Madera County drought-ridden 40 years ago

Compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of Fresno Flats Research Library and the Sierra Star.

50 Years Ago

*  Yosemite National Park, in a letter to Walter T. Shannon of the California Department of Fish and Game, has requested approval of public hunts outside the park boundaries to reduce its deer herds. Range-transect readings in 1965 revealed a 60% reduction in forage plants since 1961. The need is a reduction of 1,500 antlerless deer to be taken on the winter range in 1966.

*  Oakhurst 4-H team won the high-scoring team trophy at the shorthorn beef judging day held at the Chapman Shorthorn Ranch in LeGrand. They competed with about 200 4-Hers and Future Farmers of America from Merced, Mariposa, Stanislaus, and Madera Counties. Members of the top-scoring team were Claudia Chipman, Chuck Chipman, and Peggy Madaus, and they were coached by 4-H leader Virginia Hartman.

*  With the advent of warm weather, activity has been stepped up on construction in the Midway area in the heart of downtown Oakhurst. Already open for business is The Jays, specializing in photography and photographic supplies. Pumps have been installed for the new $90,000 Chevron station, scheduled to open for business May 1. Currently under construction is Clementine’s Trinket Corner. Leveling has been completed and trees set out for a park area adjoining the Fresno River.

*  Midway Super Market advertises bananas at two pounds for 25 cents, tomatoes at 19 cents a pound, avocados at two for 35 cents, Campbell’s tomato soup 10 for $1, Jell-O 10 for $1, and lean ground beef three pounds for $1.29.

40 Years Ago

*  The cowling off the engine of a Castle Air Force Base B-52 crashed into the ground at the Wiki-Up Ranch, 15 miles northeast of North Fork. Witness Ruth Foster said, “It crashed with a big noise that scared the horses.” Fearing the crash of a plane, police, fire, and other emergency personnel responded, but there were no injuries as the big bomber limped home to its base.

*  Drought makes Madera and Fresno disaster areas. They are among the 13 counties that California Governor Brown asked the federal government to declare as disaster areas. Madera County estimated losses at $25 million. Farmers may get low interest federal relief loans.

*  Many local merchants have joined in a “Shop Locally” drive, stating that recent government figures indicate the cost of a 100-mile round trip, including gas, oil, repairs, insurance, and depreciation is $15.

*  The movie “Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot,” presented by North American Productions, Oregon, Ltd., will be shown at the Ponderosa Pines Theatre and Ponderosa Minarets North Fork for one day only.

30 Years Ago

*  The Yosemite High School Junior Engineering and Technological Society (JETS) took first place in the Fresno-Madera Counties competition as CSUF. They won 13 of the 18 individual awards given.

*  Area businesses hit by a big storm. John Ades’ Garden Home Nursery suffered at least $50,000 worth of damage. The Lunch Pail had 12 inches of water in it. Darlene Coyle said they washed everything, shampooed the carpet, and waxed the floor, and then it flooded again. She laughed because if she didn’t she said she’d have cried.

*  Traditional folk music is as natural as life itself to Bob DeWitt. He is the moving force behind the effort to sponsor a live Bluegrass and folk festival in the Oakhurst-Mariposa region. DeWitt singled out the Cunningham School at Oakhurst’s Fresno Flats Historical Park as an ideal location for concerts that he has been sponsoring since he moved to these hills two decades ago. “I find it most satisfying because I can share the joys of ‘old’ music with others,” he said.

*  The State of California’s new mandatory seatbelt law is being enforced strictly following a 60-day period in which motorists were given time to get used to wearing belts.

20 Years Ago

*  A series of five meetings will be held to provide information to the community about a newly proposed high school in the Road 200 and Highway 41 area. The meetings are being sponsored by the Minarets Joint Union High School District and the Yosemite Union High School District.

*  Teachers at Oak Creek Intermediate and Mariposa Middle School were online last week learning teaching methods utilizing the Distance Learning equipment. Distance Learning technology is considered a valuable tool for teachers and students in rural areas. Sierra Telephone is working on expanding the service to even more schools in the area by connecting them to the fiber optic cable.

*  According to the draft environmental impact report for the proposed Oakhurst-Ahwahnee Area Plan, the availability of water resources and the disposal of sewage effluent ultimately will be controlling factors in determining future growth. In Oakhurst, Roger Forrester, president of Hillview Water Company which serves some 1,200 homes and businesses in the area, says that no one can predict the future supply of our water resources, but, based on historical data collected over the years, he believes there is sufficient water to meet Hillview’s service area needs for the foreseeable future, assuming a population growth of five percent per year in the developing area. Looking at the long range picture, Forrester says, “Ultimately, 20, 30, or 50 years in the future, water will have to be imported from outside the basin.”