Thursday, January 31, 2008

INDEX FOR JANUARY 2008….and It’s Still the Wild West

Jan. 31 --- 1953 planning commissioner calls Ontario “slower than molasses”
Jan. 28 --- The dean of the valley’s newspaper men moves on
Jan. 24 --- Farmers warned incomes likely to go down in 1953
Jan. 21 --- Eisenhower filled with emotion at his inauguration
Jan. 18 --- Foreign born residents sign up for citizenship classes
Jan. 14 --- An unexpected dividend from Arock
Jan. 14 --- Broadhurst trial set to begin Feb. 24
Jan. 10 --- LDS president dedicates new Ontario chapel with a plea for spirituality
Jan. 7 --- Malheur County owes a debt to March of Dimes
Jan. 3 --- Earl Bopp takes over as Ontario mayor
Jan. 2 --- Looking back over 1952

It's Still the Wild West

If you think you are up to a dose of the reality of how wild the West can still be in Western Idaho, check out the poaching story that ran this Jan. 23 in the Ontario Argus Observer and the reader comments linked to the story in the “blog” section.

Just follow our link from this page to the newspaper’s web site.

1953 planning commissioner calls Ontario “slower than molasses”

The Jan. 29, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer described how an honor caught one civic leader off guard the same week others were complaining of the city’s reluctance to finance needed public works.

John Caldwell, who operated a title and abstract company, was named Ontario’s “Man of the Year” during a Chamber of Commerce dinner Monday at the Moore Hotel, while Caldwell relaxed at home.

Caldwell, cited for his successful push for passage of a local school bond, was caught by surprise.

“The ticket committee had failed to induce him to buy a ticket and attend the banquet,” the Argus-Observer reported. “The committee which chose him for the distinction had some difficulty getting him to respond to the request to come downtown. Caldwell was at home relaxing comfortably in his favorite chair and slippers when the summons came.”

But the business of the city went on, however haltingly, as local businessman Joe Saito took over as president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees).

The next day, at the city planning commission meeting, a member of the commission complained that the town “was slower than molasses in January” as he urged the city council to “go ahead and bond the city” to install manholes and lateral lines needed to put the already completed sewer line into service.

The additional work was expected to cost $80,000 to $90,000.

Planning commissioner R. W. Jones, who owned a laundry and dry cleaning business, argued that good streets benefit everyone in town, not just those who live or have businesses along those streets, concluding that everyone should help pay for such a project.

City officials were worrying about related costs with the state ordering the city to build a $175,000 sewage treatment plant to stop the practice of dumping raw sewage into the Snake River.

Fred Huling Sr., president of the planning commission, said the city should “shoot the works for anything that makes sense,” noting that the increase in property taxes for both projects could cost him $15 a year in taxes on his own home.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Argus Observes --- The dean of the valley’s newspaper men moves on

By Don Lynch
From the Jan. 29, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer

Today’s Argus-Observer announces that Earle Sample, the dean of the lower Snake River Valley’s newspaper men, will take over the management of the Payette Independent Enterprise.

He leaves his post as advertising manager here at the Argus-Observer in Ontario to take over operation of the Payette newspaper effective Monday.

Earle was an early college journalism product. He was graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism in 1917, only a few years after the department was founded.

Suspicious editors, jealous of the skills of their trade, then regarded journalism graduates as a species of freaks, not to be trusted on a newspaper staff. Earle had to keep quiet about how well he was trained in order to keep working.

He worked at his trade in many capacities as a reporter, a printer, an advertising man, a promoter, a publicity man and an editor and publisher. For over 25 years he ran his own paper in Weiser until his health failed and he sold it. Relieved of this work load, he regained his health. Now in excellent health, he returns to the management of a newspaper again.

Our staff will miss him because he commands affection along with respect.

Individuals differ widely in their aptitudes for relations with other people. I don’t know what Earle’s formula is but the results are unusually good.

He stands out as a good person. I have never heard him say an unkind word about anyone in his year of service at the Argus-Observer. For an advertising salesman who receives many rebuffs in the course of his work, that is quite remarkable.

A witty Scotchman, Earle holds Bobby Burns up as his personal hero. Sample is always thinking up a practical joke. I am sure that Democrat Les Downie was a long time figuring what fellow Democrat sent him the hundreds of left over Stevenson buttons after the campaign ended.

One of Sample's cutest gags showed up at Christmas time. He sent post cards to his accounts --- just ordinary post cards --- with a message congratulating the recipient on being a booster for Ontario and ending with this verse:

Since a Scotchman’s author O’ this verse
And ten fold duty it must do,
He’s wishing you a Merry Christmas
From now ’till sixty-two.

Thus did sample for two cents wish his friends a Merry Christmas for ten years. In some cases he even borrowed the letterhead from his customers and left the message typed in their typewriters. How he delighted in this joke. And how could a Scotchman get more for his money?

I shall personally miss Earle because he was a kind of office father to the staff and to me. When he thought any of us were falling short of adequate performance, he had a gentle way of pointing out our oversight. And his wealth of experience was helpful. He has taught us some worthwhile lessons in our year of association.

It is good for a young manager of any enterprise to have a senior member of the staff who can steer him around certain pitfalls. And I have many times appreciated Earle’s guidance.

All of us at the Argus-Observer will wish Earle Sample the best of everything in his operation of the Independent Enterprise at Payette.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Farmers warned incomes likely to go down in 1953

A state agriculture economist warned Malheur County farmers to expect less income in 1953 than the year before from crops and livestock, the Argus-Observer reported on Jan. 26, 1953.

"Don’t get out on a limb. Watch debts. Look before you leap. Study cost and price prospects. Be businesslike. Keep accurate records,” State College extension economist Martin Thomas told farmers at a Baker Production Credit forum at the Moore Hotel in Ontario.

He warned that farmers could expect less emphasis on a war economy and that exports would continue to decline.

Milk products stay more stable than beef, but for milk producers there was more emphasis on quantity and less on butterfat, he said.

The price of wool was expected to decline because of more competition from synthetics.
With 20 million more tons of potatoes in storage than a year earlier, “spud growers are in for a rough go,” Thomas added.

An overflow crowd of farmers and ranchers attended the meeting held in the large dining room of the hotel.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Argus Observes --- Eisenhower filled with emotion at his first inauguration

By Don Lynch
From The Argus-Observer for Jan. 22 1953

President Eisenhower’s inauguration Tuesday was probably witnessed while it took place by more people than any other event that has ever occurred.

The television audience mush have been the largest on record. I watched it in Portland, and it was a thrilling sight for me. All over that city as elsewhere in the nation, work slowed to a snail’s pace while almost everyone stopped for long enough to see Ike sworm in and to hear his address or a part of the address. Few could watch the whole affair which lasted from early morning until mid-afternoon on the West Coast; and from mid-morning until dusk in Washington D.C.

Because I was on vacation, I didn’t have to fight the crowds in front of sets downtown. I sat in a friend’s house with six housewives who held first a coffee party and then served lunch as we watched the historic show. The children came in from school and ate lunch quietly as they lay on their stomachs on the floor watching the screen. And believe me they knew the principal characters as well or better than we parents did.

One coffee pot got burned up, the coffee cake turned out fine, the frankfurters were warmed a little too long (about three hours) but lunch was delightful.

My eyes were sore when it was all over. The inauguration was just too big a show for me. I had to wait and read the papers later to get the meaning from the President’s inaugural address. The beauty and majesty of its phrasing, its sincerity, basic hones and the broad scope of its appraisal of the mid-twentieth entry world and America’s place in the world, all these things came through to me.

But I was too distracted by the inaugural show to remember much of the actual detail of the speech.

The new president was obviously so moved by emotion that it was often difficult for him to carry on with the program. As he took the oath of office he kept his voice too tight in order to maintain enough control to get through his brief pledge. The prayer that opened the address was a model of sincerity. Watching him one knew that he spoke from deep in his heart. Later as he talked his face was pinched a little with earnestness. Here we were watching a man almost overcome with a sense of the urgent importance of the responsibility that America had placed on his shoulders.

As Ike rode down Pennsylvania Avenue, leading the inaugural parade, he looked like a kid at a picnic having the time of his life, waving joyously to the crowds and pointing out the many places of interest to Mamie at his side.

Later as he began to review the parade that passed before the White House stand, he stood so neatly at attention. For almost an hour his face was filled with emotion as he watched the thousands file by to pay tribute to a new president, Dwight Eisenhower the farm boy from Kansas.

Then he began to relax. He sat back with Mamie and the various guests such as JoeMartin and Herbert Hoover, who came to his stand and visited with them while the parade rolled by. He then only betrayed emotion by twisting the famous black Homburg. I supose it promptly became a collector’s item and certainly it wasn’t fit for much else after the way Ike mangled it Tuesday.

The housewives witching the show kept a sharp eye out for Mamie, noting the famous bangs, the close-fitting mesh hat. As nearly every American boy dreams of becoming president, so any American wife may identify herself with Mamie, a pastime that many of them obviously enjoy consciously or unconsciously.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Foreign born residents sign up for citizenship classes

A total of 48 foreign-born Malheur County residents signed up for new citizenship classes being offered through the school district, the Argus-Observer reported on Jan. 15, 1953.

Arthur Kiesz, the Ontario school district superintendent, said the response to the class was one of the most thrilling experiences of his career. He predicted that 68 students would be signed up when classes began a week later.

(Over the next eight weeks a total of 170 would join the classes.)

A total of 13 countries were represented in the first sign-ups.
Most of the students were from Japan after the McCarran Act became law the previous Dec. 24, for the first time permitting former residents of that country to become U.S. citizens.

The other 12 nations represented were Australia, England, Holland, Hungry, Germany, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Korea, Denmark, Greece and Bulgaria.

Kiesz credited three members of the Malheur County teachers association’s Americanization committee with the effort needed to get the class under way. Those three were: Sylvia Osborne of Ontario, chair of the committee, and members Viola Fothergill of Nyssa and Idlena Winfrey of Vale.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Argus Observes --- An unexpected dividend from Arock students

By Don Lynch
From The Argus-Observer for Jan. 15, 1953

(Editor’s note: Arock, Oregon is 113 miles by highway south and a little west of Ontario and west of Jordan Valley. But it is not easy to get there. Heading out of Ontario or Nyssa, you wind through the Idaho side of the Snake River before returning to Malheur County on US 95. But this was Malheur County and in 1953 The Argus-Observer carried news from Arock.)

Unexpected dividends sometimes accrue to an editor.

This week I received a dozen thank-you letters from the students at Arock school. We had mailed Christmas candy to our correspondents and the kids thus qualified for a box of candy.
Under the guidance of their teacher, Miss Ruth Cray, they have been gathering news in their community. She edits their bits of information and sends them along to the Argus-Observer so that we can carry an Arock report.

We are therefore quite indebted to the students at Arock school and especially to their teacher for providing us with a facility permitting this newspaper to serve that community.

Of course it was not accident that we heard from 12 students at Arock in one mail. Undoubtedly miss Cray used the opportunity to give the youngsters practical experience in letter writing. Such ingenuity is the sign of a good teacher.

One student wrote, “I got orders from the teacher that I had to write a letter to you and thank you.”

Another reported a windy day in Arock and said, “We are trying to get many news for the newspaper.”

And another, “We have quite and advantage in getting to write for a newspapers.”

All of the letters carried a gracious note of thanks for the box of candy that was too small for a dozen youngsters. I had forgotten to mail larger boxes to school classes who send us news.
I would like to visit the kids at Arock some day, to spend a day getting acquainted with our youthful reporters.

We value them more than they realize. It is such quiet public support of the newspaper in a thousand little ways, support of it as if it were a public institution like the schools or the library, that makes country news papering so much fun, so much closer to many people than most other things a man is given a chance to do.

Broadhurst trial set to begin Feb. 24

The trial of Gladys Lincoln Broadhurst for first degree murder of her husband, R. W. D. Broadhurst, is set for Feb. 24, 1953 at the county courthouse in Vale, Oregon, The Argus-Observer reported on Jan. 9, 1947.

Dr. Broadhurst was beaten and shot to death on Oct. 14, 1946 while traveling from his home near Caldwell to his ranch in Jordan Valley.

Circuit Judge M. A. Biggs, who set the trial date for Mrs. Broachurst postponed the trial of his alleged accomplice from Feb. 3 to March 10.

Deputy District Attorney Charles Swan, who was about to take office as county district attorney, asked for the Williams trial postponed, which suggests that prosecutors hope Williams might testify against Mrs. Broadhurst.

(Editor’s note: Once this trial begins in February, relatively complete summaries of The Argus-Observers reports of the proceedings of 61 years ago will be posted at our T.C. Lessons blog and, in less detail, at RememberingTheArgus.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

LDS President dedicates new Ontario chapel with a plea for spirituality

David O. McKay, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, dedicated a $150,000 chapel and recreation hall for the Ontario Ward the previous Sunday, The Argus-Ob server reported Jan. 12, 1953.
McKay called for more spirituality across America while praising President Eisenhower and the diligent farmers of Malheur County.

Some 1,300 church members from the surrounding area gathered at the new building to hear McKay’s first speech ever in Ontario.

“I congratulate you on being an area that produces 22 tons of beets per acre and 850 sacks of onions per acre,” McKay told the gathering. He warned to avoid the American trait of being wasteful. “I hope you keep your holdings here and don’t forget to take care of them because this land is good to you,” McKay said.

In praising a newly-elected Eisenhower, the church leader said he was “glad we are going to have leaders who believe in spirituality.”

Local church Bishops Blaine J. Holladay and Earl Winegar conducted the invocation and benediction.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Argus Observes: Malheur County owes a debt to March of Dimes

By Don Lynch
From The Argus-Observer of Jan. 8, 1953

What would you give to save a life, or to save a person from being crippled? You would give generously especially if you knew that the saving actually depended on your gift alone.

How much more would you give if the life you saved were that of a neighbor rather than that of an unknown person far away?

Your giving undoubtedly did save the lives of several of your neighbors in the polio epidemic here last year.

That is, your giving multiplied by the gifts of millions of other donors giving in the whole nation to the March of Dimes.

And those of you in the Nyssa area --- your giving in earlier years, giving that built the polio treatment center at the Malheur Memorial hospital, undoubtedly saved lives that would have been lost if the stricken persons had been required to travel to Portland for treatment.

From June 30 until late November the Malheur Memorial Hospital cared for 81 polio patients. Five of the year’s polio victims died, many others were critically ill, undoubtedly saved only by prompt, skillful treatment. Some are still receiving therapy and will for a long time to come.

The epidemic put a tremendous burden on Nyssa’s 38 bed hospital. John O’Toole, superintendent of the hospital, estimates that the Nyssa institution probably carries the greatest polio treatment load in proportion to its size of any hospital in the nation this year.

What a wonderful thing it has been for Malheur County to have this polio treatment facility. Some persons scoffed at the emphasis placed on polio treatment by the Malheur Hospital Association when the institution was founded in 1950. But now in one year, the polio treatment center has given enough service to pay a lifetime of dividends.

The decision of the Nyssa group to install a polio treatment center was partly in response to public demand. Donors could remember the epidemic here in 1948, when there was no immediate facility for polio treatment. If they supported a new hospital they wanted it to provide care for polio cases.

The Nyssa association investigated polio care given elsewhere and as a result provided care for both active and convalescent cases. Few other hospitals give such dual care. The Malheur Memorial Hospital now gives polio care comparable to the best given anyplace in the Pacific Northwest.

O’Toole has said that he does not know how the polio cases could possibly have been handled without the March of Dimes aid in the recent epidemic.

“It was wonderful to know,” he said, “that anytime I needed an iron lung or any other equipment I could call Gene Malecki and in a few hours we would have it.”
Repeated mercy flights were made here from Portland to bring in equipment and especially trained nurses to care for polio victims.

How much should Malheur County give to the March of Dimes?

Much more than it will give. It should give at least several times the $12,000 donation of last year, if we are to do anything like offset the cost of the polio epidemic here in 1952.

We are used to thinking of ourselves as giving to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Oregon Chest and many other funds to aid disaster in some remote area far away, but we just don’t think of disaster striking here.

Disaster did strike here last year, as expensive and damaging to people in its particular way, as flood or famine elsewhere --- the disaster of polio.

The rest of the nation helped Malheur County to bear its burden. We should now dig down deep to repay the March of Dimes. Malheur County could and should repay the generosity of this great, humanitarian organization.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Earl Bopp takes over as Ontario mayor in January 1953

Ontario’s newly elected mayor, Earl Bopp, said he wanted to bring the city planning commission into the decision making process to encourage planning for the future, The Argus-Observer reported on Jan. 5, 1953.

“It is time we did some planning. It is time we looked ahead and not sit by and let things happen to us,” Bopp said. “We can be masters of our future if we choose, but it will take some hard-headed planning.”

The story reported that the biggest problem facing the city is how pay for a sewer treatment facility ordered by the state sanitation authority. Tentative plans called for a bond issue election in February.

The new mayor noted that the people of the city were “tax conscious” and would not vote more taxes unless they are satisfied the money is being spent in sound investments.

Bopp added that he did not plan any radical changes in the city administration and noted that the existing plans for tax expenditures were commitments that would be difficult to change.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Argus Observes: Looking back over 1952

By Don Lynch
From the Jan. 5, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer

Last night Hugh Gale and I looked back over the picture news of 1952. There were some big stories. The Owyhee flood was colorful and we pictured it in considerable detail. We recalled how we rented a plane on an impulse late Wednesday afternoon. The light was just strong enough for us to take aerial photos.

I ran the camera. Hugh handled the film holders and Joe Driscoll flew the plane. It was quite a thrill for me, the one and only time I have ever done any aerial photography, although Gales has been up with cameras twice since then.

The picture of the washout at the railroad bridge at the mouth of the Owyhee River was the best picture of destruction that we got.

The biggest thrill came when we shot the dam. I had no idea of the camera setting needed. It was getting late and I knew that the light in the canyon would be poor. So I opened the aperture on the Speed Graphic clear open to 4.5 and slowed the shutter speed as much as I thought it would stand. Joe flew the plan up along the right side of the canyon, cut back across the face of the dam and turned it up into a vertical position.

We hung suspended there for just a split second with the camera aimed over the edge of the cockpit and pointed almost straight down at the dam. I tripped the shutter at that instant. The result was surprisingly good, an excellent picture when we had hardly hoped to get one at all.

We rushed back to the shop, souped film and printed pictures until almost midnight. I got up early and rushed to the engravers at Nampa Thursday morning and returned before noon in time to get the engravings into the paper. We were proud of the results. The Idaho Statesman, situated just as well for taking pictures and with many times as much news covering strength, didn’t do nearly as well.

We did an extensive job on the new high school which was a top story easily photographed. There were other important stories that produced good pictures: The Owyhee bridge cave-in that killed two workmen, the election, the polio epidemic, and the “Welcome to Oregon” centennial celebration. These events are all noted on today’s summary picture page along with some other human interest pictures.

As we selected pictures last night we recalled Gale’s first month here. I had warned him as he started that sometimes the news was sparse and it took hard digging to get out an interesting paper.

After a few weeks he asked what I meant by dullness in the news. The news seemed plenty active enough for him. In his first month we had the visit of the fabulous nut, Stanley Clement Green, a man burned to death in a trailer house fire, there was a Grad A public row over the failure of the school board to rehire two teachers, the Malheur River flooded and then the Owyhee really flooded all on top of an active situation in school district, city and county news --- plus the regular flow of news.

But in the dog days between the Fourth of July and the county fair Hugh found out what I had been talking about. He almost walked a hole in the tile of the office floor trying to dream up stories good enough for the top front page positions.

That’s the way it is in the news in a small town, in a big city oron an international wire service. It ebbs and flows. It is either feast or famine.

So if we newsmen seem a little crotchety at times, please forgive us and charge our temperament off to the vagaries in the news. We’re either having a terrible time trying to keep abreast of events or we’re tearing our hair out trying to find enough good stories to keep you reading the paper.