Sunday, November 29, 2009

Farm labor shortage predicted for summer of ‘53

Prompt action must be taken by Malheur county farmers if they are to have an adequate labor supply for 1953, Roy Hirai, president of the county Labor Sponsors association said today.

Hirai reported the association drive for membership dues has made little progress, and that camp facilities cannot be operated without a minimum of 6,000 acres of row crop signed up and membership paid.

The sponsors association estimates 3,000 laborers will be needed in the area this season and that 350 of them must be housed and dispatched from the labor camps at Ontario, Adrian and Vale. Hirai pointed out that there is not adequate farm housing to maintain a labor force and that even operators with farm housing will suffer if the labor force is not large enough to stabilize wage rates and reduce competition among uses of labor.

Last year’s operations saw 245 workers during peak seasons living at the camps from April 20 to October. A large percentage of row crop operators used labor from the camp, and last year’s association membership totaled 139 operators and 6,950 aces of row crop. Labor supply and relationships with labor were the most favorable in many years in this area.

--- From a February 1953 issue of the Ontario Argus-Observer

Sunday, November 22, 2009

God in Education Urged by Speaker

The teaching of Christianity in the public schools as the most effective way to combat communism was urged by P. J. Gallagher in a talk to the Ontario Kiwanis club Wednesday.

The speaker paid tribute to the American tradition of freedom to worship as the individual chooses. He favored the teaching of the general tenets of Christianity which would be in keeping with the beliefs of all faiths.

“We are fundamentally a Christian nation. We believe in the principles of Christianity,” Gallagher said. “There is no reason why the teaching of fundamentals of religion should be barred from our schools, no reason why they should not be taught throughout the public schools and colleges.”

---From a November 1953 issue of The Ontario Argus-Observer

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

District Attorney Plans Abatement of Houses

Abatement proceedings will be instituted against Farewell Bend’s houses of prostitution, District Attorney E. Otis Smith said this morning.

“I’m going to do all I can to abate these places,” he said. “I want to close them up. The girls may be out of town by now, and I don’t know what effect that will have on the evidence. But I think we’ve got good evidence.”

This official reaction followed raids early Friday evening on Farewell Bend’s historic bawdy house, the Farley hotel, and the Snake River Hotel on the East Side.

The raids were conducted by Sheriff John Elfering with the assistance of Farewell Bend city police who helped in booking the girls and the operators of the establishments.

Two special investigators from Portland were brought to Malheur County by Sheriff Elfering to obtain the actual evidence for the arrests. They were officers from the force of Terry Schrunk, sheriff of Multnomah County.

Posing as hunters, they entered the hotels and secured the evidence needed, then made the arrests for the Malheur sheriff’s office.

Helen Guyer, proprietor of the Farley hotel, was charged with “keeping a bawdy house,” as was Sue Morgan, operator of the East Side establishment.

The maid at the Farley was also arrested and charged with vagrancy. Five girls from the Snake River Hotel, allegedly prostitutes, were arrested on a charge of vagrancy. The girls were booked on “Jane Doe” warrants and did not themselves appear in court.

The two proprietors posted $150 bail each and the girls posted $100 bail each, for a total of $900 of bail money posted in the justice court of Judge Thos. Jones.

Mayor Frank Popper said this morning that he was “shocked” to learn that houses of prostitution have been operating in Farewell Bend. He went on to add that prostitution has been a recurrent problem.

His reaction sketched the nature of the task that faces District Attorney Smith. Farewell Bend was widely known as a center of prostitution before World War II. During the war the illicit industry was closed for a time. In the decade since the war, there has been intermittent operation except for one year when organized, commercial prostitution was stamped out by abatement proceedings.

Such proceedings are brought against the property instead of individuals, making it possible to padlock the property, taking it out of use for a year.

In former years, this has been the only effective method of restricting prostitution here.

---Excerpted from Farewell Bend the novel and based on an actual story from the Ontario Argus-Observer published during an early 1950s hunting season. Most names have been changed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Planting catfish and pike in local streams proposed

Local sportsmen have induced a top official in the game commission to come to Ontario to discuss the possibility of developing warm water species of fish in the area, Don Moore said today.

More said there would be a public meeting with John Rayner , chief of operations, division of fisheries, Oregon state game commission.

On species that is under consideration is the catfish like those found in North and South Dakota, Moore said. These fish sometimes grow to weight one hundred pounds and are a good food fish.

Another species under consideration is the wall-eyed pike which is a native of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Moore said the group was not trying to tell the game commission what to do but simply wanted to find out what could be done.

--- From the Ontario Argus-Observer of Feb. 9, 1953

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How dumb could a teenager be?

PAYETTE – Two teenage boys stealing gasoline set a fire which destroyed a four-car garage, two automobiles and other contents to bring an estimated loss of some $15,000 to the Fred Robertson residence on Central Avenue Friday night, according to Chief of Police Cecil Fetter.

The boys both in junior high school admitted the offense and gave details of how it happened when they were arrested at their homes later in the evening, Fetter reported.

The cars were owned by Ike Whitely and Earle Sample, both of Payette. Other contents of the garage included factory machinery which was owned by Robertson valued at $10,000.

According to the boys’ story, the chief said, they had driven to the garage in their Model A hot rod and were stealing gasoline from the Whitely car. One of the boys had opened a cap at the bottom of the tank with a special wrench they had for the purpose. He was using a Purex bottle to catch the gasoline. When the bottle was nearly full the boy under the car dropped the cap and lit his cigarette lighter to look for it. The flame ignited gasoline spilled on the ground and the whole area immediately burst into flames. The boys then tried to start their hot rod for a getaway but when it wouldn’t start ran away from the scene.

The boy who had been stealing the gasoline received a badly burned forearm, the chief said.

Both were in bed at their homes when the when the officers called. They admitted the offense after only a few questions and told the details.

Both are being held for action by the Probate Court, which handles juvenile offenses in Idaho, Fetter said.
…… From the January 5, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer

Monday, November 2, 2009

The way first graders learned in 1953

(Editor’s note: My father, author of the following newspaper column from 1953, was the son of a school teacher who Dad late in life described as an abusive father. Dad once wrote about how his dad who during the 1920s taught in a one-room country school near Mountain Home, Idaho, whipped Dad and two other junior high age students who he caught fighting with lilac bushes. And another time he took a belt to his ninth grade boys who failed to return to class from the basketball court. In 1953, Dad wrote that a certain amount of such corporal punishment might be necessary in schools. But he never described exactly how much. I know he whipped me for fighting with my younger brother when I was nine or ten. But I’m not sure he’d have been happy if a teacher had taken his belt to me – which I never saw happen to any of my classmates. Anyway, it’s clear in this column that he liked the way this first grade teacher in our small town approached her job. Standardized tests were apparently the last thing on her mind.)

The Argus Observes
By Don Lynch
From the Nov. 5, 1953 issue of the Ontario Argus-Observer

The capable Ontario teacher Mrs. Sylvia Osborn brought her charts and illustrative material and various teaching helps to the weekly Kiwanis luncheon and presented the program to the club men for their annual observance of American Education Week.

There is no rigid schedule to first grade work, she said. Instead the information taught is worked into the child’s everyday living.

Each morning Mrs. Osborn’s class starts with the day’s news. At this time each day, the learning of reading is related to the habit of reading about the news.

First graders, she says, are very observant about the weather. So they keep a record every day and at the end of the year they know how many sunny days, rainy days, windy days, etc. there have been during the school term.

A major reaching effort is directed at making the first graders number conscious. Over and over again they are taught that the same combinations will produce the same results whether they are dealing with blocks, or apples, or people or animals or any other units. The little ones have a hard time making the transfer of mathematical reasoning from one subject to another and this is a slow learning process.

Six year olds have a different adjustment problem in getting used to the closeness of school work. The rate that reading is learned is much affected by the youngster’s natural ability to focus his eyes.

The children make up the first stories they read, writing them in simple terms to learn simple words, and then re-reading what they have written. They also illustrate their stories, drawing the characters and situations in a group effort.

One evidence of the relation of education to everyday living is that children in this year’s first grade classes insist on equipping their houses with TV antennas.

(Editor’s note: In the fall of 1953, TV had just come to Eastern Oregon. Good antennas in Ontario were picking up the signal from a Boise, Idaho station, the first to begin broadcasting in the area.)