERT SR., MADERA TRUCKER DIES IN FIERY CRASH — A Madera truck driver, Harry Diebert, Sr, 49, was killed in a fiery crash in Tulare County Monday night. Visibility was limited to 10 feet when a huge tandem rig driven by Cecil Melton, 32, plowed into the rear of a car, which was driven by Robert Scott, 35. As Melton stepped from his truck to investigate the damage, Diebert’s truck smashed into Melton’s vehicle. Both Diebert and Melton were killed as their rigs erupted into flames. Diebert was a vineyard owner who had transported a variety of farm goods, including raisins. He is survived by his widow and a son, Harry Jr.