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History in the Week of Jan. 7

Madera County Historical Society On a foggy morning 25 years ago, Monroe teacher Ed Gwartney helped a group of 6th graders load one of the wagons that would take them from Nogales, Arizona to Madera by mule power. Gwartney’s 4th graders built the wagons that the 6th graders traveled in. They were on the road 26 days.


25 Years Ago

Week of Jan. 7, 1993

COUNTY PLANS LAW ENFORCEMENT LAYOFFS — In anticipation of a $3.2 million deficit in 1994, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt Administrative Officer Stell Manfredi’s idea to save the county $410,000 through employee cutbacks. At the top of the list is law enforcement with the potential layoff of 10 sheriff deputies along with fewer prosecutors, probation and correctional officers. To make matters worse, Manfredi informed the board that the cuts would have to begin immediately and predicted that the county would still be $1.1 million in the hole at the end of the year. The budget cuts would also hit the library, and the CAO said he doubted that any branch library would survive the shortfall.

MONROE WAGON TRAIN OVERCOMES BROKEN WHEEL, FLOOD — Madera’s wagon train with its cargo of 6th graders from Monroe School overcame a breakdown and a swollen river on their journey from Nogales to Madera. After repairing the broken half wheel on the tongue of one of the wagons, the cowboys accompanying the group had to look hard for a place to cross the Santa Cruz River. Heavy rains had made it impossible to cross where they had originally intended. When they finally found a safe crossing, the group of modern pioneers camped in the Tubac Mission for the night. The students are following the trail of a ‘49er whose travel diary they have with them.

TRUSTEES BREAK GROUND FOR LINCOLN SCHOOL — Trustees of Madera Unified School District officially broke ground for the district’s 14th elementary school when they turned over a few spades of dirt during a brief ceremony Monday. Lincoln School is set to open in March or April of 1994 and will serve approximately 1,000 kindergarten through sixth grade students. Superintendent Tom Riley said the groundbreaking represented a “proud day” in Madera Unified’s history. He said the school will be very attractive. Lincoln represents the last school the district will build in which most of the money will come from the state. The school will cost approximately $5.7 million.

BECKETT WILL LEAD LINCOLN ELEMENTARY — Dixieland Elementary School principal Carles Beckett was named Tuesday to head the new Lincoln Elementary School. The reaction in the Dixieland community was a combination of pride and sadness. People there are happy that Beckett has been given the opportunity to run the new school, but he is also a very popular person who is going to be sorely missed. “There are mixed emotions in Dixieland today,” Beckett said. Over the past 13 years, he has helped many of the families in the area with personal problems and is held in very high esteem there. “I’m more than just the principal of the school; in a lot of ways the community looks at me as the mayor of Dixieland,” he said, “Not bragging, just stating a fact.”

PAVLOVICH HIRED AS REEDLEY’S CITY MANAGER — Less than three weeks after stepping down as Madera’s city manager, Nick Pavlovich has been hired in the same capacity in Reedley. He spent 13 years as a city manager before coming to Madera. Pavlovich was among 70 applicants for the Reedley job and was being considered by other cities for the same job. Pavlovich said he felt very good about it. “Both Fran and I are looking forward to it,” he said. They wanted to stay in the Central Valley because their children are still here, he added. Reedley has a population of about 18,000 and is similar to Madera in its agricultural based economy. 50 Years Ago

Week of Jan. 7, 1968

NEW SOCIAL SECURITY CHANGES BOOST LOCAL CHECKS — The changes in the social security law will mean a benefit increase of 13 percent in the social security checks of about 6,000 residents in the Madera area. The average benefit to a retired worker will be raised from $86 to $98 per month. The average couple’s benefit, now $145, will go up to $165, and the average widow’s benefit will rise from the current $75 to $86. Under the amended law, maximum payments to families will go up from the currently payable maximum of $309 to $322 per month. In the future, the maximum payment to any one family can be as high as $434.

THOMAS, PIERINI WILL HEAD HOSPITAL FUND DRIVE GROUP — The Steering Committee of the Madera Community Hospital has named Sherman Thomas and Cesare Pierini as co-chairmen of the Development Fund Drive. Thomas, in accepting the co-chairmanship pointed out the primary purpose of the effort will be to develop new hospital facilities for the people of the Madera area. Pierini stated, “We have undertaken a gigantic but worthy task, and it will call for the best each of us has. We are gathering the finest talent and personnel in the area to assist in this great undertaking.

BOB PROSPERI NAMED TOP YOUNG FARMER IN MADERA — Bob Prosperi, a 27-year-old prize winning local vinyardist was named Outstanding Young Farmer for this area by the Madera Junior Chamber of Commerce today. A native Maderan who learned farming from his parents, long-time La Vina residents, studied viticulture in college. Prosperi now operates 160 acres of vineyard, 80 acres of his own and 80 acres in leased land. He turns out 10 to 12 tons of wine grapes per acre, which is far above average. He has averaged 2 1/2 tons of raisins to the acre on 60 acres over the past five years.

BARALDI HEADS ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE — Ralph Baraldi was named chairman Thursday of a committee to plan observances of Madera County’s diamond anniversary. Baraldi will head a committee to organize special events throughout the year in commemoration of the county’s separation from Fresno County 75 years ago. Joe Cappelluti was named co-chairman by J.N. Pyers, president of the Madera County Historical Society. The society was placed in charge of the celebration by the Board of Supervisors. Any organizations interested in participation in the celebration are invited to contact Baraldi.

ELMO DEL BIANCO ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR SUPERVISOR — Elmo Del Bianco today announced his candidacy for election to the District 3 seat on the Board of Supervisors. L.C. Thompson, who holds the seat now, said today that he plans to retire from the board when his term expires on Jan. 2, 1969. Del Bianco, co-owner of Lucca’s Restaurant, said he hopes to bring a progressive businessman’s perspective to the board. Del Bianco served on the former Madera Union High School District board of trustees for 14 years prior to unification. In partnership with his brother, Sirio, in Lucca’s since 1948, Del Bianco is in charge of the bookkeeping. He and his wife, Anna, have three children.

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