Compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of Fresno Flats Research Library and the Sierra Star
50 years ago
* Ahwahnee Sanitarium retiring employees Ernest Gunnels and Leah Frye were honored at a party hosted by Dr. Waggenseller.
* Bob Reed is playing host for the grand opening of the $90,000 Chevron Station in the heart of Oakhurst. Reed is a native of Culver City in southern California, and is a four-year Navy veteran. He spent five years with General Telephone before coming to the mountains.
* Annual Bass Lake fireworks show set for next week. “Bud” Williams announces that pyrotechnical engineer Fred Homan of Fresno will be in charge of the display. Last year’s viewers numbered an estimated 35,000. Boats dotted the lake for a better view. The Bass Lake Queen has scheduled a night trip for the display.
40 years ago
Planning and effort have climaxed in the dedication of Buchanan Dam on the Chowchilla River, and Hidden Dam on the Fresno River, in the foothills of Madera County. Representative B. F. Sisk was the keynote speaker. Sisk, along with Harold T. “Bizz” Johnson, who at one time represented Madera County, worked for years to arrange financing for the simultaneous construction of these dams. Flood control is the primary purpose of these dams, with irrigation second and recreation third. The total cost of Hidden Dam is $32 million, and Buchanan Dam cost about $28.5 million.
* Against a frustrated opposition, mountain supervisors Lonnie Cornwell and Elmo Del Bianco increased the appropriation for the Oakhurst library and fire station to $165,000; the North Fork library and fire station to $125,000; allocated $40,000 for the building of a refuse transfer station at Oakhurst; and $7,000 for finishing touches on the Bass Lake substation.
* Real estate ad: 40 acres overlooking Oakhurst valley is a fantastic investment. Call for details.
30 years ago
* USFS has consolidated the Bass Lake and Mariposa Ranger Districts, and it will be called the “Mariposa Ranger District.” The Forest Supervisor said the two districts were combined “primarily to reduce overhead and administration costs.”
* Coarsegold residents discussed a proposed airstrip on private property on Road 415. Residents expressed many concerns, such as noise pollution, adverse effects on wildlife, and fire hazard. The legal notice applicant was Mountain Property and Associates, Kenny Buller and Brad Ditton. Dr. Ruthella Wilcox was in favor of the airstrip, as it would benefit the community. Many in the audience voiced their reasons against it.
* The Met Cinema shows Murphy’s Romance, starring James Garner and Sally Field.
20 years ago
* This year’s Pioneer Wagon Train will leave Wawona and travel the historic wagon road to Mariposa. The train will spend the night at Cold Springs, then travel on to the Mariposa Fairgrounds, where the 8th annual Cannonball Cowboy Poetry Gathering will take place.
* A search and rescue operation conducted by the Madera County Sheriff’s Department ended successfully when a 3-year-old Raymond girl was found about a half-mile from her family’s home. She had been missing about two hours. She walked away from home with two dogs, and when she was sighted the dogs were still with her. The search party included volunteers, posse members, and deputies. Sgt. Frank Gauthier, officer in charge of the search, said he was “really impressed with the professionalism of everyone involved.”
* If there is not a show of community support in the very near future, the Mountain Area will most likely lose the night hours (9 p.m. to 9 a.m.) at Oakhurst Community Medical Center Urgent Care. Seeing more than 2,000 patients during the night service last year, the center sustained a loss of about $400,000, according to Mike Ford of the CHCC Foundation. Ford added that if $150,000 could be raised locally, it would help keep the night service open.