Remember when ...

General Box Company was located at the site of the current Old Mill Village
General Box Company was located at the site of the current Old Mill Village Sierra Star / Fresno Flats Archives

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

50 years ago

General Box Distributors of Oakhurst established the best 1966 sawmill safety record among the 11 sawmill operations in California. Final figures show total man hours worked at the mill to be 69,343, with no lost time for injuries incurred the entire year. The Oakhurst mill, under the direction of J. T. Dee, Jr., cut more than 16,000,000 board feet last year.

Mountain Merchants Association donned early-day attire and welcomed three new members at their last meeting. President Ray Colburn welcomed Lou-Ease Yarn Shop (Mrs. Louise M. Osten), Marv’s Chevron Service (Marvin Williams), and the new Snowline Lodge (Lou Lydell, Manager).

Classified ads: Almost new three-bedroom home, Broadview Terrace subdivision, close to everything, $11,950.

40 years ago

The Madera County Board of Supervisors last week refused to award a building permit to Freedom Homes, Inc., of Fresno, developers of a planned 24-unit apartment complex off Highway 49 until verification of adequate water supply and a bonded contract for the construction of a 500,000-gallon reservoir are provided.

Twenty fires occurred in January in the Mountain Area, 13 involving structures or dwellings, Bob Vaughan, fire prevention officer for the California Department of Forestry, has announced. He said the major cause of the fires was defective flues or chimneys or flue burnouts. Vaughan urged residents using pine or pitch wood to clean out their chimneys because of the heavier soot buildup.

Melinda Fox, 16-year- old junior from YHS has captured first place in the Oakhurst Lions Club Student Speaker contest. The competition was held at the Snowline. Melinda beat out Yosemite students Allen Bruce and Jerry Dorchuck. All three spoke on the topic “Government of the People, By the People - Fact or Fiction?” Fox now moves on to zone competition against winners from other Lions Clubs in the area. There will be regional and district contests, with the district winner receiving a $3,600 scholarship.

30 years ago

George Cook, of Coarsegold, won $50,000 in the California Lottery Big Spin in Sacramento. Cook works for the California State Dept. of Parks and Recreation at Millerton Lake. He said he would get a four-wheel drive pick-up for himself, a horse for his wife, and use some of the money for his son’s college expenses.

Jerry Bishop, of the Save Our Streams Council (SOS), told local residents protesting the Lewis Fork Creek Hydroelectric Project that their only recourse is to appeal the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the project. “We have only one recourse - fight and do battle,” Bishop said. He warned that it could take years to stop the project. The proposed project consists of a diversion dam on Lewis Creek at an elevation of 4,000 feet, which would divert part of the existing flow of Corlieu Falls into a 42-inch pipeline 7,000 feet long, then through a tailrace of a 20-foot by 30- foot powerhouse with a 4.2 megawatt generation capacity. Madera County Supervisor Harry Baker, addressing residents said, “This sort of thing is a real tragedy for our mountains.”

Alternate Energy Resources, Inc., President Dale Lucas is “sick and tired” of SOS efforts to prevent his development of a small hydroelectric project on Lewis Creek. Lucas said the SOS claim that the project was sneaked through the governmental process is wrong. The Lewis Creek project received a U.S. Forest Service finding of “No Significant Impact” in January and is being considered for licensing. He said as a developer, he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure the project doesn’t destroy aesthetics, cultural aspects, botany, and rare and endangered plants. There would be no significant impact.

20 years ago

A detailed breakdown of the $178,053,000 estimated cost of repairs following the early January flood in Yosemite National Park shows that nearly half will be for structural losses, almost all of which was to National Park Service-owned and Yosemite Concession Services-operated buildings. Rental cabins, motel rooms, restrooms, laundromats, shower houses, employee housing, concession support structures, the historic Valley Chapel, management offices and roads were damaged or destroyed.

Lieutenant Allen Conway has announced his plans to retire from the Madera County Sheriff’s Department. He has dedicated 38 years of his life to serve our community in various ways, more than 25 of those in law enforcement. A lifetime resident, he has been in charge of the Narcotics Enforcement Team, and formerly headed the Eastern Madera County division of the Sheriff’s Department headquartered at Bass Lake.

The water content of the Sierra snowpack was almost 200% of normal when it was checked by U.S. Forest Service personnel a few days ago. The statistics make the 1996-97 winter the wettest on record through January, according to Forest Service records for North Fork dating back to 1904.