Debby Carter

Remember when ...

In this July 20, 1976 file photo, officials remove a truck buried at a rock quarry in Livermore, in which 26 Chowchilla school children and their bus driver, Ed Ray were held captive. Ray was hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three men kidnapped the group and buried the entire bus underground in 1976. He died May 17, 2012 at the age of 91.
In this July 20, 1976 file photo, officials remove a truck buried at a rock quarry in Livermore, in which 26 Chowchilla school children and their bus driver, Ed Ray were held captive. Ray was hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three men kidnapped the group and buried the entire bus underground in 1976. He died May 17, 2012 at the age of 91. Associated Press

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

50 years ago

Gov. Edmund G. Brown renewed his support for a bill to revive active production of the gold mining industry in the California Mother Lode country. Congressman Harold T. “Bizz” Johnson has moved it further along on the legislative road. Brown said that, “The proposed legislation would give assistance amounting to 6% of bullion receipts to operating mines, based on previous years’ production.”

Plans to interest Oakhurst businessmen and residents in restoring the historic and western background of the area will come up at the Oakhurst Merchants’ Committee, according to Jack Gyer, president. Suggestions made include hitching posts by stores, addition of memorabilia, and the possibility of special events during the year.

Bass Lake officials crack down on litter. A new raft was purchased at a cost of $1,800 for conducting tours of the lake, but also to clean up more than ten miles of beach that are carpeted with litter by thoughtless skiers and picnickers. Patrolmen in the Bass Lake area are writing up litter violations each day, and those cited are subject to an appearance before the Federal Commissioner.

40 years ago

Chowchilla celebrates its heroes, big and small. Bus Driver Ed Ray and the 26 children who were abducted in their school bus were in a parade held in their honor and to express thanks for their safe return. Ray was honored for his courage and level-headedness in his role of helping the escape by digging out from the sealed and buried van into which the kidnappers put them.

On Thursday, September 9 at 8:30 a.m., the $4 million, three-year investment known as Yosemite High School will come to life. More than 430 students are expected to arrive for school at YHS, marking an end to what has been a long and often bitter battle to produce a high school for Eastern Madera County. The idea of personal contact between the school and a student’s home is the core of what YHS officials believe will be one of the most innovative and advanced secondary schools in America.

K-F Construction Company’s bid of $155,501 was selected by the Board of Supervisors for building the library-firehouse-ambulance bay complex in Oakhurst. The building should begin in mid-September and be completed in six months, said Ken Davis, part owner of K-F Construction.

30 years ago

Work continues on repairs to the Grub Gulch area at the Oakhurst Community Center in preparation for Mountaineer Days. This work is necessary due to the effects of time, weather, and vandalism, which have taken a toll on the 24-year-old structures.

Construction to begin next week on the bridge at Oakhurst Community Park, according to park chairman David Linn. The park area has been graded and is ready for installation of sprinklers, contouring, and construction of the gazebo. Sewer lines are completed and the park area will be fenced before liability insurance is available.

Fomes root rot fungus in trees in Yosemite National Park is “intensifying now,” said Lorne West, Park Forester, and cutting the sickest trees has begun. The fungus is affecting all conifers (pine, fire, cedar), white elders, and cottonwoods. The fungus spreads by root contact and moves about two feet per year. Mr. West says the root rot is a native pathogen in all forests. Trees cut due to insect damage, and stumps left, hasten the spread of Fomes. He reports that since 1977 they have cut 1,000 to 2,000 trees per year.

20 years ago

A receptive, hand-clapping audience at the Golden Chain Theatre heard a 1960s style concert of popular folk songs presented by former New Christy Minstrels star Barry McGuire and his new group, consisting of Terry Talbot, Les Haynes, and Scott Hunter. The group, which calls itself The Talbot McGuire Show, performed such favorites as “Green, Green,” “This Land is Your Land,” “Eve of Destruction,” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Sometime during the night and/or morning of Tuesday and Wednesday, unknown persons entered the Sierra Mono Museum in North Fork and took about 100 Indian baskets and Indian artifacts. Museum officials are still doing inventory to determine the dollar amount of the loss; however, Anna Dandy, museum director, noted that the items are “invaluable” and range from 75 to 300 years old. According to Detective Ray Kern of the Madera County Sheriff’s Department, there have been recent similar thefts in Kern, Tulare, and Fresno counties. The FBI will be assisting the sheriff’s department in the investigation.

The new North Fork Ranger Station, Minarets District, U.S. Forest Service, was dedicated Friday during ceremonies outside of the new building. The historic North Fork Ranger Station was destroyed by fire March 5, 1992. The new office was built on the same location, and the exterior design resembles the old building. A special feature of the new station is the three-story wing, which has North Fork’s only elevator. Minarets District Ranger Chris Nota commented during the dedication that “a building has a melody,” and, she believes, the new building has a melody similar to the old one.

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