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Snapshots of Madera's History

Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society Madera High’s top five runners were preparing 25 years ago for their cross county season debut. From the left they are Eric Kropf, Ricky Chavez, Polo Duarte, Sean Rios, and Francisco Madrigal.


25 Years Ago in the week of Aug. 28, 1991

BARSOTTI SAYS DISTRICT NEEDS EXPERIENCED TRUSTEES — Benny Barsotti’s experience and unmet goals have driven him to seek re-election in this year’s Madera Unified board of trustees race. Barsotti has 37 years of experience with the school district, with 30 of it as principal. “I have a complete understanding of the community and its demographics,” he said. He says the board needs continued veteran leadership, especially since Bill Driggs isn’t running again. Barsotti says he thinks the administration needs to improve relations with the district’s employees to avoid dividing the community. He would also like to see more emphasis placed on the vocational curriculum.

GRAND JURY ISSUES INDICTMENTS AGAIN — For the first time since 1978, the Madera County grand jury was used to hand down criminal indictments on Wednesday. According to District Attorney David Minier, the Grand Jury handed down indictments on 23 drug-related cases. “The main advantage is the saving of time, Minier said. “The cases presented yesterday would have taken a full three weeks of court time, yet we did them in one day. You don’t have cross-examination, no defense attorneys, and the defendant can not put on witnesses.” Minier also said, “It you think a person will run, you can indict a suspect without him knowing about it.”

OLD TIMERS’ PARADE SEPARATES FROM COUNTY FAIR — Don’t look for the Old Timers’ parade to come down Yosemite Avenue when the County Fair opens on Sept. 14. In past years, the Old Timers’ Day celebration was held during the week of the fair. This year, however, the fair was moved forward two weeks, but the Old Timers’ Day Committee decided to keep its events for the last week in September. According to Madera District Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debi Bray, the Old Timers’ Day Committee made the decision to separate the parade from the fair. Bray said she doesn’t know if next year’s parade will be held in conjunction with the fair or not.

RAYMOND COUPLE TO BE PARADE ROYALTY — For Ed and Rita Noble, Madera County has always been just a place to call home. Together they have lived within the county for 125 years, and this year they will be recognized as the queen and king of the Old Timers’ Day Parade. The two met more than 50 years ago while playing tennis together at Raymond School. Next year Ed, 75, and Rita, 66 will celebrate their 50th anniversary. The Nobles recall the days when the county was part of the frontier. The train used to stop in Madera three times a day. The two also remember when Howard Road was “all chicken ranches and James Department Store used to be between C and D Streets.”

MINIER WILL BECOME JUDGE BUT NAME WILL STAY ON BALLOT — Madera District Attorney Dave Minier jokes that he may be the only candidate in Madera County to legally buy his way into office. Minier is the only candidate for the Chowchilla Justice Court judge’s seat in the Nov. 5 election. Earlier the board of supervisors considered appointing Minier to the position. Such a move would have taken Minier’s name off the ballot and would have saved more than $1,000 in printing cost. Minier said he wanted his name to remain on the ballot and agreed to pay the printing costs to keep his name on for the election. Minier will replace Judge John De Groot who won a seat on the Madera County Superior Court Bench. 50 Years Ago in the week of Aug. 28, 1966

DINO PETRUCCI SLATED FOR HIGH FFA AWARD — Madera High School vocational agriculture teacher Dino Petrucci has been selected for a national Future Farmers of America award. Petrucci has been notified that he is to be presented with an honorary degree at the 39th annual convention of FFA on Oct. 12 in Kansas City, Mo. The award is to go to “outstanding teachers of vocational agriculture” throughout the nation, according to the notice. The letter also congratulates him for “an excellent record” as advisor to the Madera chapter of FFA. The letter was read Thursday night to the Madera Unified School District board of education.

MAN DROWNS TRYING TO SAVE SON — A Sunland man drowned Saturday afternoon in a pond on the Fresno River north of Madera as he attempted to rescue his young son. Melvin B. McDaniel. 30, reportedly jumped into the pond to save his five-year-old son, Melvin, Jr. Another son, Larry, 12, had already brought the youngster, who slipped into the water, to the shore when the father jumped in, according to authorities. The victim was located in approximately 12 feet of water in the pond, which is located in the Hidden River Ranch on Road 400. The body was recovered by deputies William Cooley and G.L. Berkley.

DRIVE BEGINS AGAINST LOCAL WELFARE FRAUD — Three criminal complaints and ten citations to hearings were issued today in the start against welfare frauds. The citations may result in criminal prosecutions and more are expected when pending investigations are completed. All the current cases involve aid to families with dependent children and amount to hundreds of dollars. Many of the cases involve fathers, common-law husbands or other men living with families receiving public support. The District Attorney’s Office is vitally concerned about the apparent feeling on the part of certain welfare recipients that they can make false statements to obtain aid without fear of criminal prosecution.

SUPERVISORS SAY NO TO JUVENILE DELINQUENCY PROGRAM — The Board of Supervisors declined Tuesday to enter into a juvenile delinquency prevention program because the county probation department already has too much to do. Board members told Jerry Hill, county probation officer, to come back next year with a proposal. Supervisor Phillips Eastman contended that as soon as the juvenile delinquency program gets started, “You’ll be back in here wanting more staff and more space. Hill has asked the board to name the present Juvenile Justice Commission a “Juvenile Delinquency Commission” to qualify the county for a $1,000 state subsidy.

HELMUTH BOY SHOWS SIGNS OF RECOVERY — Don Helmuth, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Helmuth, 601 Ula St., is showing signs of recovery following a craniotomy, according to Dr. R.G. Lippert of Fresno. Helmuth was injured seriously during football practice at Madera High School when he suffered head injuries in a tackle play. Brain surgery preceded the recent craniotomy, which removed a blood clot, Dr. Lippert reports. Helmut, who has been unconscious since the accident, had begun to “lighten” Lippert explained and is now “progressing satisfactorily.”


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