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History in the Week of Aug. 12

Madera County Historical Society Over the last 100 years, Madera has been hit with a number of floods, but few reached the level of this one, shown here in 1938. Especially hard hit by the waters that breached the railroad levee was the area near Arcola School.


50 Years Ago

Week of Aug. 12, 1968

MORRIS HEARING ON FRIDAY — A closed hearing in Juvenile Court here for the 10 Morris children, orphaned by a July 2 auto accident, which claimed the lives of both their parents, was held by Superior Court Judge Jack Hammerberg this morning. An open hearing scheduled in Superior Court Friday will be to determine guardianship of the 10 children who attracted international sympathy when they pleaded “don’t let them separate us.” Judge Jack Hammerberg will also preside over Friday’s hearing at 10 a.m. The Morris children have retained their rented home under a preliminary court order. They are presently under the care of their grandparents, assisted by other relatives, neighbors and friends. A trust fund for the children has presently grown to nearly $50,000 with donations coming from all over the country.

SHERIFF’S JAIL BUDGET IS CUT — A request by County Sheriff Marlin Young for six additional patrolmen to provide more complete patrol coverage was temporarily cut in half by the Board of Supervisors as they continued budget deliberations today. Final decision has been delayed until next week, when the board will review the budget before adoption. Sheriff Young pointed to increased demands in the past by the public and Supervisors for improved patrol. He said it is public knowledge there is no patrol from 3-8 a. m., and many crimes are committed then. Harold Balmat, board chairman, said, “The public always wants more protection, but they don’t think much about the costs until the bill comes. We must consider which services we can afford.”

GUARDIANSHIP DECISION ON MORRIS CHILDREN DELAYED — The fate of the future of the 10 Morris children, orphaned by a July 2 auto crash in Fresno, which claimed the lives of their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Morris, is to be decided within the next 10 days. The two parties who requested custody of the children withdrew their petitions in Superior Court here today. In a joint statement by the attorneys of the petitioners, Mrs. Gertrude Graves of Concord and Mr. and Mrs. Bolis Lachawiez of Fresno, it was announced the petitions were withdrawn “in the best interest of the children.” Morris and his wife had talked with an insurance man a few days before the accident about a life insurance policy, but there wasn’t enough money to cover the first premium, so they decided to wait a month.

GOVERNOR SIGNS HISTORIC AID BILL FOR CITY — An Assembly bill providing a $140,000 loan to the city of Madera to proceed with plans for a proposed sewer treatment plant has been signed by Gov. Ronald Reagan. The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Ernest N. Mobley, is reported to be the first bill in the history of California where the state has provided a loan to a city. The City Council today at 7:30 p.m. will consider whether to accept the loan provided by the bill, which carries an urgency clause so that it takes effect immediately without the customary waiting period after the adjournment of the legislature. City Administrator Phillip Brown said the passage and signing of the bill indicated the state had recognized Madera’s need for the plant and has come to the city’s aid.

THOMPSONS PLEDGE $20,000 TO NEW HOSPITAL — Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Thompson of Madera today pledged $20,000 toward the building of the new Madera Community Hospital. Their gift brought local building fund receipts to $670,000. Thompson, president of Thompson and Gill Company, had previously joined company officials in authorizing a firm gift of $6,000 to the development of the 100-patient bed, non-profit Community Hospital. Sherman Thomas and Cesare Pierini, who jointly head the Development Fund Campaign, hailed the gift from the Thompsons as a major step forward in the program. “We are now sure we can build 80 of the 100 patient beds in the first-stage of our long range master plan,” he stated. 100 Years Ago

Week of Aug. 12, 1918

GOT SASSY; FINED $25 BY JUDGE — Persons who get sassy and insolent when they are stopped by a peace officer and are hailed into court on any charge whatever, usually get the worst of the deal. This morning one W. W. Parker was arrested on a charge of violating the speed law. He was making 45 miles an hour and ordinarily a fine of about $15 would have let him out, but his “sassy” ways cost him another ten and he paid a fine of $25 before he was permitted to go on his way. When Parker was picked up between this city and Borden by Deputy Sheriff A. W. Clark, he was inclined to be impudent. “Who in h— are you anyhow?” he asked. Deputy Clark pulled back his coat and exhibited his star. When the Judge arrived on the scene, he was not in the best of humor, and his patience was sorely taxed by the remarks and sneers of the defendant. Moral of the story: Don’t tamper with the Judge’s temper before breakfast.

PREPARING POISON FOR MR. RABBIT — The following formula makes a desirable whitewash for painting tree trunks and at the same time stops the attack of rabbits on the tree, according to a recipe for Poison Wash. Dissolve one ounce of strychnine in three quarts of boiling water. Dissolve half pound of laundry starch in one pint of cold water, stirring it thoroughly. Pour the starch into the vessel containing the strychnine. Add six ounces of glycerin and stir. When the paste is cool enough, apply to tree trunks with a paintbrush. The mixture adheres well and forms a thin coating. If rabbits attack the tree they will be dead before they can seriously injure it. The wash should not be used if livestock, especially young cattle, have access to the orchard.

LOCAL MEN MUST WORK OR FIGHT — It became evident that the work or fight order will be enforced in this city this morning when warrants were issued for the arrest of four well known characters of this community on complaints sworn to by David R. Hanhart, Secretary of the Madera County Council of Defense. While the work or fight law is not yet in force, it undoubtedly will be in a short time, and until it is brought into action, the same results can be obtained through the vagrancy law. This morning Ed Harper, Al Farley, A. Tofts and Ed Dugan were arrested by City Marshal J. H. Barnett and charged with vagrancy. The complaints were issued in the court of Justice G. W. Raburn. Mr. Hanhart says that he shall do all in his power to compel not only the men arrested this morning, but all others, who are doing nothing to help the government or themselves, either to work or fight. In this case it will probably be a matter of either work or remain in jail on vagrancy charges.

MADERA BOY WOUNDED IN FRANCE — Today came the news of the wounding of a Madera boy on the field of battle. Charles Armstead, the son of Mrs. Etta Armstead, who resides on East Yosemite Avenue was wounded on the 6th of August, according to an official telegram received by the mother this morning. The extent of the injury could not be determined, and none of the particulars had been received in Washington. Charles Armstead left Madera for Camp Lewis with one of the first contingents and has been in France for some time. Local friends and relatives will anxiously await the coming of a more detailed account of the young man’s injuries.

SAYS HIS LIFE WAS THREATENED BY PISTORESI — As the outcome of the recent fruit-stealing episode in which Jos. Pistoresi, a well known local Italian, and another party took some peaches about a week ago from a loaded car as the train was passing through Storey on the Santa Fe, Pistoresi will be placed under bonds to keep the peace. According to the information upon which a warrant was issued for the Italian’s arrest today, it appears that Pistoresi held a grudge against the Santa Fe brakeman who caught him stealing the fruit and reported the case to the special agent who brought the original charge. It is said that he went to Storey last night and waited for the brakeman to come through on his regular run and that he threatened the railroad man by shaking his fist in his face and by threatening to “get him.” Today the brakeman, J. F. Day and the special agent, D. J. Craig, appeared before Judge G. W. Raburn and gave their statements regarding the matter.

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