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Years ago in Madera for the week of Aug. 27

Courtesy of Madera County Historical Society

The surprise fly-over for Ray Pool 25 years ago was more poignant than the big airshow that was held the same weekend. Friends, relatives, and fellow pilots came together to honor the legendary, retiring pilot who can be seen waving his hat in thanks at the plane pulling the banner.


25 Years Ago

Week of Aug. 27, 1992

MEMORIES OF LIFE AT OLD HOWARD SCHOOL — There was a lot of storytelling going on Saturday night at the Old Howard School. Former students got together for a reunion and to swap stories. “This is something, isn’t it,” said Roy Sordi as he looked over the crowd. Sordi attended the school from 1922 to 1930. Bernice Hughes, who began teaching at Howard in 1948, became emotional when she saw Joe Vived, one of her former students. “He was special,” she said, “He was the sweetest little boy.” Rose Marchetti, who graduated from Howard in 1925, said it was the best of times for education. “Parents made their children work hard, and they succeeded because of it.”

CRLA RIPS CITY FOR NO HOUSING ELEMENT — What started out as a status update to the Madera City Council on low income housing, turned into an angry confrontation at Monday’s meeting. Legal representative for California Rural Legal Assistance, Chris Schneider, blasted the council for not passing the city’s Housing Element on time. The document was due on July 1, 1992. Schneider ripped into the council saying the city had no excuse because the date on the timeline for completing the update was no surprise. Schneider accused the council of allowing “third world conditions” to persist in Madera. Schneider’s remark drew a strong rebuttal from Council Member Patrick O’Rourke.

AUTOPSY: OAKHURST BOY DIED OF EXPOSURE — An autopsy has confirmed that a 12-year-old Oakhurst boy who wandered away from his parents during a family outing near the Carson Pass in June died of exposure. Alpine County Sheriff Skip Veatch said Kenny Miller probably died within a day of his disappearance June 23, since his body still contained therapeutic levels of medication he was taking. Veatch said the cost of the official search is estimated at $45,000 and will be billed to Madera County under a new law that allows one jurisdiction to seek reimbursement from another agency for a search made for a person missing from that area.

THOMAS PLEADS GUILTY TO KILLING HIS GIRLFRIEND — Glenn Mark Thomas, 31, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the November 1991 shooting death of his girlfriend, Sue Navarro, 30. He is facing a sentence of 20 years to life for the crime. Navarro was murdered in Madera and her body found three days later in the Arroya Canal in Merced County. The victim had been shot twice, once in the chest and once in the left ear. Navarro was the mother of a 10-year-old son. She had reportedly been involved in a relationship with Thomas for about three years. Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 29 before Superior Court Judge Paul Martin.

ARMENTROUT SAYS CRIME, FINANCIAL WOES ARE KEY ISSUES — Armed with financial experience and community service, Sam Armentrout has tossed his hat into the Madera City Council ring. A native Maderan, he sees the two key issues facing the city as the current financial problems and crime, situations he has solid experience in. He said part of his full-time job at the Madera Irrigation District is creating and managing the $7million budget. As a reserve officer with the Madera Police Department, he has risen from officer to Captain and was named Reserve Officer of the Year in 1988. Armentrout’s campaign will be managed by Steve Arsenault.

50 Years Ago

Week of Aug. 27, 1967

DUSTER PILOT ‘SATISFACTORY’ AFTER CRASH — An unidentified crop duster pilot is reported in satisfactory condition at Veteran’s Administration Hospital following a weekend airplane crash 15 miles west of Firebaugh. The pilot, who flew for Homer Gutchow Crop Dusting Company, was taken first to a Dos Palos Hospital with a broken leg, burns about the arms and back as well as lacerations. His crop dusting plane flipped over a power line while dusting the Bennet Ranch. Witnesses said the pilot managed to crawl from the burning plane before it exploded. All that remained of the plane was the tail section.

DEPUTY DA CRITICAL OF JUDGE AND DEFENSE ATTORNEY — The Alan Bass narcotics case has developed into a legal feud between Deputy. Dist. Atty. David Stockman, visiting Superior Court Judge Kenneth Morrison, and defense counsel Lester Gendron. Stockman made a motion for disqualification of Judge Morrison on the grounds that the defendant was brought in to meet with the judge in his chambers by Gendron. Stockman said he heard Morrison tell the defendant to “attend church.” The judge later put him on probation. Stockman told the court that the remark showed that the judge formed an opinion on probation during or shortly after the meeting with the defendant.

WEBSTER BECOMES A ONE- TEACHER SCHOOL — Webster was cut from a two- to a one-teacher school at Tuesday night’s Madera Unified School District board of education meeting. The first, second, and third grades will remain at Webster this year with an anticipated total enrollment of 16 children. The other grades will attend Eastin-Arcola School. Retaining any other grades at Webster would have created a transportation problem because of varying dismissal times, district officials said.

PLAN TO BURN BUILDINGS HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE — An enterprising new program set in motion by the City appears to be good for everyone — at no cost. The program is to demolish all substandard buildings in the city by setting them on fire. From the City’s side, the program is good because it removes unsightly and dangerous structures. For the fire department, valuable training is accomplished. For the property owner, his land is taken off the tax roll as improved property. Also he does not have to pay the high cost of demolishing the building. All that is required is for the property owner to sign a release allowing the fire department to torch the building.

TRIO ESCAPES FROM JAIL HERE THIS MORNING — Three prisoners sawed through the bars of a holding tank early this morning in the Madera County Jail, lowered themselves to the ground with blankets and walked away into the night. Gene Rex Anderson, James Trujillo, and Pete Diaz were the three escapees. A sheriff’s office spokesman said the three men somehow managed to saw through two bars. They then gained access to the roof of the jail through an open door and climbed to the ground with the aid of blankets. An unidentified man who was in the tank with the missing trio chose to remain behind.

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