1966 — Year in Review
Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society The crew of the “City of Madera” is shown here in the summer of 1966. In October they came to Madera where they were honored by the city council.
January GALLEANO NAMED WINNER OF STATE CONTEST — Madera rancher Joe Galleano was named Saturday the state winner of a contest conducted by the California Young Farmers Association. Galleano won the Farm Improvement Award for 1965. Galleano, 34, farms 780 acres and raises cattle, alfalfa and cotton. During the last few years, he has constructed and landscaped a new home and garage and made many other improvements on his ranch. Galleano’s activities in the community include Young Farmers president and membership on the Howard School Board. His wife, Pauline, is also active in farm and community affairs and serves as state editor of the Young Farmer-Young Homemaker magazine. February REAGAN BREEZES IN, AND OUT OF MADERA — Actor and would-be gubernatorial candidate Ronald Reagan, breezed into Madera Thursday and right out again before anyone could hardly say “Boraxo.” His appearance was part of a campaign swing through the Valley. Reagan’s brief visit to Madera was ostensibly to name D.W. (Bill) Holmes as his county campaign chairman and Mrs. Mae Chavin vice chairman. Campaign and press aides cut short Reagan’s visit to hurry him to Fresno where he was to meet supporters and the press. Although he didn’t hold a press conference in Madera, he did say that he supported a plan whereby financial supporters of GOP candidates would get together and decide whom they would support. March COMMITTEE URGES NO VOTE ON AUDITORIUM BOND ISSUE — The Citizens’ Committee for Better Use of School Tax Funds issued a statement today urging citizens to vote no on the auditorium bond issue. According to W.E. Coyle, secretary of the committee, “Taxes are already high, and the auditorium complex has been rushed to a vote before the public becomes aware of the needs of the new Madera Unified School District, which will take over in July. According to Coyle, the new district is facing the prospect of building a junior high school and adding additional classrooms. He also contends there will be new and additional cost for the administration of the district. Coyle says, “It will jeopardize the tax base upon which our school system operates.” April STEPHENSON, LATTANZIO, BARSOTTI ELECTED — Madera voters, in a 44 percent turnout Tuesday, elected Bruno Lattanzio and Bud Stephenson to the City Council and re-elected Al Barsotti to his fifth term and thwarted incumbent Ted Lindemann’s bid for a third term. Stephenson, a plumbing contractor, was the most popular vote-getter. Lattanzio, a building contractor, gained second spot in a close battle with Barsotti. The current city council, composed of Barsotti, Mayor Alex Robertson, Lindemann, Charles Marsh, and John Wells, will hold its last regular session Monday evening. A new mayor will also be selected at that time from among the councilmen. May DON MCALISTER WINS 4TH STRAIGHT DIVING CHAMPIONSHIP — Coyote diver Don McAlister, competing in his last season for MUHS, stole the show at the All-San Joaquin Valley diving finals held Friday afternoon at Selma High School, earning his fourth consecutive All-Valley varsity diving championship, setting a new Valley record of 349.25 points, and breaking his own old record of 298 points. Madera’s Dennis Rowe placed second behind Don in the varsity with 277.85 points, and Mike Robertson took third in the B division with 211.40 points. In the Girls division, Andrea Mortimer took second place with 218.80 points and Patty Ulhalde third with 209.40 points, upholding the overall supremacy of the Madera divers. June REAGAN SCORES LANDSLIDE — Actor Ronald Reagan and Democratic Governor Edmund G. Brown each soared past the million vote mark today and are now preparing to battle for the governorship in November. Reagan, one of Hollywood’s leading men in the 1940s and more recently a television personality won his first try at public office. He defeated San Francisco Mayor George Christopher for the Republican nomination. Brown, seeking an unprecedented third term, won the Democratic nomination by a narrower margin than expected. He defeated Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty. July MADERA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BEGINS OPERATIONS — The Madera Union High School is no more. It is now part of the Madera Unified School District, which went into operation Friday with scarcely a ripple in the normal business of local elementary and high schools. The change most obvious to the public will be that Madera Union’s High School graduates were its last because it is now Madera High School. The unified school district will make its headquarters for the coming year in the former MSD offices at James Madison School. Rinaldo Wren, the superintendent of the old Madera Union High School, will make his office in the new headquarters as will Fred Nilsen, the high school’s business manager who will be the business manager for MUSD. August 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. September PLAN WILL HALT BONADELLE RANCHOS SALES — A plan to stop sales of lots in Bonadelle Ranchos subdivisions was devised in Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Supervisors said they want to stop sales of lots until John Bonadelle completes the construction of roads. The board proposes to refuse to issue building permits in the subdivisions to put pressure on the builder. Board chairman Jack Schmitz declared that Bonadelle has “broken faith with the board year after year by failing to complete the road system during time extensions.” Several other board members agreed with Schmitz that uncompleted roads are “unfair” to persons who try to establish homes in such subdivisions. October EVERETT L. COFFEE RESIGNS JUDGESHIP — Everett L. Coffee has resigned from the Madera Superior Court bench, it was disclosed today from the governor’s office. No reason was given for the resignation, but Coffee, age 64, has been in ill health for the past several months. Coffee was appointed to the judgeship Nov. 25, 1965 to replace former judge Mason Bailey. Coffee had previously served as district attorney during two different periods of time and as its county counsel. He was also in private practice in Madera for 16 years. Governor Edmund G. Brown will have the choice of naming a new appointee to the bench. November MADERA POPULATION REACHES 16,000 — Madera has finally broken the 16,000 barrier, according to the State Department of Finance. The count is official as of Nov. 1, 1966. City Hall received the news by telephone from Sacramento Monday. In April of 1960, the population of Madera was 14,430. Two years later in 1964, the count had reached 15,250. Madera is now eligible for $18,000 a year in tax revenue. Another item connected to the population count is the decline in Madera’s vacancy rate. It has decreased from 7.3 percent in 1960 to 5.6 percent in 1966. December HAMMERBERG APPOINTED JUDGE — Jack Hammerberg of Madera will take the oath of office as Superior Court Judge in ceremonies set for Wednesday afternoon. The Madera attorney said his appointment to the judgeship by the governor, announced Thursday, will extend to the next general election in 1968. At age 45, Hammerberg is one of the younger judges of the county’s highest court. Both Judge M.D. Crocker, now a federal jurist, and the late Stanley Murray took office in their 40s. The new judge has been a Madera resident for 15 years. He started his career in law here as a deputy district attorney, moving into private practice 13 years ago.