Thursday, February 28, 2008

Harmon Killebrew’s father died in February 1953

The Feb. 26 edition of The Argus-Observer reported that Harmon Killebrew, 59, father of the 17-year-old youth who would eventually become one of the best hitters in baseball, had died after a short illness.

His son Harmon was a junior at Payette High School that year.

“A contract painter by trade, Mr. Killebrew had lived in the Payette area for 32 years,” the story noted.

In June of 1954, when the younger Harmon was signed to a major league contract just out of high school, another son, Eugene of New Plymouth, told the newspaper that the father went out of his way to foster the boy’s talent, going so far as to do the boy’s chores at home so that he could extend his hours on the practice field.

For that and other sport stories of the time, search for Harmon Killebrew or “To Beat Vale” posted on Aug. 5, 2007 at this link:

Ontario residents promised good reception from Boise’s first TV station

The Feb. 26, 1953 edition of The Argus-Observer quoted officials of the area’s first TV Station, NBC affiliate KIDO-TV of Boise, saying reception in Ontario should be almost as good as that in Boise when telecasts begin on June 1, 1953.

Walter Wagstaff, station manager, told members of the Ontario Kiwanis club that good reception will come from a signal for which there would be a direct line of sight --- if visibility were good enough --- between the station’s transmitting tower on a ridge outside Boise and Ontario residences.

Harold Toedtemeier, the station engineer, said picture quality should be almost as good as in Boise, with any difference hardly visible to the eye. He added that Ontario viewers might need a larger antenna than would be needed by Boise residents.

Wagstaff predicted the programming would be good enough to justify spending “several hundred dollars” for a TV set. He added that many of the programs would be designed to interest children because the station management believed concluded children had the most influence on the purchase of TV sets.

Putting enough TV sets into the hands of viewers to make advertising profitable was critical to success of the TV station, he added.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Broadhurst trial to be recounted at our T.C. Lessons blog

(Editor’s Note: Here are the first two paragraphs on the coverage of the Broadhurst murder trial, probably the most infamous in the post-World War II history of Malheur County, posted today, Feb. 25, 2008, at our affiliated blog, T.C. Lessons or Stories about the trial will be posted weekly at our true crime blog through early April.)

Prosecutor Says Gladys Broadhurst planned the murder with her cowboy lover

Jury Completed;
Use of Letters Permitted

Excerpts and summaries drawn from a story that appeared in the Feb. 27, 1947 edition of The Ontario Argus

VALE --- The State of Oregon, speaking through Blaine Halleck, special prosecutor, today told a Malheur County circuit court jury that it proposes to show step by step how Gladys Lincoln married Dr. Willis D. Broadhurst of Caldwell, Idaho, for his money and then conspired with young Alvin Lee Williams, employee on Broadhurst’s ranch, to kill him both before and after she went through what the state claims was an illegal marriage ceremony with Williams at Reno, Nevada, Sept. 17, 1947

The jury, along with two alternates, was completed at 11:05 today after Judge M.A. Biggs ruled in favor of the state on the defense’s attempt to secure possession of documents turned over to the state following Mrs. Broadhurst’s arrest and which the defense said contained evidence that could be used against the defendant. Judge Biggs also ruled that the state may introduce (the documents) as evidence during the trial.

The Argus Observes -- Problems with typos are amusing, if they’re not your own

By Don Lynch
From the Feb. 26, 1953 Argus-Observer

The Oregonian does it too. And so does the Idaho Statesman.

The Oregonian had a classic bobble in Monday’s lkate edition. Next day the Portland newspaper ran the following editorial explaining its error:


“The gremlins that haunt newspaper plants, transposing lines and words sometimes in extremely embarrassing fashion, hit the jackpot when they slipped a cut of a Victorian architectural monstrosity into The Oregonian’s front page layout in Monday’s late editions.

“The caption said the dwelling, in Salem, would be rented by Governor and Mrs. Paul Patterson after the legislative session ends. Actually the picture was that of the governor’s mansion at Sacramento, Cal.

“We are not trying here to correct the confusion caused by the above mentioned gremlins. The news department is doing its best in that line.

“We with, however, to put in a word for Governor Earl Warrant and his family of California. Many Oregonians were horrified to think that the Pattersons would have tolive in such a house and we were inclined to agree with them. But the Warrens have resided in it, besides putting up with a lot of other irritations peculiar to California. The Warrens are even a finer family than we had thought. Imagine smiling so pleasantly , as they all do, while having to live like that!”

This incident reminds us here at the Argus-Observer of the time we mixed up the cutlines between a state Grand official and a visiting concert violinist. And since we didn’t know either guy it was weeks before we knew of the mistake.

The lines most apt to become mixed between pictures here are the captions with wedding pictures. When we have two or three pictures of newly wedded couples, it required constant watching to keep from mixing either the overlines for the lines under the pictures.

The Boise Statesman has its troubles too. In an edition a week ago, the lead from page story carried this headline deck:

Democrat Agriculture Record
Ohioan Sees Election Defeat
If Republicans Don’t Better

Now the top line could be could be removed to the bottom or the bottom line could be moved to the tope and the head would make sense. But a sit ran it was confusing.

In an edition of the Evening Statesman last week, the editorial page cartoon ran upside down.

We certainly have our troubles at the Argus-Observer as the readers much know but probably no more than most other newspapers our size. Just last week I was about to reprimand the news editor because the headline differed with the story in numbers of persons singing and attending at the Snake River Valley music clinic.

Later I was glad I didn’t for the Freshmen won a regional basketball tournament in Boise and I wrote a headline calling them Sophs.

It’s never funny to the editor when these things happen to is ow paper.

But my it’s funny when they happen to the Oregonian or the Statesman.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Migrant labor shortage predicted if farmers fail to sign up for fixing up camps

The Aug. 19, 1953 Argus-Observer reported that Roy Hirai, president of the county Labor Sponsors Association, was warning that during that year’s growing season there would be a shortage of farm workers if farmers did not begin paying for labor camp improvements.

Hirai reported that the association had made little progress in its membership drive to pay for operation of the camps. To be successful, the drive required that farmers sign up for dues of $1 an acre for at least 6,000 acres.

The association estimated that 3,000 farm workers would be needed during the summer and that a maximum 350 would have to be housed at the three camps at Ontario, Adrian and Vale.

Even farmers with their own housing would suffer if there was not enough camp housing for all of the workers needed in the area, Hirai contended.

Payment of the membership dues entitled a farmer to use laborers from the camps. The money was to be used for repair, upkeep and operation of the three camps.

During the 1952 growing season 139 area farm operators membership dues for 6,950 acres.

The association reported that the migrant labor camp facilities were being steadily improved by the construction of cinderblock buildings to replace tents following official recognition, during 1952, of the need for the labor force.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Argus Observes – The camera makes you want to go places and do things beyond your capacities

By Don Lynch
From The Argus-Observer for Feb. 19, 1953

To the country editor, a news camera is something like a charming but temperamental woman – extremely difficult to get along with, but actually quite impossible to get along without.

The camera makes you want to go places and do things that are quite past your capacities to perform.

We could spend a good half of one person’s time shooting and processing pictures; and it is only by rigid discipline that we are able to remain the master of the camera instead of having it master us.

We try to take top news pictures as their availability fits into our working schedule; and we take a few pictures for advertising use where the taking of the picture has the direct effect of producing increased advertising revenue for the operation of the paper.

We avoid taking organization pictures because there is not end to calls of this kind. And we shun so-called “society” and family pictures like a plague. That work keeps three Ontario photographers busy at commercial rates. If people could have the kind of work done gratis for news use, they would keep a half dozen men going at it all the time.

The camera is unpredictable, too. Or rather the team of camera and photographer is unpredictable. You never know what you’ll find when you go into the dark room to soup the film. Sometimes it is a total blank, no picture at all.

This happened to us two weeks ago producing embarrassing results. We had taken nine news shots in three days. Pictures of an iron lung presented to the city of Ontario, pictures of state corn growing winners, publicity for the spring bull sale, shots of the Hollingsworth auction sale, and a photo for a feature story about African missionaries.

During all of this photography the focal plane shutter had covered the lens. A perfectly simple control was out of adjustment. We were able to retake some of the shots but not all of them. And some of our readers were disappointed yb the failure.

There was one consolation. The same thing happened to John Estano at the Broadhurst (murder) trial six years ago and he has hardly forgotten the pain of it even now. It happens to good photographers as well as us.

Sometimes we have to pass up desirable pictures because our energies won’t spread thin enough. This week we were so buried with work that we missed an important news photo of the Legion district meeting here.

Ordinarily, however, things run more smoothly. We get the pictures we really need, and the Argus-Observer prints more pictures of news than almost any other newspaper its size in the Pacific Northwest. So we feel that our failures are offset by the over-all results accomplished by simply doing the best we can within our rather limited resources.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Religion, catfish and walleyed pike

The Feb. 12, 1953 edition of The Argus-Observer carried stories about a move to introduce warm water species of game fish into local waters and, alongside that, a plea for the teaching of fundamental Christian tenants in public schools.

Don Moore told the paper that he and other local sportsmen had asked officials of the state division of fisheries to consider planting catfish and walleyed pike in the Snake, Malheur and Owyhee rivers.

In response, John Rayner, chief of operations for the division, promised to attend a Feb. 17 meeting at the Moore Hotel to discuss the idea.

In another story, the newspaper reported that local attorney P.J. Gallagher urged the teaching of Christianity in public schools as the most effective way to combat Communism during a speech to the local Kiwanis Club. The story said that Gallagher paid tribute to the American tradition of freedom of worship, but he added that this tradition should not bar the teaching of the fundamentals of Christianity, which he characterized as in keeping with the beliefs of all faiths.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Argus Observes --- What can Ontario do for a range bull sale?

From The Argus-Observer for Feb. 12, 1954
By Don Lynch

Are you a booster for Ontario? If you are you should get out to the fair grounds for a time Friday and again Saturday; and, if your schedule will permit, attend the cattlemen’s banquet Friday night.

Oregon’s cattlemen, the state organization representing this country’s most important industry, will be guests in Ontario this week end. They will be here for their spring bull sale, which is now in its fourth year as an annual event.

Malheur County earns virtually all its income either directly or indirectly from agriculture. Approximately one third of our total farm income each year comes from the sale of livestock, and most of that is from beef stock.

The relative importance of the beef industry would be ample reason in itself for us to take a lively interest in the annual range bull sale.

But there is a more important reason.

The range bull sale is a “natural” for Ontario. IT is the sort of event that chambers of commerce everywhere are always wishing for --- an occasion that precisely fits the economy and the community, an occasion that with a little encouragement might build itself into a well known and widely recognized attraction. This sort of specialized event which fits the nature of a community often helps greatly to build a city’s reputation.

The range bull sale here has been patterned to some extent after the Red Bluff, California sale, which as the nation’s largest range bull sale is something more than twice as big as Ontario’s sale.

We get 700 or 800 people here for our sale. Red Bluff gets perhaps 1,500. We sell 140 bulls to Red Bluff’s 300.

Yet this area provides a better natural market for the range sires than the Red Bluff area does.

The Red bluff show and sale is accompanied by considerable entertainment, which builds interest to a peak by sale time and tends to draw crowds because of the carnival air that goes with the show and sale.

The Ontario range bull show and sale thus caries the indications of a much bigger potential. The thing that just now might lend the Ontario show its greatest impetus would be greatly increased interest show by this Ontario community.

More public interest in the show indicated by persons other than the cattlemen themselves would greatly help to build the reputation of the show. Demonstrating such interest is a comparatively simple courtesy that Ontario could easily extend to the visiting cattlemen.

There is still another reason, perhaps the best reason, for pausing a few minutes to visit with the cattlemen who will be here Friday and Saturday. It is just the simple pleasure of playing host to gracious guests.

Although they are perhaps the is regions most successful business men, the cattlemen are “our kind” of people, friendly, unassuming, “just folks.”

Won’t you make it a point to meet as many of them as possible.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Don and Agnes Lynch purchase 100 percent of Argus-Observer as Mainwaring takes over Salem’s Capital Journal

The Feb. 2, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer reported that Bernard Mainwaring, who financed a partnership purchase of The Argus and the Eastern Oregon Observer in 1947, sold his interest to his “junior partner” Don Lynch and his wife Agnes Lynch.

Mainwaring, publisher of the Napa, Idaho Free Press and a partner in the Baker, Oregon Democrat-Herald, had sold his interest in all three of his Idaho and Eastern Oregon newspaper properties to finance his purchase of the Salem Capital Journal.

Mainwaring explained that he wanted to own the Salem paper since his days as a college student at Oregon State University.

Lucian P. Arant, who was Mainwaring’s partner in the Baker and Nampa papers while on-site publisher in Baker, purchased Mainwaring’s interest in that Baker newspaper and financed the Lynch’ purchase of the Argus-Observer.

In his next The Argus Observes column, published Feb. 5, 1953, Don Lynch described Mainwaring as a “near-genius as a newspaper publisher” for a multitude of reasons including Mainwaring’s own analysis that benefited from specializing in acquiring information along certain lines --- in particular newspapers and sports --- and using it freely to impress others.

Concluding the column, Lynch wrote:

“Bernard Mainwaring gave me the opportunity to do what I most wanted to do, selected me to push from among the scores of men who had worked for him. Just why I do not know. Now he has sold Mrs. Lynch and I his interest in the Argus-Observer much sooner than I had hoped, and under unexpected circumstances that hold promise for both of us former partners. I shall always be immeasurably grateful to him and shall continue to seek his counsel in times of need.”

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Argus Observes --- Who is that grizzled guy there on the TV screen?

By Don Lynch
From The Argus-Observer issue of Feb. 8, 1954

(Editor’s note: Though I try to pick a column from the available selection in sequence with the news stories we are running from the same month in 1953 month, there are times that the options seem flat. So I may reach out, usually to a year or two later. This column from 1954 struck me as particularly telling about the era in general, when black and white TV was still new to audiences in Eastern Oregon and Southwestern Idaho.)

How’d you like to be on TV?

That’s were I was on Friday night at 9 p.m. as some of you TV viewers may know --- if you are neither Dennis Day nor basketball fans.

I was with a panel of editors on the Meet the Press show on KBOI. That’s the program that has to compete with the Dennis Day show on the other channel and with Friday night basketball for its audience.

The kids said, “Dad, that’s no time to be on TV. Everybody’ll be watching basketball.” Which suited me all right.

The experience was kind of a shock. The jolt came in seeing myself on the TV screen which is in the studio just behind the camera. It permits people on the program to see their image.

I was surprised at the middle-aged appearance of the guy I saw there. You see yourself in the
mirror shaving every day but somehow that’s routine. I had noticed that my friends have been aging lately, but I hadn’t quite realized how mature old Don was beginning to look. Apparently any day now I can quite feeling like a brash youth.

(The author was 39 when he wrote this column.)

There really isn’t as much alarming about being in front of a TV camera as one might think.
The thing is just a sort of a box in the air at approximately the height and distance of a man standing across a table from you. It’s about the size of an orange crate with a few round holes on the end toward you and a cameraman standing behind it aiming it in your direction. But he’s as impersonal as a good waiter and you almost forget what’s going on.

All of the tension for me came before we got on the air and in the first minute or two. After that we just relaxed and questioned Col. John R. Mamerow about civilian defense. He is the civil defense administrator for Idaho and, of course, his organization works closely with Eastern Oregon.

It seemed no time at all until the half hour was over.

It must have been a sort of mediocre show from the audience standpoint because, right or wrong, the public has lost interest in civil defense.

You can tell people all about how short the time is for a jet bomber to travel from the northern border to the Snake River Valley but they won’t get excited. That have adopted the new thinking of the “cold peace” in place of the cold war. The fear of attack has nearly disappeared.

You can tell them, too, as the colonel did, that Boise has been designated a possible target, and that Mt. Home Air Base is near and the Arco atomic plant is near, and that we are right on the polar route for targets south of us; but they don’t arouse. The whole idea seems too far fetched.

So Col. Mamerow who is a very eager worker doing an important but thankless job has a discouraging time of it. He can’t get the local government administrators much interested in appointing civil defense leaders for the various towns.

Duane Alters of Nyssa’s Gate City Journal and Maury Russel of the Caldwell News Tribune were the other newsmen on the panel. We all enjoyed talking to the colonel and learning a little more about civil defense.