Compiled by Debby Carter from the archives of Fresno Flats Research Library and the Sierra Star.
50 years ago
* North Fork 4-H member Darline Farrar came home with top honors in the Angus steer competition at the Junior Grand National Livestock Exposition at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. The steer, bred by the Wiley Ranch of North Fork, was sold at auction for 45 cents a pound. FFA member Rick Pamplin of Ahwahnee had the reserve champion honors in the middle-weight Angus competition.
* Rose Champion and William Melvin were chosen as grand marshals for this year’s Coarsegold rodeo. Both have lived here all their lives. Rose’s father drove a stagecoach, and at times the family lived in Yosemite Valley. After her parents’ marriage ended, her mother married Charles Melvin, a hard rock miner, in 1893, and William was born of this wedlock in 1900. Their present home is on the point where Greaser Gulch meets Deadwood Creek. William followed mining until 1940. The pair’s grandmother, Mrs. Louisa Krohn, at one time owned most of Coarsegold, including the store and the St. Charles Hotel.
* Coarsegold expects an influx of more than 5,000 for their annual rodeo events. Saturday’s events will be free, with calf-scrambling and jackpot roping occupying most of the day. A pre-rodeo dance at the community hall in the evening will be western tradition with music by the Outcasts. Sunday, the big day will open at 10 a.m. A pit barbecue at noon will start the afternoon’s action-packed events. Tom Kelley and his trick mule from Bakersfield will provide the comic highlights. Murray Ward will handle the announcing.
* The Real Estate classified advertises 15 rolling acres on a county road, pond, trees, and springs, priced to sell at $8,750.
40 years ago
* Sierra Historic Sites Association president Guy Howard invites the community to share with them in viewing Bi-Centennial films prepared by the government and presented by Jack Gyer at Whittenberg Hall, Oakhurst Community Church.
* As water quality and quantity is becoming of increasing importance to mountain community residents, talk of construction of a reservoir at Soquel is surfacing again. A 1966 Department of Water Resources report is being revisited. This proposes an 8,000-acre foot dam on the North Fork of Willow Creek, with the water to be fed to all mountain communities. Smaller dams on Nelder and Lewis Creeks would divert water to Oakhurst and Ahwahnee, while a third structure on Willow Creek would feed the Bass Lake and Coarsegold areas. County Supervisor Bill Hill, who is seeking reelection, says the project would be his priority in a new term.
* “New Look” to Coarsegold Rodeo, as two major changes have been made this year. Rodeo events will be held on Saturday and Sunday. Added to the main rodeo will be a Junior Rodeo on Saturday. Judges for these events are Gary Pamplin and Coleman Alberta. Terry Taylor will be the clown. Kathy Whitehead, chairman of the rodeo queen contest, urges all girls 16-20 to get their entry blanks in. Bunny Simmons, last year’s queen, will crown the new queen.
30 years ago
* The Yosemite High School Board of Trustees has approved the wearing of walking and Bermuda shorts to school on warm days. The request was presented by Amy Cole, student representative to the board, who said that the student government would help to enforce the rules. The board had indicated that it felt that the wearing of shorts was detrimental to a learning environment, but agreed to it on a trial basis. Previously, shorts were allowed only on designated warm days during the warmer months.
* The Eastern Madera County Chamber of Commerce announced that more than 400 booths have been reserved for the eighth annual Mountain Peddlers’ Fair, to be held Memorial Day weekend. The flea market emphasizes antiques and collectibles, including everything from electric trains to old jewelry, farm equipment to glassware ad pottery. A pancake breakfast, baked goods, barbecued hamburgers, and Indian tacos will be available for the hungry.
* CDF warns of fire danger due to three years of above normal rainfall in Madera County that has brought on unusually heavy grass growth. Fire destroys homes and property, damages watershed, and also kills people. Gary Gilbert, county fire chief and ranger-in-charge of the California Department of Forestry, also cautions of the severe fire season ahead, and said, “The potential for devastating wildland fires during 1986 is extreme.” Now is the time to burn debris and large brush piles.
20 years ago
* For the second consecutive year, the Yosemite High girls’ softball team has captured the 10-team Kerman Varsity Softball Tournament. Yosemite went 6-0 in the tournament, including s thrilling 3-3 win over host Kerman High. Yosemite’s Jennifer Green was named most valuable player of the tournament, and Kati Franck was named the tournament’s most valuable pitcher for the second year in a row. Also making all tournament were Brittany Burns and Teri Judd.
* Local gasoline prices have increased on the average by 35 cents over the last two weeks. The average price for regular unleaded is $1.52 a gallon, and premium is $1.75 a gallon in the Mountain Area. A growing controversy about why prices are going up was discussed by several local owners. Some said it isn’t the service station but the gas companies who are asking for the increase. One station owner said price increases have been attributed to the new Environmental Protection Agency regulation for cleaner gasoline. All of the station owners said that profit margins are lower than usual.
* The Mountain Bear Fan Club recently donated teddy bears to the Oakhurst Urgent Care and Fire Department. The bears, given to adults and children who are frightened or in pain, are donated to the club or purchased with money from the club’s fundraisers. The club gives away about 100 bears a month.