Monday, May 26, 2008

The Argus Observes --- “It’s the atom bomb explosions in Nevada that caused all this rain.”

From the June 4, 1953 edition of The Argus-Observer:

Man is full of curiosity with a penchant for the mysterious and unusual.

I suppose that’s why people like sensational explanations for unusual phenomena.

For instance, at every turn these days you hear people say, “Haven’t you heard, it’s the atom bomb explosions in Nevada that caused all this rain.”

I thought maybe this explanation was one that occurred just in Malheur County, but it must be a fairly general idea, because the (Portland) Oregonian ran a feature story Sunday explaining that there is just no basis for blaming wet weather on the atom explosions.

The weather has been just as unusually wet in Portland as in Malheur County and in Portland that is a lot of rain. The rose city had 28 inches of rain in the first five months of 1953 compared to 8 inches in Ontario.

Is this really unusual? Not at all says the weather man in Portland. Although it is the wettest first five months for any year since 1916, there have been seven wetter springs in the history of recording weather in Portland, and 1879 was much wetter with 39 inches of rainfall in the first six months.

So there you have the official weather viewpoint: “Nothing very unusual about this rainfall. Why it happened just like this only 37 years ago.”

But here in Malheur County where we have been keeping weather records for only ten years, it looks like a wet spring.

Is this blaming of the weather on atom bombs the first time that people have fought to explain away the weather by something new in the atmosphere?

Not at all, according to Col. Eckley S. Ellison, head of the Portland weather bureau office.

He says the ruckus over the atom bombs spoiling the weather is nothing compared to the storms of protest that swept the county when radio stations first began broadcasting. The radio waves were blamed for drought, flood, hail, lightening and rings around the moon. – By Don Lynch

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Old hog callers line up for Ontario’s contest

From the May 14, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer ---

Lynn Metts, who said he was “down from the Ozarks,” became one of the first to enter the May 23 hog calling contest --- a feature of the Ontario Square Dance Festival.

“Neighbors say on a clear day they can hear me call the hogs as far as seven miles just as clear as a bell,” Metts told the newspaper.

Grandpa Warren Musgrove, 85, of Vale said he was entering to “show the young fellers how they used to call the hogs back in Illinois when I was a boy.”

Finals in the contest were planned for an intermission in the square dance program at the new Ontario High School gym.

Leeds Bailey of Ontario was coordinating the event for the Ontario Kiwanis Club and the Wagon Wheel Square Dance Club, sponsors of the festival.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Argus Observes: Going barefooted is a great feeling

From the May 28, 1953 edition of The Argus-Observer

A couple of high school girls I know like to go barefooted. One of them likes to dance barefooted, another likes to play tennis barefooted.

Kenny Ackerman started to dance with one of these girls at the junior-senior prom. She kicked off her shoes and said to Kenny, “My date wouldn’t want to me to do this but I know you won’t care.”

That was a nice indirect compliment for Kenny, unless she regards him as just the “brotherly” type.

The other girl can pound the concrete tennis court barefooted for a whole set of tennis and enjoy it more than if she had shoes on.

I envy these girls.

When I was a kid living out in the country, I never had shoes on except on Sunday, from the time school was out until it started again.

No one who has word shoes all his life has any idea how much freedom there is in just going barefooted. Shoes hem you in, discipline you, serve as a sort of a symbol that makes you perform and conform to the customs of society.

This is just the time of year our shoes used to come off for the summer. We couldn’t run on graveled roads, and sometimes the bull thistle irritated a little if we stepped on it.

But the feel of the grass and the earth is reall good underfoot, a treat today’s kids miss, except for the more rugged individuals like a couple of girls I know who like to go barefooted.

-- By Don Lynch

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Argus Observes: Perils of Senior Sneak Day

By Don Lynch
From the May 13, 1954 issue of The Ontario Argus-Observer

News stories this week have made me glad to be a country editor rather than a high school principal.

A fatal accident on the Nampa senior sneak day and subsequent action of the school board there to abolish the annual senior outing brought back to me painful memories of an accident on a student outing ten years ago when I was principal at Roswell high school in Idaho.

With a student body of fifty we lacked athletic resources and so we’d had a terrible year in school sports. Lost all of our football games, most of basketball; but we had won about half of our baseball games and the kids were proud of finally doing something in sports.

We had a wet spring in 1944 and we had a lot of cancelled baseball games but they were finally all made up except for one game with Marsing.

The game day game, a beautiful May day like we’ve been having this week, and we excused all of the students who wanted to go to the game.

Most of the players and many of the students including a number of girls piled into the back of a farm truck early in the afternoon and left for Marsing.

Agnes (this columnist’s wife who taught at Roswell high) and I stayed with the pupils who remained in classes. It was a warm, drowsy afternoon. We settled down to just marking time until the end of the day.

The team had only been gone a few minutes when the first dazed victims began to stumble in. Agnes met the first of them in the hall

She came running. “Don, the kids have had a wreck.”

I refused to believe it. But when I saw them I realized with considerable shock that it was true.

The effervescent load of youngsters had shifted the truck off balance on a curve a mile from the schoolhouse. It had flipped off the road, smashed through a fence and turned over in a field.

Our wartime Red Cross first aid training paid off that day. We filled our beds and davenport with youngsters suffering from shock and minor injuries. We improvised a stretcher for a boy who apparently had a serious back injury. We carefully transported the injured to a doctor’s office.

I’d have treated myself for shock if we’d had the time. That was about the most unnerving day I ever put in.

However we were lucky. The youngsters all recovered fine except for one girl who had trouble with a leg injury for a considerable time after the accident.

We forfeited the ball game. It was too late and we were too hurt to play it….

In addition to this year’s fatal accident, Nampa’s problem was further complicated by a student beer drinking riot that wrecked some private party at McCall on the senior sneak a year ago. Although it involved a relatively few people it embarrassed and humiliated the entire class, the school and the community.

The Nampa school board has my sympathy. I hope abolishing the senior sneak day solves their problem. But it won’t be easy. Seniors are capable of being pretty headstrong and defiant, especially if they think that they are being treated as youngsters.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Search inside the novel Farewell Bend, set in a fictional Ontario

Double click on the headline above and it will take you to the Amazon feature page where you can look at the back cover descriptions, my brief bio, an endorsement and two excerpts.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Listen to a 20-minute podcast of Chapter One of Farewell Bend

To listen to the podcast, click on the heading above, enter larryllynch as the sign in name and norman6 as the password. Click on file manager, open the httpdocs folder and scroll down to select the mp3 file of Chapter One.

After a two or three minute download, your computer's media player should take over.

If you have problems, let me know by email at the following address and I'll try to help:

The Argus Observes: Ontario’s new Ore-Idaho potato patties gain favor nationally

(Editor’s Note: An occasional post from this blog may also be posted in the blog section of The Ontario Argus Observer’s web pages. Tell your friends who live in Ontario they may see it there. To check it out at that web site, follow the Argus-Observer link at the lower right to the latest issue of that daily paper serving Malheur County and western Idaho.)

By Don Lynch

From the May 3, 1954 issue of The Argus Observer

Nephi Grigg used less than his usual glowing salesmanship recently when he gave the chamber of commerce a report on the state of Ontario’s frozen food industry.

He spoke only briefly of the significance of the new Ore-Ida potato patties --- partly, I think, from modesty; and partly because it was hard to tell the story in terms that could be understood by his listeners.

He was handicapped for time. He had only a few minutes to talk in the 30 minute program because he also showed a field. It was an industrial movie about the Oregon Frozen Food Company and the farming that produces the crops it processes.

It is an excellent movie of its kind --- interesting enough to earn a spot on the program of any organization in the valley.

Grigg did tell his listeners that the potato patties are selling well all across the nation; and he said that they showed promise of rivaling frozen peas (top selling frozen food) in sales.

Then he moved on to other topics about the industry before his audience had really caught the significance of the sales strength of potato patties.

The patties were introduced to the nation’s markets in January and here are some of the reactions that have already occurred:

Don Pinnix, a Southern California representative for the patties, told the Ontario industry within a few weeks after he introduced them into 178 super markets that they were “one of the fastest moving frozen food items introduced into the market in years.”

Food editors of the Milwaukee Sentinel and the San Francisco Chronicle have made the Ore-Ida patties the subject of glowing feature stories at the top of their food pages.

The patties are being featured in full page food store advertising all over the nation. In a typical example, shown in art work at the top of a page ad, the patties are combined with frozen fish as a new idea for Lenten meals.

One additional factor of considerable importance: The Oregon Frozen Food method of processing the potato patty is patented. No other firm can make the patty with the danger of a suit over patent rights….

Ontario’s food processing industry has (already) made corn the fastest increasing crop in amount produced here. There is now half as much acreage in corn as in sugar beets and the complement each other ideally for rotation.

All this information makes it easy to image that this valley may become like the Santa Clara, Willamette and Yakima valleys --- a great food processing agricultural economy, if it can just weather a difficult period of growing pains.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pet dogs threaten fall pheasant hunting success

The April 30, 1953 edition of The Argus-Observer reported the pheasant population in Malheur County was threatened by free running pet dogs according to the state game commission.

This could limit the success of hunters during the fall hunting season, the commission suggested.

A game commission report noted that during the spring nesting season the dogs disturb the nesting hens and destroy their nests.

Some 65 percent of the cock pheasants downed by hunters in the fall are birds that were born the previous spring, the report added.

The commission asked that pet owners keep their dogs under control during this critical time of year for production of young birds.