T. R. Williams

Remember When

A look at Badger Pass decades ago.
A look at Badger Pass decades ago. Sierra Star / Fresno Flats Archives

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

50 years ago

Singer-actor Dennis Morgan, resident of Ahwahnee, sang several solos at the Community Center Christmas party. Morgan, known to his local friends as Stan Morner, led those attending in an old-fashioned community sing of favorite Christmas Carols.

Sierra Telephone again is making available a direct line to the North Pole so that kiddies of the Mountain Area may make personal calls to Santa Claus. Free long distance calls to the North Pole may be made, says Harry Baker, president of the phone company.

Tommie Underwood was reelected chief of the Madera County Oakhurst Volunteer Fire Department. He emphasized that chimney fires are prevalent at this time of year, and urged use of “Red Devil” in fireplaces to clean out the soot. Frayed wires and overloaded electrical outlets

can mean damage to property and lives.

40 years ago

The Sierra Star, under its new owners, will begin publishing a full-size newspaper, rather than its current tabloid format, on Jan. 6 . Cleon and Katherine Jones announced that they have sold the weekly paper in Oakhurst and the North Fork Journal. They will continue to operate the print shop and stationary store under new names. Both papers will be run by a newly formed corporation, Sierra News, Inc., headed by Stan Lesher, president, also publisher of the Madera Tribune.

The California State University Fresno orchestra, led by conductor Fred Dempster, put on a concert last week at the Golden Chain Theatre.

Badger Pass is all ready to go. “All it needs is snow,” says Nic Fiore, who has been waiting since last March. California is experiencing one of the driest years ever. There are usually 60-65 employees by this time of year, but now only Fiore, a security guard, and two park rangers are on duty there.

30 years ago

A balloon set off by Wasuma School students during their anti-drug week has been found in Panora, Iowa, by the David W. Mills family. The message in the balloon from Scott Stevens reads, “Drugs are deadly. Just say no.” The Mills family have four children and said that they have been involved in the Just Say No program, also.

Yosemite High School’s Mock Trial Team A has defeated the YHS Team B to win the final round of the Madera County Mock Trial competition. The case was a true historical criminal case set in the 1850s. Judge Ed Moffat presided over the final round. A YHS team will go to Sacramento for the California State Mock Trial competition and will be a combination of the strengths of both teams, said Coach Larry Pesetski.

Karen Schultz of Oakhurst picked up $363.71 worth of groceries in five minutes during Cromwell’s Market shopping spree. Schultz’s name was drawn and entitled her to all the free groceries she could carry to the check stand.

20 years ago

The Yosemite Union High School Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a policy that allows the district to administer breathalyzer tests on school campus and off campus at school events. The new policy will be in force at the Winter Formal, as well as at all other district events.

A report details economic losses resulting from last winter’s shut down of Yosemite and other national parks. The sudden loss of park visitors led to an overall estimated loss up to $8.9 million in direct sales in and around the park, as well as a loss up to $10,000 a day in county tax revenue.

Major, the K-9 partner of Deputy Sheriff Phil Atkins, and Max, the partner of Deputy Jim Bernardi, were part of a group of Eastern Madera County sheriff’s deputies and Law Enforcement Explorer Scouts headed by Lieutenant Frank Benard who accompanied Santa Claus on visits to the Community Living Center and White Oaks Guest Home, distributing flowers, candy, cookies, and holiday greetings. The Yosemite High School Chamber Singers were along to serenade at both visits.