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Years ago in Madera during the week of March 26

Courtesy of The Madera County Historical Society

Twenty-five years ago, television newscaster Rudy Trevino moderated a student forum on race relations at Madera High School. He is seen here receiving comments from peer counselor Martha Flores.


Week of March 26, 1992 SMOKE INSIDE FABRIC STORE “BUGS” FIREFIGHTER — A “deadly” white smoke seen rising among the bolts of cloth inside Madera’s House of Fabrics store on Yosemite Avenue Wednesday evening prompted witnesses to call out the city’s firefighting troops. According to MFD Capt. Rick Diebert, when he got to the store, the smoke didn’t seem to be building, so he sent for someone with a key. While the firefighting crew planned their attack on the fire, an employee arrived with a key. Suddenly the mystery was solved. The employee said, “Oh, I forgot. We were fumigating. Four bug bombs were activated when we went home.” The fire captain suggested that next time a bug massacre was planned, someone call the fire department and let them in on the plan.

GALLO READY TO PAY HIGH PRICES TO GRAPE GROWERS — Madera County’s economy this year could get a $5-million-plus shot in the arm. Gallo’s field representatives are out offering from $40-$70 per ton more than they offered last year, according to John Simpson of Simpson Farm Company. Gallo’s representatives have “done a blitz in the county the last two days offering growers, one- two- or three-year contracts for Barbera, French Colombard, Chenin Blanc, Carignane, and Ruby Reds,” Simpson said. He added, “It has happened so fast it has shocked everyone.” While the prices being offered by Gallo look high, the California Fruit Juice Growers have urged growers to hold out for even higher prices.

FORUM HELD TO EASE RACIAL TENSIONS AT MADERA HIGH — The student council at Madera High School has organized a forum to help ease racial tensions on the campus. The conference, organized by senior Todd Lile, included professionals, school officials, and students. Television news anchor Rudy Trevino served as the moderator. The itinerary dealt with segregation on campus, student government, club membership, and gangs. Students say different races aren’t allowed in certain areas of the campus, and don’t talk to each other. However, Counselor Matilde Torres said, “These are just perceptions students have and are not reality.”

(Editor’s note: Lile recently was appointed interim superintendent of Madera Unified School District.)

COYOTES OFFENSE RESURFACES IN 9-1 ROUT AGAINST WARRIORS — Madera’s bats got hot with a 9-1 rout of Fresno Friday, banging out 12 hits against 3 pitchers. Madera wasted no time as it got five hits and five runs in the first inning. That was all the offensive support that Madera starter Ricky Castro would need as he tossed a four-hitter and fanned seven batters. Scott Pendley led the 12-hit attack with three singles as he was moved up to the number two spot in the order. Pendley now has nine hits in the last four games and is batting a torrid .643 in league play. Coach Dan Ascanio said “Today we were aggressive hitters. Once we got the lead, we stayed aggressive.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADERA — Calling the future of the City of Madera “very bright,” Mayor William Weber led a celebration marking the city’s 85th birthday on the steps of City Hall this morning. The city was first incorporated on March 27, 1907, and while this year’s celebration is being held on April Fool’s Day, Weber promised the 60 city and county officials, firefighters, and citizens in attendance, there was nothing wrong with the 8-foot-long cake made by Rose Juarez. He also predicted a population of 40,000 by the year 2000, and added there are many challenges today, but also great opportunities.

Week of March 26, 1967 ROPING CHAMPIONSHIP GOES TO CHOWCHILLANS — A capacity crowd of 8,500 partisan spectators roared its approval as local heroes Danny Branco and Ronny Goodrich made a two-tenths of a second lead stand up in the finals to capture the Chowchilla Western Stampede team roping championship. Each pocketed a check of $2,390 plus a custom made saddle. Branco and Goodrich entered the team roping finals Sunday afternoon with a mere .2 second advantage but burst out of the chute to rope their eighth and final steer in a neat 9.2 seconds to clinch the title. Their eight-steer average was 100.6 seconds.

MADERA HIGH STUDENT KILLED IN HOLIDAY MISHAP — The Easter holiday here was marred by a traffic accident that took the life of 17 year-old Jim Sanders, a senior at Madera High School. Sanders died when he was thrown from a car driven by James Boyce Lynch. According to the CHP, the car ran off California State Route 41 south of Road 222, hit the rocks on the side of the road, rolled back across the side of the road, and then plunged about 200 feet down an embankment. Sanders was thrown from the car before it went over the embankment and Lynch was thrown out after it went over. Lynch is in satisfactory condition in the hospital.

RIDGEWAY RESIGNS LAND BANK POST — Chet Ridgeway has resigned from the board of the Land Bank Association of Madera and has been replaced as president by Frank Bergon. Morgan Johnson will assume Ridgeway’s duties as trustee. Ridgeway has served on the land bank board since 1947 and has been the president since 1947. Bergon previously has been vice president. The retiring president recently sold his ranch property in the Ripperdan district and will move to Madera. He also has served in numerous other capacities in county and community activities, including time as a county supervisor.

GAS WAR BRINGS 28.9 CENTS PER GALLON — A gasoline war in Madera, which is now beginning to reach drastic economic proportions for some dealers, is still making the consumer happy and bringing new business into town. At this point in the 2-1/2-month-old gas war, gasoline prices have reached a low of 28.9 cents per gallon for most independent stations and 29.9 for the major oil company stations. At this price, many dealers feel their profit margin is rapidly reaching the point where they can’t remain in business. For stations closer to State Route 99, however, business is booming, and the increased volume is more than compensating for the lowered profit margin.

DENISE GREEN GOING TO ITALY — Denise Green, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Denslow Green, leaves Thursday on a chartered plane with 80 other students from Stanford University to study for six months in Italy. Denise, who was graduated with the class of 1965 from Madera High School, is a sophomore at Stanford. Her courses will include art, Italian history, economics and a concentrated study of the Italian language. She will attend classes four days a week with weekends left free for traveling and visiting. Denise will also participate in field trips with the other students to places like Athens and Venice. Following her stay in Europe, Miss Green will return for her junior year at the Palo Alto campus.

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