50 years ago
* Badger Pass ski area marks its 30th year. There’s a new lift, 3,400 ft. long, with a capacity of 1,160 per hour. Nick Fiore, ski school director, is now in his 17th year at Badger Pass. On his staff this year are instructors from Canada, Austria, France and the United States. Badger Pass is long known as a family-type ski area, and favors youngsters. Winter events are scheduled for adults and children.
* Oakhurst lived up to its reputation as being the Chinchilla Capital of the World by bringing home the most awards from the Mother Lode Chinchilla Show at Sonora. There were 202 entries from all over the state. The DeMary Fur Farm brought home 12 ribbons, three of them blue.
* A mass meeting has been called by Dr. “Buzz” Baxter, president of the Chamber of Commerce, to make a final decision on water and sewers for downtown Oakhurst.
* Coarsegold Frostie Café advertises a complete dinner featuring breaded veal for $1.
40 Years Ago
* Last year, the Oakhurst Volunteer Fire Department was formed when the Sierra Rural Volunteer Fire Company split into regions to cover Coarsegold, Ahwahnee, Bass Lake and Oakhurst. These new local departments are all part of the Madera County Fire department, which contracts with the State Department of Forestry. The Oakhurst department makes close to 50 runs a year, says chief Tommie Underwood, which is more than all of the other mountain departments combined. The Oakhurst department operates out of a building on Highway 41 near the American Forest Products plant. New facilities are planned for this year at the site of the new library.
* Yosemite has had many presidential visits over the years. The most recent was President Kennedy, who visited in 1962. He arrived by helicopter and stayed at the park overnight. President Teddy Roosevelt traveled by stagecoach from Raymond to Yosemite in 1903 on his three-day visit to meet with John Muir. In 1909, President William Howard Taft visited Yosemite for four days. Other presidents who have visited the park are: Warren G. Harding, 1922; Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1938; Ulysses S. Grant after he was out of office; James Garfield, 1975, and Rutherford B. Hayes.
* The Oakhurst Union School staged its annual Christmas show at the Golden Chain Theatre. Fifth through eighth grades participated. A sixth grade play was directed by Paul Harvey. A medley of songs by the upper grade chorus was directed by Dave Mason-Hall. A fifth grade play was directed by Sam Gates. A community sing ended the program, with Jackie Byers at the piano.
30 Years Ago
* Harry Baker announces he will be a candidate for District 5 Supervisor. Baker is the third generation of his family to live in Madera County. His paternal grandparents homesteaded in the Ahwahnee-Nipinnawasee area shortly after the turn of the century, and his maternal grandparents homesteaded in the Oakhurst area about the same time. Baker was born in Nipinnawasee and lived in the fifth supervisorial district all his life. He majored in engineering at UC, and then took over the operation of Sierra Telephone in 1950 when there were approximately 200 customers. He noted that Madera County is “big business” and that he is acquainted with the state and federal legislators for this area, and is familiar with the operations of state and federal government.
* The Little Church in the Pines will celebrate its 35th anniversary with several services and activities on Saturday and Sunday. A buffet supper will be served with music, reminiscing, and getting re-acquainted. Former pastor Dr. Walter A. Boring will deliver the sermon on Sunday.
* John Hodge, a life-long resident of Bass Lake, has recently published a book, The Bass Lake Fishing Guide, which includes information on fishing techniques, identification, preferred temperatures, and more. It features illustrations of fish found in Bass Lake. Hodge says the book includes information gathered over 40 years of fishing there. He gives special thanks to Phil Bartholomew, biologist for the DFG. The book is dedicated to Jim Dupzyk, who taught him as a youngster the necessity of conservation and the wisdom of ecology.
20 Years Ago
* Cardinal Robert Mahoney, archbishop of Los Angeles, dedicated and blessed the new Chevron station on Highway 41. Les Pacheco, owner of the new station, said, “It’s more than a dream come true." Mahoney and some other priests have owned a cabin at Fish Camp since 1970, and visit the area often. Over the years, Mahoney and his Fish Camp neighbors, Les and Phyllis Pacheco, have become friends. When Mahoney learned that the Pachecos were building a new station, he offered to bless it for them. Almost 200 people attended the event.
* Starting on Jan. 1, a new California law is in effect which bans any type of vending machine from dispensing tobacco products, with the exception of those machines which are in free-standing bars that are off limits to minors.
* After the federal government shutdown closed it for almost three weeks, Yosemite National Park has officially reopened to the public. As a result of the closure it has been estimated that that thousands have been unemployed and hundreds of businesses have been negatively impacted in both Mariposa and Madera counties. U.S. Representative George Radanovich is urging state bankers to aid in the aftermath, asking that the same assistance banks are offering to government workers be extended to private sector employees affected by the closure of federal facilities.