Compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of Fresno Flats Research Library and the Sierra Star.
50 Years Ago
* Thousands invade Coarsegold to watch riders perform in annual Rodeo events. Flawless skies, top riders and a full slate of events lured thousands to the mountains last Saturday and Sunday. The crowd was estimated at 5,000 for the action-packed program, marred by only one injury. Leo Camarillo of Oakdale is sporting a new “All-Around Cowboy” buckle for his performances.
* Pay raises averaging more than nine cents per hour have been given to blue collar workers in Yosemite National Park, Superintendent John M. Davis announced. The new hourly rates range from $2.50 for laborers to $4.12 for foremen in certain categories. The increases are based on a survey of rates for comparable employment in the Fresno-Merced Area.
* Wind and weather cooperated on the Kiwanis Kite Day and it was a whopping success. The winners were: Best Flying Kite, Amy Johnson; second, Russell Cook; third, Robin Chipman.
* Norberg’s advertises Banquet pies four for $1, head lettuce at two for 25 cents, tomatoes at 19 cents a pound, and powdered or brown sugar one pound boxes at two for 29 cents.
40 Years Ago
* County road names are finalized for the now-numbered roads. The names are the result of community recommendations and revisions. The new signs are scheduled to go up sometime in May.
* Assemblyman Kenneth Maddy made this report concerning property tax relief for the Senior Citizens proposition. In 1975 assessments on California property rose an average of 11% and the accompanying increase in property taxes was a financial blow, especially for senior citizens and those on fixed incomes. Many elderly homeowners have been forced to sell their homes to pay the taxes. In June California voters will decide whether or not the state should extend to them additional tax relief. Prop. 13 would allow senior citizens the option of postponing property tax payments indefinitely.
* The Sierra Kiwanis essay competition on the subject “What the Declaration of Independence means to me” has two winners. The judges were unable to determine a clear cut winner, so both Katy Ballard, a seventh grader at Bass Lake School, and Cindy Holst, a seventh grader at Raymond-Knowles School will both be awarded first place. The subject was in honor of America’s bicentennial this year.
30 Years Ago
* Yosemite National Park and Bass Lake will be the backdrops for a series of six commercials for Coors beer, according to Brian Wilkinson, head of Madera County Film Commission. The ads will feature Mark Harmon and be directed by Melvin Sokolsky.
* Construction started this past week on the south approach of the foot bridge for the Oakhurst Community Park. Thirty power poles will be put across the Fresno River to support the bridge. A Silent and Live Auction will be held to help raise funds for the bridge and other improvements at the park. PG&E is providing the equipment and expertise for the main work and the Sierra Rotary Club and other local organizations will do the finish work. Plans for the bridge have been drawn by John E. Reynolds of Coarsegold. Dave Linn is chairman of the Park Committee.
* A traditional mountain-style family Hometown Jamboree to be held at Fresno Flats Historical Park will feature horseshoe championships, potato races, three-legged races, a chicken barbeque, and more. Booths will include bingo and other games, crafts, and specialty items. Awards will be made to the winners in the SHSA-sponsored Nathan Sweet Essay Contest for fourth and eighth grade students. Ruth Hunt, president of SHSA, says the day will be a fine one for a true family outing, and anticipated that the event will become an annual occurrence.
20 Years Ago
* The Yosemite High softball team cleared a major obstacle in its quest for a second consecutive Central Sequoia League title when the Badgers edged out San Joaquin Memorial 4-3. The win improved Yosemite’s record to 10-1 in the CSL, and 29-3 overall. Since losing to Memorial in an earlier game, the Badgers have won 15 straight games. Currently ranked first in the Sequoia-Sierra Division, Yosemite will return home April 30 to take on Kingsburg, before traveling to Selma May 3.
* Exact center of California marked near North Fork. The North Fork History Group marked the geographic center of California with a brass bench marker recently. The geographic center was mathematically determined by “area moment method” with the aid of the Cartographic Tables published by the US Geological Survey. The North Fork site was established by California State University of Fresno graduate student Leonard Gabrielson. He was able to pinpoint the exact center, which has been verified by the USGS. Visitors are advised to take Road 225 to Italian Bar Road. From there, travel 2.7 miles to just past the cattle guard. The center is located slightly uphill on the left.
* The Oakhurst Mountain Peddlers’ Fair will be held Memorial Day weekend in downtown Oakhurst. More than 400 vendors are expected for the event, which is held both Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. Admission is free. It is sponsored by the Eastern Madera Chamber of Commerce.