First woman judge in county died 50 years ago

The Sierra Star is bringing back one of the paper’s most popular columns from the past - “Remember When” - featuring news from the Sierra Star archives going back 50 years. The first column appears below.

Fresno Flats Research Library volunteer Debby Carter will compile the column from the Sierra Star archives that are kept at the research library. The columns will highlight news items previously published in the Star 50, 40, 30, and 20 years ago.

“Our readers have often asked about bringing back the column,” Betty Linn, publisher of the Star said. “People like to read the historical milestones of the Mountain Area and the people who were in the news at that time.”

50 Years Ago

* Oakhurst’s Lev Mill on Sky Ranch Road (where the old teepee burner still stands) shut down for two months for installation of new equipment, which is part of the improvement program started by Harry Lev when he purchased the mill in 1958.

* Death called Marcia Putney, judge in the North Fork Justice Court, the only woman judge to serve in Madera County. She had donated her property in North Fork, the former Peace Cabin and first headquarters of the Sierra National Forest, to be used as a camp for disabled children.

* Elbert and Mildred Guyett, owners of the Sierra Sky Ranch Golf Course, have arranged for golf pro Mike Bellows to give lessons at Sky Ranch every Thursday.

* Midway Market is advertising T-bone steak for $1.29 per pound, sugar 10 pounds for 98¢, seedless grapes two pounds for 25¢, and casaba melons 4¢ per pound.

40 Years Ago

* Yosemite High School officials are entering the “paper phase” of planning for the new high school, which will open next fall. During the year until opening, district officials will be developing policies and guidelines for the new school. The goal is to ensure that the school will be attuned to existing community programs.

* The Bull Buck Giant Sequoia in Nelder Grove lost its bid to be the world’s biggest tree. The General Sherman tree in Sequioa National Park had more bulk when all its measurements were taken into consideration.

* The Madera County Board of Supervisors has approved going back to the use of road names rather than numbers in Eastern Madera County - however, the county will not pay for any sign changes. County road department officials say it will cost $30-$40 per sign to change each of the approximately 100 signs involved.

* Whitey’s Produce at Neufeld’s Ahwahnee Store is advertising seedless grapes for 29¢ per pound, fresh ripe peaches three pounds for 59¢, two one-pound cello bags of carrots for 25¢, and 10 pounds of Russet potatoes for 73¢.

30 Years Ago

* Yosemite National Park becomes a World Heritage Site, and Mount Adams is dedicated. The attendees to the ceremony included Donald Hodel, Secretary of the Interior; Alan Cranston, U.S. Senator (CA); Gil Grosvenor, president of the National Geographic Society; and Robert Redford, actor and environmentalist. Ansel Adams’ widow, Virginia, was an honored guest, and his son, Michael, stated that his father “took ownership of that mountain in 1921 ... it was his favorite place on earth.”

* Yosemite High School enrollment for the new school year will exceed 720 students, a substantial increase over last year. Also, last school year the YHS senior class recorded the highest California Assessment Program scores in the entire Central California region.

* Gary Gilbert was appointed Ranger in Charge of the Madera-Mariposa unit of the California Department of Forestry, succeeding the retiring Dean Monsen. Gilbert had previously been involved in fire protection planning in the Sacramento headquarters of CDF.

* The Sierra Star/Home Advertiser has moved to new offices in the old Bank of America building at the Oakhurst Shopping Center, next to the post office, on Crane Valley Road (426).

20 Years Ago

* A new version of a bear trap was left in the Hodges Hill subdivision of Oakhurst. Francine Valdez has had a bear in her carport, where she keeps her refrigerator, four different times. After the third visit, she had a fog horn alarm installed. This was successful in driving the bear off on its fourth visit.

* The Mud Bogs at Mountaineer Days was as popular as ever. Categories included V-8, Four and Six Cylinder, Powder Puff, Buggies, Hard Luck, Prettiest Car, and Ugliest Car.

* Phase I of Rivergold Elementary School construction is underway. This phase will add a five-classroom pod, restrooms, and a lower playfield to the K-6 school in Coarsegold. Phase II calls for the building of a cafeteria and multipurpose room.

* Valley Children’s Hospital breaks ground in Madera County. One of the largest building projects in Central California, the new hospital will more than double the space of the current facility.

NOTE: Remember When is compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of the Sierra Star and the Fresno Flats Research Library.