NOTE: Compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of Fresno Flats Research Library and the Sierra Star.
50 Years Ago
* The historic bell that has been summoning children to school in Ahwahnee for more than half a century has a new home. Originally used on the old Gertrude School and later on the Ahwahnee School, it has been hung in the new belfry built by Warren Guthrie at Ahwahnee Chapel. After the new Wasuma School was built last year, the bell was no longer in use. Now it will ring on Sundays for Sunday school and the worship service.
* North Fork’s Kennedy Hall was jam-packed in a series of meetings to determine the fate of a proposed second high school for the mountain area. Architect Hastrup presented an estimate of the cost to build the new school that added up to around $2,800,000. A lengthy study was made by the Board and state officials to bolster a site in Oakhurst. Other sites considered were in North Fork and near O’Neals. Al Veater of Coarsegold offers for $1 a plot of 100 acres in the Picayune district, despite the fact that the Oakhurst site was already purchased.
* Sierra Ambulance Service, which covers the entire mountain area, has now completed its first year of operation, logging 108 trips. The non-profit, all volunteer organization is made possible by the combined efforts of three dispatchers, 11 drivers, and 17 attendants There are at least three people standing by and available around the clock to serve our community.
* The Ponderosa Pines Theater is showing “The Art of Love” in Technicolor, with James Garner, Dick Van Dyke, Elke Sommer, Angie Dickinson, and Ethel Merman.
40 Years Ago
* Central California’s mountains and valley are experiencing a significant dry cycle. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported that precipitation during November and December was less than 30% of normal. As a result, the federal agency is preparing for a short water year ahead. Regional Director Billy Martin says that reservoir levels are low and releases to support downstream flows could cause problems for reservoirs used heavily for recreation.
* The new, quarter million dollar Sierra Telephone Company building, located across from the post office on Road 426, is progressing. Plans call for its opening by next December.
* Road construction on Route 140 into Yosemite ends for the duration of the winter season, announced Superintendent Les Arnberger. Visitors to Yosemite are advised to watch for icy spots on roads. Tire chains may be mandatory, and drivers should be aware of snow plows and sanding crews. He warned hikers and cross-country skiers to be prepared for sudden changes in weather.
* Classified Ads: Practically new – 3 BR 2 BA – kitchen built in – central heating/air conditioning – ideal location - $36,500.
30 Years Ago
* Horst Pokorra takes pride in his unique miniature train layout. The Pokorras moved to Oakhurst from East Germany at the request of his relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Clark. Pokorra smuggled out a special locomotive when he immigrated. His present train set-up depicts Europe in miniature. Everything in his collection comes from Europe. He has 50 trains, and his train room is a miniature railroad museum.
* Yosemite High School students will participate in Mock Trial competition. The first session will be at the Sierra Justice Court in the Bass Lake Government Center, with Judge Richard McMechan presiding. The Yosemite team will meet a team from Madera High School. This competition is sponsored by the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the State Bar of California, and the California Young Lawyers Association. The case this year is School Vandalism. Students portray prosecuting and defending attorneys, court clerks, bailiffs, and witnesses.
* Six Yosemite High football players have been named to the 1985 All-Madera County Team by the Madera Tribune sports staff. There are 22 players on the team. Local players named are Skip Briner, Tim Kuykendall, Brian Lowney, Charles Brooks, Mando Ruiz, and David Robberson. Lowney was named to both the offensive and defensive teams. On the offense side, Briner was selected as running back, Kuykendall as wide receiver, and Lowney as line. On the defense, Lowney was chosen for line, Brooks for line, Ruiz as linebacker, and Robberson as secondary. Robberson is the only junior from YHS to be selected; all of the others are seniors.
20 Years Ago
* Rumors have surfaced again that Wal-Mart has purchased land in Oakhurst. This is not true, according to John Grimes, real estate manager at corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Grimes said he oversees all site selection in California and he has not been to Oakhurst. He said they are not actively looking for land in Oakhurst now. That might change in a year or so, he said, but for now, the rumors are not true.
* The Madera County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol both issued warnings last week to people to take their keys and lock their cars. According to the CHP, a total of nine vehicles have been stolen in and around Oakhurst since Dec. 1, most of them with keys left in them. It seems that many residents tend to get a false sense of security by living in the mountains and away from the “big city” crimes. CHP Lt. G. Rosenberg states that “Vehicle theft is a major problem everywhere, regardless of where you may live, and the CHP warns all vehicle owners to lock it, or you may lose it.”
* District 19 Representative George Radanovich told a group of Eastern Madera business owners that “I firmly believe what I did was right” in holding firm on balancing the budget. There is a possibility of another partial government closure by the end of this month if agreements are not reached; however, Radanovich assured the business owners that Yosemite and other national parks will remain open this time.