Thursday, December 27, 2007

DECEMBER INDEX -- And Oregon Frozen Food’s Nephi Grigg says company paid nation’s highest price for corn

Dec. 23 --- The Argus Observes: Learning about Santa and the perfect sled
Dec. 20 --- Gladys Broadhurst brought to Vale for trial
Dec. 20 --- Polio epidemic ends in Malheur County after worst year across the U.S.
Dec. 17 --- The Argus Observes: “No evidence that athletes drank any beer”
Dec. 13 --- Investigation of juvenile beer drinking begins; four OHS basketball players suspended from team
Dec. 10 --- The Argus Observes --- Standing room only at new gym
Dec. 6 --- State Police break up a beer bust, arrest four teen-agers
Dec. 3 --- The Argus Observes --- Remembering Bob Morford

Oregon Frozen Food’s Nephi Grigg says company paid nation’s highest price for corn

Nephi Grigg, president of Oregon Frozen Foods --- soon to become the Ore-Ida company --- told a gathering of growers that the company had paid the highest contract price in the nation for sweet corn during the 1952 season, The Argus-Observer reported on Dec. 22.

The contract price was $25 a ton with quality bonuses that brought the top payment up to $40 a ton.

Grigg, who earlier announced that the company’s Ontario plant would begin processing frozen potato products in January, attributed the rapid success of the new business to its organization as a private company with features of a cooperative. Managers and key individuals are heavy investors he told 300 contract growers who gathered for an annual banquet at the Moore Hotel in Ontario.

That year the company paid $30,000 in dividends, $10,000 in bonuses and $400,000 in grower payments, according to its president.

Directors of the company at that time were Nephi’s brother Golden T. Grigg, Glen E. Call, who was company secretary-treasurer, Ross E. Butler, Dr. Leslie J. Emmett, Pat J. Gallagher, Ken Inahara, and Otis Williams.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Argus Observes: Learning about Santa and the perfect sled

By Don Lynch
From The Argus Observer for Dec. 24, 1953

Parents playing Santa Claus must often be reminded of their own childhood experiences at Christmas time.

My own first memory in connection with Christmas if of my father explaining the Santa Claus legend, perhaps in response to a query from me, before I was old enough to go to school.

I have no recollection of being shocked or disappointed. Instead it was rather a sensation being let in on a delightful secret.

My sister, Ruth, heard all of the explanation and I remember my childish annoyance at her sometime later when she had forgotten all about it and insisted on the reality of Santa Claus.

Then I remember the intense excitement of Christmas Eve. I was always sure that I would never be able to go to sleep for I could not wait for morning to come.

As I grew older the most pleasant association with Christmas came in helping my mother wrap gifts and fix the tree after the younger children had gone to bed.

When I was old enough to go to work shining shoes, selling papers, and later carrying papers, I got more fun out of having my own money to spend for Christmas than any other benefit.

I remember as if it were yesterday shopping on Christmas Eve when the stores were open late, and finding a sturdy little table and chairs for my sister Louise, 10 years younger than I.

They had been marked down very low for late clearance and I got them at quite a bargain or I could not have bought them. She played with them a great deal and they lasted a long time.

One Christmas gift now in recollection stands out above all others of my childhood because it fitted the year to perfection.

It was a sled received in about the best winter for sledding that this country ever had. It must have been the winter of 1923-24, although It might have been a year later.

We lived in the Sunny Slope community south of Caldwell and the mail carrier brought it just two days before Christmas. It couldn’t then be kept a secret and mother explained to the other kids that it had been sent ahead because Santa lacked room to carry it.

What a wonderful combination of circumstances. It started to snow within 24 hours and got a good foot deep. Then it froze hard, about 30 below zero, forming a thick crust on topof the snow --- thick enough to walk on and thick enough to hold up the sled with myweight. The snow lasted for six weeks.

We lived at the foot of a hill and there were other hills in nearby fields. I got in more sledding during that Christmas vacation than most kids are lucky enough to experience in their entire childhood.

That was a thrilling experience for I don’t knowwhat a kid ever does that ismore fun than sledding down a hill at breakneck speed.

There’s nothing like Christmas for a youngster.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gladys Broadhurst brought to Vale for trial

The Dec. 19, 1946 Ontario Argus reported that Gladys Broadhurst of Caldwell had been indicted for murder and brought to Vale for trial, beginning the saga of one of the most infamous murder trials in Eastern Oregon history. The elements included a local cowboy who carried out the murder at the behest of his noir-type lover and well-to-do victim, a former chiropractor with a ranch in the expansive south county country surrounding Jordan Valley. For more on the opening of the case, follow our link to our T.C. Lessons blog.

Polio epidemic ends in Malheur County after worst year across the U.S.

Editor’s note: 1952 proved to be the worst year for polio in the history of Malheur County and across the nation. Nationally there were 57,628 reported cases that year, three years before the inject able Salk vaccine was declared safe for widespread use. The oral Sabine vaccine began to be administered in 1961, soon eradicating polio in this country.)

The Dec. 15, 1952 issue of The Argus-Observer reported that the polio epidemic in the Malheur County area had ended on Nov. 5 with 78 cases treated in the polio ward of a Nyssa hospital, including 47 people from Malheur County.

There were five deaths from polio at the hospital during the year. Those five were Tony Liebag and his mother Dorothy of Hines, Oregon, Kathleen Lowe of Payette, Julia Ann Kirby of Baker and Gary Lee Denton of Baker County.

Another five Malheur County cases were reported receiving treatment at other hospitals or at home, bringing the total for the county for the year to 52.

L.A. Maulding, the Malheur County health officer, said he was surprised at how suddenly the epidemic stopped. The epidemic lasted four months, with polio patients were checking into the Nyssa hospital at a rate of almost one a day until Nov. 5, when they abruptly stopped. In 1947, the worst previous polio year in the county, the epidemic lasted seven months but with just 24 cases reported countywide.

With the epidemic apparently over, three patients who were treated at the hospital required rehabilitation including one 17-year-old boy who was paralyzed from the waist down, Maulding said.

Maulding told the newspaper that he hoped to raise awareness and funding for a rehabilitation wing at the Nyssa hospital, where patients needing such treatment from throughout Eastern Oregon could be served.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Argus Observes: “No evidence that athletes drank any beer”

By Don Lynch
From The Argus-Observer for Dec. 18, 1952

“There was no evidence that the athletes in question actually drank any beer,” high school principal Robert McConnaha told me Tuesday.

He was explaining last week’s incident in which several basketball players were temporarily suspended from the team because of their association with an alleged student beer-drinking episode. I had told him that on the basis of the information we had gained in reporting the news, it appeared the affair had been mishandled by school authorities.

Here briefly is what we knew of what had happened:

School officials permitted police to use an office at the high school to question students in connection with the sale of beer to juveniles. Thus the school became by association entangled in a problem that was not a school responsibility except in so far as the violation of athletic training rules might have been involved.

A few athletes were in the party which was said to have had beer in possession. Members of the team were consulted on their opinion and they voted unanimously, according to report, to drop the players, three of whom were first team basketball men.

Two days later the school officials announced that the players had been returned to the squad and said the incident was “closed.”

Many basketball fans and school patrons were concerned with the appearance of the whole affair. Dropping of the players certainly made it appear that they were guilty of some infraction. Their quick return to the team indicated they had received little discipline.

I was concerned along with other people. Tuesday I told the school principal so and sought a further explanation.

It was then that McConnaha explained to me that there was actually no evidence the athletes had participated in any drinking. They were caught in the familiar and often disastrous situation of “guilt by association.”

He further revealed that the school authorities did not overrule the vote of the team to suspend the players. The team members reconsidered their decision and came to the principal asking that the suspended players be returned to the squad, he said.

It developed, McConnaha reported, that the original decision of the team to suspend the players was based not on the incident in question but on a succession of grievances accumulated over a period of a year or so. On reflection, the voting team members concluded many of them had themselves been guilty of shortcomings similar to those used as a basis for suspending the players. They reconsidered and decided the players should be returned to the team.

This is all a somewhat involved situation and it apparently never occurred to the school officials that any further public explanation was needed. They felt the situation had been satisfactorily solved and the matter settled so no further comment was needed.

Normally they might have been right. They are used to handling similar disciplinary problems that occur frequently and never come to the light of public attention.

The difference this time lay in the fact that this incident had come to public attention by a mere coincidence. There was a story of police investigation of the alleged sale of beer to miners. At the same time a sports story noted that some basketball players had been suspended or alleged infraction of training rules. The two stories automatically fitted together and revealed an incident of apparent involvement of athletes in a beer drinking party.

I hope that this further explanation which completes the information will help to answer doubts as to how the matter was handled.

During our discussion “Mac” and I disagreed on one point. I thought it a mistake to permit police to use a school office for investigating an incident that itself had no relation to the schools.

The principal said he would rather have such an investigation run where he would watch it than under police questioning elsewhere. He thought that within the school the matter could thus be better handled for the youngsters involved. He also thought it might be good for the other youngsters to see how easily an apparently trivial escapade could come to police attention.

I doubt it. An unnecessary police investigation in the school --- upsetting the atmosphere within the school and coluding the reputation of the school through needless “guilt by association” --- seems to me to be more damaging than helpful.

But that is simply a matter of opinion. The important thing is that the public had only half truths for its judgment of the basketball player discipline, and then the incident was considered “closed” by the school men.

The public is entitled to know what goes on it its schools. When chance reveals half of the information in an awkward situation, the full information should be provided in order to clarify public understanding.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Investigation of juvenile beer drinking begins; four OHS basketball players suspended from team

(Editor’s note: This running story comes under the categories of kids will be kids and some things never change. There will be another installment next week.)

The Dec. 11, 1952 Argus-Observer reported that Malheur County District Attorney Charles Swan asked the county sheriff and state police to pursue an investigation into “alleged beer drinking parties indulged in by Ontario High School students.”

On the same day, The Argus-Observer reported on its sports page that four players had been dropped from the high school basketball squad for “violation of training rules.”

Robert McConnaha said that the activities of 18 students, including five basketball players, were being reviewed in connection with the alleged beer drinking parties.

The investigation grew out of a state police arrest almost two weeks earlier of four juveniles --- two girls from Ontario and two boys from Payette --- who were discovered drinking beer in a car just outside of Ontario.

The only formal charge from that incident was filed against a grocery store employee for selling beer to minors. The juveniles were released to their parents --- the girls immediately and the boys after spending a night in jail in Vale.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Argus Observes --- Standing room only at new gym

By Don Lynch
From the Argus-Observer of Dec. 8, 1952

This community stepped into an advanced class this week in terms of the school facilities it enjoys.

Friday night sport fans watched basketball played for the first time in Ontario’s splendid new gymnasium.

Thursday night we shall see a class play in the new auditorium, which is comparable in size, comfort and appearance to any movie house in the region.

So we have moved from the extreme of inadequate facilities to the best of modern school facilities to be found in a community of this size.

Basketball was a good show even in the old gym and it is a colorful, magnificent performance in the new gymnasium which is as good as any in the region. Wonderfully lighted, well heated and generous in space, it provides the setting for Ontario to enjoy gymnasium recreation as good as any school has. … In a good gym, such as the new one, the crowd can see every detail of play, the cheering section has an opportunity to put on a sparkling performance and the band music lends a stirring atmosphere. The whole thing amounts to an exciting extravaganza produced by our own community and enjoyed by our own community. It’s lots of fun to watch. …

But heavy attendance created one drawback that marred the opening night of play in the new gymnasium. Some 1,400 persons turned out and only 1,200 seats were available.

Some fans evidenced sharp disappointment in their comment as they came in and found they had to stand to see the game. Their remarks indicated taxpayer surprise that a $700,00 high school with an elaborate gym failed to include enough seats for basketball spectators.

Their disappointment is understandable. However school authorities have had a difficult job in attempting to anticipate they need. They planned what they thought would be adequate seating. Construction funds are spent now, and the current budget is too tight to provide several educational facilities more urgently needed than gymnasium seats.

Superintendent Arthur Kiesz said, “I don’t think the Friday night game was any criteria of future crowds.” He surmises that a good many people came because it was the first night of play in the new gym and that crowds at future games will be smaller.

They certainly will be smaller soon if people have to stand. Hundreds of us who like basketball stayed away from the old gym because it was hard to see the play from some of the seats. It seems to me that the present season offers a unique opportunity to acquire a large new crowd of paying customers for basketball, customers who may be lost if there is no place to sit.

The patrons of school dramatics will surely fare better Tuesday night. There certainly are enough seats in the auditorium to accommodate the largest crowd that might attend a school play.

Let’s turn out in good numbers to see “Mother was a Freshman” presented by the senior class. We may find that our school actors have surprising talents when they work on a real stage in a real auditorium with good acoustics.

(Editor’s note: Ontario won that first game in the new gym, 57 to 54, over Vale. The Argus-Observer of Dec. 12, 1952, called play “typical for an early season game” with “clumsy ball handling” and a huge number of fouls – 61. The Tigers squeaked out the win in the final seconds on a free throw by Burke Nicholson and, when he missed the second free throw, a tip-in by Dave Burton.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

State Police break up a beer bust, arrest four teen-agers

Editor’s Note: This is a story that is going to have legs, as we say in the news business. Don’t miss next week’s installment.

State police said they broke up a Friday night beer party in a parked car and arrested two of the four juvenile participants at a location two miles south of Ontario when nearby neighbors complained of hearing a woman scream.

The Argus-Observer reported the incident in its Dec. 1, 1952 edition.

Officer William Bones said that investigating the scream he found two boys 16 and 17 and two girls 13 and 16 drinking beer in a parked car.

The boys were from Payette. The girls were from Ontario. They denied being the source of the screams.

The girls were released to their parents Friday night. The boys spend the night in the county jail in Vale before they were released to their parents.

District Attorney Charles Swan said he had yet to file formal charges against the four and before he acted he wanted to check their school records “and truant records if any.”

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Argus Observes --- Remembering Bob Morford

By Don Lynch
From The Argus-Observer, Dec. 11, 1952

Bob Morford turned out to be just as good as we thought he’d be. The College of Idaho athlete has just been named to the backfield of the little all-coast football team. For the third consecutive year he was named to the all-star football team of the Pacific Northwest conference.

I can remember as if it were yesterday the magnificent body of that 15 year old boy when he stretched out on a dressing-room bench for us to rub the charley horses out of his legs. I remember the vigor with which he played. He glorified in rooting dirt on every tackle. He ran with complete abandon. How that kid played football!

He was a sophomore in Roswell high school when I was principal of the little 50-student school, the only year I ever taught in public schools.

We had a lousy football team with a clean record, all defeats. But it wasn’t Bob’s fault.

We knew he was terrific with promise of a great future ahead. We used to speculate on how good he was because we had no standard for comparison. All we knew was that he was the most promising 15-year-old any of us had ever seen.

We sometimes dreamed that some miracle of good fortune would permit him to go to one of the great football-playing universities and that he would become a nationally known player. Now I’m sure that the little group of students and teachers who were Morford fans in those days are abundantly pleased with what he did accomplish.

He’s a great football player. Any little all-coast back is just a shade removed from All-American caliber. At the right school, running behind the right interference, with the right coaching he might have made the Big Eleven.

Morford merited his honors. The coach of San Francisco State labeled him the best small college player he had seen this year.

Old high school friends of Bob’s know that the way hasn’t been easy.

It has been difficult for him to stay in school because he came from a farm home in modest circumstances. Even in high school days he had to work too many days that he should have been in school. Studies were hard as a result and he got discouraged. It took considerable persuasion to keep him in school.

Of course, it must have become more difficult to keep attending classes as the years moved along. After high school he married and assumed family responsibilities. That he was able to stay in college at all is a tribute to his perseverance.

For these reasons I count Bob Morford high on the list of successful men I have known. It takes real ability and character for any man to earn such athletic honors. For Bob it must have been doubly hard.

He had unique qualities of perseverance as a lad. I had him in one class. As a student he was methodical rather than bright. If limited in time he would drop below average on a test. But when given a long time, often twice as long as some other students, he consistently came up with good grades. He had a peculiar knack of being able to recall much detailed information after prolonged concentration. I’ll bet today he remembers the material in that course better than I do.

Success comes early in life to outstanding athletes. Then they often are lost in the shuffle during the difficult adjustment to normal occupations of life. Bob may get lost for a time, but I feel confident that the sturdy qualities of character which carried him to the top on the gridiron will stand him in good stead in other walks of life.

Editor’s Note: Morford was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 1953 but does not appear in any later years on football records available on the Internet. If anyone remembers what became of him, we’d like to pass that information along.