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History in the Week of Aug. 5

Madera County Historical Society
One hundred years ago, Madera County suspended the payment of bounties on coyote scalps and rabbit skins, and therefore all Eugenio Feretti got after skinning this rabbit was the meat.


50 Years Ago


Week of Aug. 5, 1968


MADERA HAS POWER TO CLOSE SCHOOLS FOR GRAPES — The Madera Unified School District Thursday received word from the Superior Court that it had the power to close schools during the grape harvest. Judge Thomas Coakley of Mariposa, who has been presiding in the case in which California Rural Legal Assistance represented a plaintiff against the MUSD, issued that statement in a letter to attorneys. He said the district “had the authority to close the schools from Sept. 18 through Sept. 22 to permit the teachers, students, parents and others to work in the grape harvest.” The briefs quote the law as stating that the school board may declare a holiday “when good reason exists. Spoilage of perishable crops is ‘good reason’” they state.


HANDLY NEW COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR — Donald M. Handly, Madera County personnel director, was named County Administrative Officer Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors following several weeks of deliberations and interviews. He replaces the late Ralph Spotts. Handly, a native of San Diego, served as Madera County Deputy Administrative Officer from 1964-1967. He left Madera to accept a position as administrative assistant for Contra Costa County’s administrative office, returning in Feb. 1968 to be personnel director. Handly received a degree in business administration from San Diego State College in 1961. A resident of Chowchilla, 35-year-old Handly is married and has three children. He saw active duty in Korea with the Navy.


DRIVER IN MORRIS CASE IS BOUND OVER — Clifford Salmon, 61, has been held to answer on charges of felony manslaughter and felony drunk driving resulting from a July 2 traffic accident that orphaned 10 Madera children. Salmon is accused of driving the wrong way on the freeway near here and colliding head on with a car containing Mr. and Mrs. Robert G. Morris, parents of the 10 children who range in age from 3 to 17. Both were killed in the crash. His preliminary hearing began July 19, but was delayed because of a legal technicality over administration of a blood test. The fate of the orphans, who attracted international sympathy when they pleaded “don’t let them separate us,” will be decided at a series of court hearings in Madera starting Aug. 13. A trust fund for the children has grown to more than $43,000 with donations coming from all over the world.


M.I.D. SIGNS PACT FOR BUILDING OF HIDDEN DAM — Madera Irrigation District and Bureau of Reclamation officials Monday completed signing of the Hidden Dam contract authorizing construction of the dam and reservoir on the Fresno River. R. J. Pafford, Jr., regional director of the Bureau of Reclamation, signed for the federal government, with President Paul Melikian signing for the M.I.D. Board members also signed for the district in the public ceremonies witnessed by several members of the citizens advisory committee that spearheaded the successful election campaign. Beginning of construction on the project is about a year to two years away. Pafford told the gathering that he would estimate a four- to five-year period will be necessary for completion of the main part of the project. Recreational facilities will be developed around the reservoir after it is available for water storage.


MECHANICAL GENIUS IS STIFLED — A motorcyclist’s mechanical genius has suffered a major setback after the Highway Patrol was issued a court order by Madera County Superior Court to have his cycle destroyed. The machine, which had been tailor-made from parts allegedly stolen off other motorcycles, went to the junk heap Wednesday. California Highway Patrolman Jim Meder explained that on May 24, he stopped to help a cyclist whose motorcycle had conked out on Highway 99. The cyclist, he reported, had no drivers’ license and the registration card he had did not belong to him. When the motorcycle, registered as a 1950 Harley-Davidson, was checked out, the serial numbers were found to have been altered and after lengthy investigations, experts found the parts were older than 1958. On July 29, the motorcycle was taken to an auto wrecking yard and crushed.

100 Years Ago


Week of Aug. 5, 1918


OFFICER AIKEN PUT TO THE TEST CHASING SPEED DEMON — Traffic Officer Jack Aiken had another close call Sunday while endeavoring to overhaul one of the speediest birds that has passed through Madera County in some time and who was chased from one side of the county to the other before he was finally nabbed. Officer Aiken had a series of mishaps that finally ended in a spill in which the speed cop received a fractured bone in his right hand and a number of bruises and considers himself lucky that he got out of it without anything more serious. While holding down the beat near Chowchllla early Sunday morning, believing there would be some speeding at that time, a machine passed him like a shot. Mounting his motorcycle he followed the car clear to Madera and was in the art of overhauling the speeder when his motorcycle gave a few sputs and died. The gas had run out. Officer Aiken was then but a few yards from a garage and he refilled his tank and was again on the trail as the speeder was taking the turn about the canal bridge. Thinking to head him off the officer took the D street detour and hitting a hole in the street near the water works, went into the air like an acrobat and came down in the road. Thinking his machine was out of commission he borrowed the machine belonging to Traffic Officer Q. C. Owens, who was at the pumping station. In the excitement, a part of the door casing at the pump house was torn out in getting the motorcycle into action. Mounting the new steed, Traffic Officer Aiken turned into the highway only a few minutes behind the speeder and although he trailed him at 60 miles an hour from there to the river, he was unable to overhaul him. Traffic Officer Herbert Wilson, who was holding down the southern beat, saw the speeder coming and stopped him not far from the bridge. He was turned over to Officer Aiken and was reported at the local court in the sixty-mile an hour class. His case will come up later. The driver gave his name as Chris Julian. Officer Aiken states that he may also turn the fellow in at the court of Justice Cornell in Chowchllla.


SOLDIERS CAN KEEP MORE MONEY — The amount which every enlisted man is now required to allot to his wife and children, irrespective of the amount of pay which he is receiving, is $l5. For each man getting over $3O this will be a reduction. If he wishes to continue to contribute to his wife and children the same amount as before, he may make a new allotment for the difference. Prompt notice of these facts has been sent to men in all branches of the military and naval service, but it will, of course, require some time for the new forms to be executed and returned to Washington. Many men may decide that they do not wish to continue to allot as much as before. In such cases the Government can not compel them to keep up the former allotments, and the family may receive only the minimum compulsory allotment of $l5 as before.


NO MORE BOUNTIES FOR COYOTES — Those who have been securing a nice little revenue from the county in the way of bounty money for killing jack rabbits and coyotes, will be deprived of this income following the present meeting of the board of supervisors. While no official action had been taken as of 3 o’clock this afternoon relative to the bounty, at least four members of the board had stated that it was their intention to take such action at this session of the board. The main reason for doing this is to eliminate as much of the county expense as possible. Several thousand dollars have been paid out during the past year in bounties, and most of it has gone to market hunters who have only worked during the season of the year when the animals themselves could be marketed or the pelts are the most valuable.