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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Medford News 1955


STORY OF FLOOD PICKED AS TOP NEWS DURING 1955
Rehabilitation Job Said 'Significant'; Other Choices Listed
    The destructive flood of Christmas week was voted top news story of 1955 in the Mail Tribune's annual poll of the newsroom staff.
    The approval, and start of work, on the rehabilitation of the water distribution systems of the Medford and Rogue River Valley irrigation districts was voted "most significant" story of the year.
    The visit of a group of youngsters from Forks of Salmon,  Calif. to the "big city" of Medford was chosen as the best human interest story of 1955.
Other Choices of Stories Listed
    The flood story received five of the eight votes cast for the biggest story; the plans for annexation of large areas to the city of Medford, and their rejection at a July election, received two votes, and the Labor Day week forest fires received one vote.
    Five votes were cast for the rehabilitation story as most significant, and one each were cast for the story of plans and fund drive for a new hospital, the fact that 1955 employment was the highest in the history of the county, and the growth of industrial installations at White City.
    Six votes were cast for the Forks of Salmon story as best in human interest, and two for the story of little Joe Willie Haynes, who was injured and hospitalized here for nearly a month.
    Here, arranged month by month, are local news stories which made Page 1 headlines in the Mail Tribune during 1955:
JANUARY
    Robert Duff named Medford's first city manager by unanimous vote of the city council . . . Diamond L. Flynn relinquishes mayoralty to Earl Miller . . . 1,200 Christmas trees burned to open March of Dimes drive . . . Medford's building permit valuation up 52 percent over 1953 . . . John Snider elected president of the city council . . . County population said up 10.6 percent . . . Southern Pacific says Portland-Ashland passenger service will not be discontinued . . . Marion Franklin Piening indicted on manslaughter charge, pleads guilty . . . Talent project omitted from federal budget . . . New First National Bank building opens . . . Tax refunds mailed out to residents of nine school districts . . . Construction of Fir-Ply mill at Camp White begins . . . Home of Mrs. Robert Remillard, 305 South Riverside Ave., destroyed by fire . . . Talent project funds in doubt . . . Continental Lumber Company mill in Central Point destroyed by fire . . . Otto A. Ewaldsen wins Junior Chamber of Commerce distinguished service award . . . Sgt. Clifton Lacy named lieutenant on Medford police force . . . Piening sentenced to 15 years in prison for death of Mrs. Margaret Ann Cornell . . . Phoenix woman pleads guilty to charge of polygamy . . . Neuberger endorses Edward C. Kelly for federal judgeship . . . Fifteen young people arrested at Central Point following a Sunday beer party . . . Fire damages Eads Transfer Company building . . . Neuberger charges Republican betrayal of Talent project . . . County welfare department short of funds . . . Mosquito eradication program planned by county . . . Architects chosen to plan new memorial hospital . . . Partisan fight developing over Talent irrigation project . . . Sharp increase in juvenile cases reported in county . . . Remodeling of United States National Bank building begins.
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FEBRUARY
    County taxes totaling $3,826,313 collected over a six-month period . . . Oregon Veneer Company announces plans for a Medford plant . . . County employment above normal . . . Senator Lowry outlines tax problems . . . Henry H. Mayberry dies . . . Firemen rescue Dixon Saltsgaver, Central Point, from a collapsed silo . . . Auto, chased by police, crashed into Jackson Hotel, driver shot in leg by police as he tries to escape . . . Phoenix city council suspends Jim Perry as chief of police . . . Radar traffic control demonstrated . . . Jim Perry resigns as Phoenix chief of police . . . Safety council offers funds for radar traffic control . . . City commission approves a proposal to rename Front St. D'Anjou St. . . . Synchronized traffic signals for Pacific Highway 99 approved by city council . . . Local man given a five-year suspended sentence in connection with the hunting death of a 12-year-old boy . . . James C. Miller Jr. named head of the Jackson County Stockman's Association . . . County receives $815,047 share of O&C receipts . . . 20-acre site for new hospital obtained on Barnett Rd. . . . Medford High School students receive Freedoms Foundation's award for city government participation . . . Forty teenagers warned of curfew violation in police roundup . . . Students take over city government for a day . . . Medford man, age 91, who gave a transient shelter for the night, robbed of money he was saving for his funeral . . . City receives permit to use water from the Rogue River . . . Polio vaccination program outlined for county . . . Rogue River Valley Irrigation District announces plans for a dam on Dry Creek.
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MARCH
    Eugene Raymond Birk dies as result of injuries received in a fight in a sawmill; grand jury studies murder indictment of Bernice H. White, indicts White on first degree murder charge . . . Camp White man killed when struck by car . . . Phoenix police department is investigated; E. J. Perry's resignation received . . . Meteor seen over Medford . . . Disaster car planned by city firemen . . . Mrs. Sarah Blevins Wing, Ashland, celebrates 102nd birthday . . . Irrigation water supply far below normal . . . Ernest and Jeanette Jones win Easter basket contest . . . Cloud seeding to increase rain under way . . . Twenty-seven people take citizenship oath in county . . . City council approves study of annexation plans for area equal to the present size of Medford . . . 423 Future Farmers of America delegates attend convention . . . Donn Johnson named state FFA leader . . . White indicted on first degree murder charge . . . Harold Skinner killed when his light plane hits a power line at Emigrant Lake . . . 34 Boy Scouts and two adult leaders go to Lake of the Woods for "Operation Icicle" . . . Mail Tribune has 50th birthday . . . Secretary Douglas McKay visits Medford . . . Talent reservoir less than one-third full . . . Prof. Norman Kennedy, parking expert, arrives to discuss city parking problem . . . Many parents consenting to vaccination of children with Salk vaccine.
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APRIL
    Dial telephone service to Central Point begins . . . Outlook bad for supplies of irrigation water . . . Southern Oregon Music Educators contest and music festival held . . . Kids hunt Easter eggs in Hawthorne Park . . . Ten uranium claims filed in Trail area . . . Mercy Flights plane makes trip to Sinaloa, Mexico to bring home Dr. Raymond Smith . . . County schools receive $685,859 of O&C funds . . . Russel W. DeForest resigns as deputy district attorney . . . Congressional investigation seen in Al Serena mine case . . . City council hears $600,000 plan for off-street parking plan . . . 7,305 names struck from county voting lists because of failure to cast ballots . . . Marilyn Denning, 5, elected Pear Festival queen; estimated 10,000 people see festival parade . . . Rogue Valley Memorial selected as name for new hospital . . . Nearly 850 persons attend Assemblies of God convention . . . State Tax Commissioner Samuel Stewart gets verbal lambasting at public hearing on assessment of orchard property.
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MAY
    Bernice Hampton White pleads innocent to first degree murder charge . . . The 60-year-old Provolt post office closes . . . City council approves annexation of Vista Heights, Wilson Park and Douglas . . . Apricots and cherries hit by frost . . . First Jackson County polio vaccine shots scheduled as government halts approval of vaccine manufacture . . . County budget is $3,622,003.20 . . . County polio vaccination clinic postponed . . . Women's wrestling match called off because of new law . . . Council plans city election for approval of increased taxes . . . Eagle Point voters approve bond issue to raise funds for school construction . . . State police investigate a report that a Foots Creek family had been threatened and ordered to leave . . . Two Burmese exchange students arrive for stay in valley . . . Phoenix' first sewage system given strong approval of voters . . . City attorney reports that tax election cannot legally be held . . . Eight youngsters from the forks of the Salmon River, California, on their first visit to a big city, given royal treatment by Medford . . . Brown's Cafe and Lounge receives "bombing threat" . . . Medford school district budget approved seven to one . . . Maj. Gen. Hafley speaks at airport on Armed Forces Day . . . First polio shots given in county . . . Elderly couple receive bombing threat . . . Sen. Wayne Morse appeals for Talent Project funds . . . Memorial Day ceremonies honor veterans.
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JUNE
    Welfare medical payments curtailed . . . Central Point rural fire tax defeated in election . . . 210 seniors graduate from Medford High School . . . 1,600 Elks register for Ashland convention . . . Shady Cove girl helped from her car just before it plunged over an embankment . . . At least 20 Tucker Sno-Cats slated for Antarctic expeditions . . . Medford has 96-degree temperature . . . Woman and youngster save man from drowning in Rogue River . . . Orchardists meet in courthouse to discuss assessment of trees . . . County officials state that it is impossible to assess trees within time limit . . . Temperature hits 101 degrees . . . Medford armory bids exceed estimate; new plan requested . . . Trial date for Bernice White set July 11 . . . National Guard companies leave for two weeks' training at Fort Lewis . . . A half million dollars for planning and construction on Talent Project approved by House Appropriations Committee . . . Ex-Camp White prisoner of war, now a German newsman, revisits Medford . . . Six new traffic lights erected on Central and Riverside aves. . . . Four teenage boys admit 30 to 40 crimes, including burglaries, thefts, shoplifting . . . Budget committee signs $3,622,000 budget . . . Florence Bath wins Rose Show sweepstakes . . . 4,524 people attend annual Catfish Derby at TouVelle State Park . . . County assessed valuation estimated at $80,000,000 . . . Bill Barker elected to Medford school board . . . Mosquito control program well under way . . . Talent Project funds increased to $600,000 by appropriations committee . . . Fifty people attend public hearing on proposed dog racing track near Ashland . . . County equalization board discusses possible ways to assess orchard trees before Aug. 15 deadline . . . Dog racing track denied approval by county court . . . Group exploring for oil in Sams Valley; announces leases have been signed . . . Group meets to oppose annexation of southeast Medford area.
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JULY
    Senate appropriations committee asks $500,000 for start of Talent Project . . . Paul K. Bowker, Central Point, accepted as a member of Antarctic expedition . . . Annexation of 3,000 acres southeast of Medford, and city budget increases $66,510 over 6 percent limitation overwhelmingly defeated by voters . . . Nudist convention held in county . . . Southern Pacific passenger service to end in August . . . Medford wins award for pedestrian safety in 1954 . . . City budget trimmed . . . Talent Project funds cut to $154,000 . . . 50-acre fire on Blackwell Hill controlled . . . Medford Furniture Store damaged in excess of $100,000 by fire . . . 12-year-old Eagle Point girl writes Sir Winston Churchill . . . Parents warned of infection danger from letting children wade in Bear Creek . . . First degree murder trial of Bernice Hampton White opens . . . State Sen. Philip B. Lowry demands a PUC hearing on proposed abandonment of Southern Pacific passenger service . . . Employees of Medford Furniture Company confess fire started accidentally . . . Equalization board orders county assessor to place appraised value of orchard trees on tax roll . . . Voters in two irrigation districts approve repayment contract for rehabilitation work at Four Mile and Fish lakes . . . Explosion damages Rogue River Valley Irrigation District flume . . . Mason Ehrman and Company warehouse safe blown open . . . Bernice Hampton White found guilty of second degree murder . . . Railroad brotherhood protests discontinuance of passenger service . . . White sentenced to life imprisonment . . . PUC delays ending of SP passenger service . . . Huge ball of fire, believed to be a meteor, seen over county . . . Assessed valuation of orchard trees set at $679,520 . . . Manlie Brosio, Italian ambassador to the United States, visits Medford . . . Oregon State Federation of Labor convention here attended by 400; Governor Patterson speaks . . . Rogue River Roundup begins . . . Mayor vetoes bill for paving Kenwood Ave.
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AUGUST
    Crow brothers, held in county jail, admit taking part in 140 safecracking jobs and burglaries, were captured while "blowing" Mason Ehrman and Company safe . . . E. H. Hedrick retires as school superintendent . . . 20th Shakespearean festival opens before a near-capacity crowd . . . Barn fire at Central Point causes $12,000 damages . . . County Assessor R. G. Fowler taken to hospital, apparently with a heart attack . . . Crow brothers sentenced to 25 years in prison . . . Connie Caton named queen of the Jacksonville Jubilee . . . New mail service by truck begins between Ashland and Portland . . . Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Johnson burned seriously when oil drum explodes; two others injured fighting the blaze . . . Fire conditions critical; temperature reaches 102 degrees . . . Southern Pacific "night-crawler" makes last run; passenger service ends . . . Lightning strikes Soda Mountain lookout . . . Loaded log truck breaks through bridge over Evans Creek . . . Irrigation water supply drops to near critical level . . . Chamber of Commerce requests President Eisenhower call special session of Congress to enact a road program . . . Ruby's Kitchen destroyed by fire . . . One-way street system in Ashland approved . . . 4-H, FFA fair gets under way . . . County court approves construction of a new highway from Medford to Klamath Falls . . . City council authorizes a contract for use of sewage facilities with South Bear Creek Sanitary District . . . Mercy Flights Inc. acquires two large twin-engined planes . . . Medford man learns of $10,000 inheritance while on trip to New York . . . Sen. Philip Lowry requests federal action against Southern Pacific for discontinuance of passenger service . . . 40-acre forest fire in Prospect area under control . . . 300 men out of work at Ross Lumber Company due to boxcar shortage . . . County tax millage rate down 13.3 . . . Medford's new junior high schools named for E. H. Hedrick and Dr. John McLoughlin . . . Record audience attends Shakespearean festival . . . Evans Valley residents vote down a $50,000 school bond proposal . . ."Tag Day" sale, sponsored by Red Cross to help flood victims in northeastern sections of the U.S., gets under way here.
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SEPTEMBER
    Pear harvest in full swing . . . Driest agricultural year on record ends . . . A 20-acre fire near Gold Hill brought under control . . . Seattle man held in county jail on a charge of being drunk on a public highway after the plane he was piloting crashed near Talent . . . Medford's 102-degree temperature near record high . . . Forest fires in county go out of control; 11,000 acres burned; five homes destroyed by Tolo fire; other fires in Sykes Creek, Timber Mountain, Nugget Butte, Sterling Mountain; 45 fires in the Rogue River National Forest . . . Local employment at high level . . . Fire destroys Upper Applegate Grange hall . . . Eleven people receive citizenship papers here . . . Residents of Talent asked to stop using water for municipal irrigation . . . Seven people injured in county auto accident . . . Rain eases fire threat and aids irrigation outlook . . . Letter to Santa arrives from Korea asking aid for children . . . Donald Lee Khoebel killed, 16 injured in a car-bus collision at Camp White . . . Drive for United Medford Crusade funds gets under way . . . Mayor Earl Miller gives a report on possible city freeway routes . . . Medford elementary and junior high school enrollment up 13.3 percent . . . More than 1,000 people attend dedication ceremonies at Hedrick Junior High School . . . State Tax Commission declares tree assessments to be void . . . Reseeding of burned-over timber areas to get under way . . . All fish exterminated in Lake of the Woods; to be restocked with rainbow trout . . . Five city schools named to the National Safety Honor Roll . . . Alan B. Holmes named second deputy district attorney . . . Three additional U.S. Army Reserve units to be activated here . . . Boxcar shortage hits area . . . James A. Callan appointed construction engineer for rehabilitation work in this area . . . Oregon state board of health engineers measure air pollution in Medford . . . Elk City water district voters approve $187,000 bond issue . . . Boxcar shortage acute; forces several sawmills to close.
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OCTOBER
    County Treasurer Ralph E. Sweeney resigns because of bad health . . . Public hearings on orchard tree assessments by tax commission members begins . . . 417th Engineer Aviation Brigade activated here . . . Mercy Flights places new planes in use . . . Karl Janouch appointed new county treasurer . . . Employment in county highest in three years . . . Heavy rain cuts fire danger . . . Senator Wayne Morse arrives in Medford . . . Knights of Pythias convention ends . . . Plans announced for a multi-million-dollar Rogue Valley Retirement Manor . . . Ralph E. Sweeney, former county treasurer, dies . . . Medford Planning Commission approves annexation of large area southeast of Medford . . . Senator Morse speaks at Democratic dinner meeting . . . Hearings on orchard tree tax valuations end; 225 appeals considered . . . More sawmills close due to boxcar shortage . . . Eagle Point man to sail on Antarctic expedition . . . Local man pulled into a car, taken to country, robbed and beaten . . . Maj. Gen. William Dean speaks at activation ceremonies for reserve units . . . Joe Willie Haynes injured seriously when struck by car . . . Spectacular lightning storm disrupts electric service in Medford area . . . County court approves plans for financing new Medford-Klamath Falls highway via Lake of the Woods . . . County orchardists ask Supreme Court for writ of mandamus forcing orchard tree assessments from tax rolls . . . National Labor Relations Board opens  hearings on charges against Red Blanket Lumber Company . . . Congressman Harris Ellsworth arrives in Medford . . . Medford family at Junction City terrorized by Eugene jail escapee Martin Reyes . . . Oregon Supreme Court orders county assessors to make orchard tree assessment corrections in tax rolls and turn them over to the sheriff's office for collection or show reason for not doing so . . . County Assessor elects to file an answer to the writ of mandamus . . . Pear harvest completed . . . Congressman Harris Ellsworth speaks at Kiwanis Club meeting . . . Jackson County court announces plans for seven parks along Rogue River . . . Jay F. Grant named to succeed M. L. Tedrow as Rogue River National Forest staff officer . . . Temporary restraining order issued to enjoin the Talent Irrigation District from granting concession rights to R. M. Kent.
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NOVEMBER
    Halloween vandalism light . . . Talent Irrigation District directors drop plans to grant concession rights at Hyatt Lake . . . Oregon Supreme Court calls for additional pleadings in proceedings against county assessor . . . Contract awarded for construction of new elementary schools in Central Point and Gold Hill . . . Judge pro-tem Warren Leasig rules that a jury trial isn't required in city drunk driving cases . . . Man killed when struck by an auto at the Camp White intersection; third similar fatality this year . . . Klamath County court turns down plans for financing the proposed Medford-Klamath Falls highway . . . Five Medford boys injured in an auto accident south of Roseburg . . . Record November snowfall blankets the Rogue Valley . . . Reconstruction of Hansen building, fire-destroyed home of Medford Furniture Company, begins . . . Congressional hearing on timber practices held here . . . Welfare fraud alleged by district attorney . . . Pacific Telephone and Telegraph announces plans to extend toll-free dialing throughout the valley . . . Five cases of burglary cleared by arrests . . . Courteous driver program gets under way . . . School census shows 6,038 people between ages of 4 and 19 in district 49 . . . Five-year-old Central Point boy flown to Eugene hospital with polio.
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DECEMBER
    Crowd of 6500 watches Christmas parade . . . Five-year-old Central Point boy dies of polio in Eugene . . . No auto accidents reported in Medford on Safe Driving Day . . . Survey starts to determine feasibility of constructing an irrigation dam on Dry Creek . . . Bond issues approved by voters in South Bear Creek Sanitary District and Grand View water district . . . Medford city council calls for Jan. 16 annexation elections in two districts, southeast of Medford and Siskiyou Heights . . . Irrigation outlook for 1956 termed good . . . County's 1955 pear crop largest in the history of the industry . . . United Medford Crusade exceeds goal . . . Dismantling of Merrick Ballroom [Natatorium] begins. . . Medford hospitals given $60,500 by Ford grant . . . Bureau of Land Management announces plans for 30 percent timber sales increase in 1956 . . . First in a series of storms forecast brings .46 inches of rain . . . Evergreen Bus Company cancels holiday service to Ashland . . . County School Superintendent Alf B. Mekvold injured in auto accident . . . County planning commission appointed by county court . . . Medford man spends a night in the woods after becoming lost while hunting for Christmas tree . . . Wet Christmas, rising streams forecast . . . Fund established for distributing Salk vaccine . . . City council schedules hearing on off-street parking program . . . Rain, melting snow cause floods in valley; families evacuated, bridges destroyed . . . Medford isolated by flood waters for a short time . . . Flood water highest since 1890s . . . Barney Governor rescued from roof near Gold Hill after being stranded 12 hours by flood . . . Mail Tribune delivered by airplane to Table Rock residents . . . Mercy Flights plane makes trip to isolated Gold Beach to remove sick girl . . . 400 families left homeless by the flood . . . Rehabilitation aid to flooded families begins . . . Flood damage in Jackson County estimated at $600,000 . . . Plans for a Medford professional baseball team called off . . . Bird counters spot 50 species in the county . . . Fred Hale, Grants Pass, rescued from where his small plane crashed in the lower Rogue River country . . . Medford woman believed victim of Yuba City flood . . . Dismissals sought of five remaining indictments against Hugh D'Autremont . . . President Eisenhower designates flood-stricken sections of southwest Oregon as a major disaster area . . . First steps taken by joint soil conservation flood control committee to develop a flood control program . . . City police offer free rides home for New Year's Eve celebrants who feel they shouldn't drive.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1956, page 5



Last revised July 24, 2012