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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Medford News 1959


Roseburg Explosion Voted Top News Story
Ashland Forest Fire No. 2 Spot Story of Year
    The Aug. 7 explosion which leveled several blocks of the downtown Roseburg area was selected unanimously as the top "spot news" story of 1959 by members of the Mail Tribune's news department.
    The story also was selected by press associations as the top news story of the year in Oregon.
    Although it was not a "local story" in the sense that it happened within the Mail Tribune's circulation area, the explosion had its effect here. Many city and county officials went to Roseburg to offer assistance.
    Ranking next to the Roseburg disaster in spot news was the Ashland forest fire, which started the afternoon of Aug. 8 and continued for most of the following week. The vote also was unanimous among the 11 news staff members.
    Six of the 11 members of the staff selected school reorganization in Jackson County as the most important news story of the year. Selection of the most important story is based on the effect of the news over a period of time, and the number of residents affected by it.
    Other first-place votes on the most important story were distributed among the Rogue basin survey, the Talent project and the state's position on recreation uses of county streams.
Human Interest Stories
    In the category of "human interest" stories, the news staff selected the hassle between water users and the Eagle Point Irrigation District as the one with the most interest. The story received five first-place votes.
    The European and Russian trip taken by Dr. Leonard B. Mayfield, Medford school superintendent, received two first-place votes for the best human interest story, while Centennial activities received one vote.
    Ranking second in human interest was Wilbur Gardner's national campaign to have shoes labeled with the material with which they are made. Other stories which received votes as being among the top human interest stories were the Medford Shopping Center and Centennial activities.
    Other stories mentioned as among the top spot news stories were the Morton Milling Company fire and the family tragedy in which a boy killed his father and sister and then took his own life. Visits by Senators John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey also received votes as being one of the better spot news stories of the year.
    Among other stories which received votes as being among the top 10 more important stories of the year were the new Shakespearean theater in Ashland, the county subdivision bill, the Highway 99 freeway development, the Medford Shopping Center, and air and creek pollution.
    Following is a month-by-month review of activities in the area during the past year.
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JANUARY
    Three new county officials, judges take oath of office . . . Members of Jackson County Bar Association pay tribute to retiring Judge Herbert K. Hanna . . . C. Reese Braley, well-known southern Oregonian, died at home . . . Councilman James Dunlevy named president of city council . . . Wilbur Gardner, crusading shoe repairman, informed that bill to require labeling shoes will be introduced in Congress . . . Michael Hanley, prominent rancher, dies in Boise, Ida. . . . Medford police put new radar set into operation . . . $32,977 collected for Shakespearean festival fund . . . Attorneys for Eagle Point Irrigation District and California Oregon Power Company to disqualify Judge Edward C. Kelly in circuit court case of five water users against district and Copco . . . Hugh D'Autremont, convicted in 1923 Siskiyou train robbery, released from state penitentiary . . . Dr. Ray Casterline, Medford, named to state board of medical examiners . . . State Senator Philip B. Lowry urges Public Utilities Commissioner Howard Morgan to decide case of Southern Pacific's abandonment of passenger service between Eugene and Ashland . . . Contract awarded for clearing Emigrant Reservoir area . . . Stockade to be built at Siskiyou summit . . . Ashland considers new junior high school . . . Medford school board authorizes series of meetings with other boards on reorganization . . . Bids called for grading Highway 99 freeway between Grants Pass and Jackson County line . . . Mrs. Maxine A. Click indicted for first degree murder of husband . . . State water resources board agrees that recreation can be beneficial use of Bear Creek, Applegate River and Little Butte Creek . . . Illegal cutting of trees on government land reported . . . Work starts on new sports center south of Medford . . . Evans Valley residents oppose school consolidation with Rogue River . . . Dr. Frank Wilson receives Junior Chamber of Commerce distinguished service award . . . County court may legally establish separate parks and recreation commission, according to district attorney's opinion.
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FEBRUARY
    Trial run of Centennial Pony Express goes off smooth[ly] . . . Harold Lee Parker, 41, Butte Falls Star Route, killed in tractor accident . . . Griffin Creek school district ready to start consolidation proceedings . . . 362 government officials, parents and students take part in Student Government Day . . . School census shows 21,252 children between 4 and 19 years of age . . . January employment at unusually high level . . . Prominent Prospect resident, Robert B. Grieve, dies . . . Medford school board authorizes plans for consolidation for four districts . . . Mrs. Maxine Click pleads innocent to first degree murder . . . Medco gives City of Medford old Shay locomotive . . . Steady downpour dampens Centennial parade . . . High water possible in Rogue and Umpqua basin streams . . . Angus Bowmer given Ford Foundation grant . . . 21 drivers cited since recent radar installation . . . Mrs. Sarah G. Riley, 99, pioneer's daughter, dies . . . On to Oregon Cavalcade will carry souvenir envelopes . . . Mail Tribune Managing Editor Eric Allen Jr. receives award from Freedoms Foundation . . . Denzil Hubert Shilts, Blue River, and Manuel E. Lilja, Redmond, killed in crash . . . Applegate Grange holds Centennial pageant . . . Miss Elaine Kroon, Crater High School senior, and Bob Pone, Medford High senior, win most valuable student contest.
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MARCH
    Preparations for full-scale study of air conditions in Medford area to begin . . . Mental health committee plans family counseling agency . . . Mrs. Harlan Bosworth named Oregon's Mother of the Year . . . Construction of new Shakespearean festival theater in Ashland continues on schedule . . . Sen. and Mrs. John F. Kennedy arrive for annual Roosevelt dinner . . . New lethal chamber for county dog pound readied . . . Bill Jess, Eagle Point, reelected president of Rogue River Flood Control and Water Resources Association . . . County court prepares subdivision bill for action . . . Rogue River Irrigation District discuss plans for reservoir in Agate area . . . Local stations for air sampling set up . . . Thermometers are checked for coming orchard heating . . . Estimated 500 attend Wilson School dedication . . . Old covered bridge over Antelope Creek on Riley Dr. dismantled . . . Berrydale sanitary sewer approved by Medford city council . . . Dr. Ira Dell Phipps, 80, dental surgeon, dies at home . . . Body of 81-year-old Andrew Kolstad found by search party . . . 2,000 join Centennial association's '59er membership program . . . Testimony begins in Click trial . . . Dewey Blackman, 100, dies at Central Point . . . Mrs. Click found not guilty . . . Bids to be called on Rogue Valley Manor . . . Hugh D'Autremont, recently paroled from state penitentiary, dies in San Francisco . . . Condemnation suits brought by state highway commission begin.
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APRIL
    Medford parks and recreation commission discusses plans for West Jackson St. swimming pool . . . Miss Carolyn Meneke selected for European stay . . . Rogue River school district voters approve bond issue to finance elementary school construction . . . Jury awards Joe Allisons, Rogue River, $3,000 for property on freeway right-of-way . . . Little Frank Allen Hunt and Margaret Stephen rule over pear festival . . . Irrigation water supplies said poorest in many years . . . Consolidation of six school districts approved . . . Pear festival parade and sports fair scheduled in Medford . . . Wiley's packing house, Ashland, destroyed by fire . . . Ray Charles D'Autremont, in penitentiary, petitions district court for speedy trial . . . State police arrest Leland Duane Benson, 33, wanted for killing in St. Louis, Mo. . . . Harold Dagis Schuck, 22, killed in highway crash . . . Shopping center expected to provide jobs for 200 . . . J. Russ Acheson hired as assistant superintendent for Medford schools . . . 6,000 ponderosa pine seedlings planted on Roxy Ann Butte and 42 concrete pots placed on downtown sidewalks . . . Bud damage reported from freezing temperatures . . . City and county officials speak of smoke problem from orchard heating . . . Fruit growers discuss orchard heating and air pollution . . . Wagon train leaves Independence, Mo. for Independence, Ore. . . . Ashland approves bond issue for new junior high school . . . 1,000 folders inviting people to visit Jackson County sent to Medford Trail Riders wagon cavalcade . . . Danger of forest fires reported . . . County court petitioned by citizens objecting to orchard heating smoke . . . Glenn Jackson named to state highway commission . . . Vincent Bevis, Hedrick Junior High School principal, dies in Portland . . . Talent Irrigation District starts use of storage water . . . County officials meet with budget committee to plan year's budgets . . . Construction of music and classroom addition at Medford High School expected soon.
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MAY
    Paul D. and Mary G. Conrad awarded $214.75 damages from Eagle Point Irrigation District . . . Epidemic of flu-like illness reported in county . . . Robert L. Haworth, new city parks director, arrives . . . Smoke-reducing program announced by fruit growers committee . . . Bids opened for Rogue Valley Manor construction . . . Retiring school superintendent, H. P. Jewett, honored in Central Point ceremonies . . . Plans approved for further freeway construction . . . Melvin Cook, Ashland logger, killed in California logging accident . . . Bear Creek pollution discussed at public meeting . . . Medford school superintendent Leonard Mayfield selected for trip to Russia . . . Billy Lee Millard, 2-year-old Ashland boy, dies in hay shed blaze . . . City planning commission passes subdivision bill . . . Dedication ceremonies held at Siskiyou summit stockade . . . Robert Lee Jolliffe, 24, Butte Falls, killed in motorcycle mishap . . . Hail research program started in county . . . Dr. Annie Inskeep dies in California . . . County court appoints new parks and recreation commission . . . Oregon Sportsmen Club seeks anti-pollution law enforcement . . . Phoenix school patrons defeat consolidation measure . . . Thirty-nine slot machines confiscated by law enforcement agencies . . . R. and M. Construction Company low bidder for construction of new Bear Creek bridge.
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JUNE
    Plan to increase off-street parking for shoppers in downtown Medford approved by Jackson County Chamber of Commerce . . . Medford city council awards contract for construction of Eighth St. bridge across Bear Creek . . . Subdivision ordinance approved by Medford city council . . . Southern Oregon College president Dr. Elmo N. Stevenson presents diplomas to 339 Medford High School graduates . . . Covered wagon train begins 13-day trek to 4-H summer camp at Corvallis . . . Well-known Medford attorney, Porter J. Neff, 87, dies after lingering illness . . . "Park and Shop" plan approved for Medford by Jackson County Chamber of Commerce's retail merchants group . . . Medford parks and recreation commissioner urges city council to adopt plans for West Jackson St. swimming pool . . . Big forest fire breaks out in Star Gulch area 20 miles southwest of Medford . . . Charles A. Meyer named to succeed H. P. Jewett as superintendent of School District 60 . . . Medford city council approves campaign to raise $15,000 for swimming pool . . . Police use huge hydraulic press to smash slot machines collected in valley roundup . . . John Bowman, 15-year-old student from Hyatt Lake, named grand champion at 24th annual Catfish Derby at TouVelle State Park . . . Burglars net more than $1,100 from safe at Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Medford . . . United Medford Crusade announces 1959-60 goal of $138,782 . . . Dr. A. Erin Merkel, Jackson County public health officer, resigns to take position in San Diego . . . Steam locomotive "Old No. 4" makes last trip, carries passengers instead of logs . . . Question of purchasing five cars for Jackson County sheriff's office boils over in county court . . . Rock Point School, built sometime before 1874, destroyed by fire . . . Local Democrats attend dinner honor Medford attorney Robert Duncan.
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JULY
    Purchase of 40-acre county recreation site on Applegate assured by county parks and recreation commission chairman . . . Swimming pool at West Jackson St. estimated to cost $90,000 . . . County residents celebrate a generally safe, sane Fourth of July . . . Medford American Legion post launches drive to raise funds for $40,000 Veterans Memorial building . . . Two New Mexico men arrested, admit burglarizing 14 local business establishments . . . U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes study of potential projects for Rogue River basin . . .Jackson County fiscal 1959-60 budget of over $3.6 million approved . . . Some sheriff's deputies drive own cars as result of continuing hassle over purchase of new autos . . . U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces opposition to any dams on main stem of Rogue River . . . County Assessor Ray Schumacher declares Medford and Eagle Point school district budgets invalid because of recent interpretation of attorney general's ruling . . . Medford's school traffic safety education program wins National Safety Council certificate of achievement . . . Heat wave strikes; several sections of Rogue River National Forest ordered closed because of fire danger . . . Water supply nears critically low stage at both Medford and Talent irrigation districts . . . Pinehurst residents protest proposed reorganization of their non-high school district with Ashland school district . . . Assessed value of land, buildings, personal property and utilities reported up more than $600,000 over last fiscal year . . . Medford registers seventh straight day of over 100-degree temperatures . . . Harry Holmes, co-founder of nation's largest gift fruit packing firm, dies at 68 . . . Pacific Northwest conference on higher education opens at Southern Oregon College . . . Opening night of Oregon Shakespeare Festival season attended by standing room-only crowds . . . Nearly 1,000 men battle forest fire in Siskiyou County . . . Miner, 76, later arrested for causing blaze . . . Mercy Flights, Inc. buys two new aircraft . . . Medford city council passes ordinance permitting jury trials in municipal court.
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AUGUST
    Jacksonville Gold Rush Jubilee opens . . . Mrs. Esther Lonch, 31-year-old mother of four, charged with murdering William B. Simmons, 62-year-old Camp White Veterans Domiciliary member . . . Forest fire in hills threatens entire city of Ashland; rages for two days, eventually covers nearly 5,000 acres . . . Roseburg downtown area leveled by explosive . . . Week-long Jackson County 4-H and FFA fair opens . . . County Judge Earl Miller returns money paid his garage for repair of his county car . . . Talent teenager, Carolyn Tiegs, named champion poultry showman and grand champion poultry exhibitor at fair . . . New shopping center opens on East Jackson St. . . . Medford city council approves plans and specifications and calls for bids for construction of West Jackson St. swimming pool . . . Kiwanis-sponsored county fair opens as 4-H/FFA fair draws to close . . . Jackson County planning commission slates public hearing on prepared new interim zoning ordinance . . . 200 Mexican laborers begin to arrive to relieve critical fruit picker shortage . . . Morton Milling Company plant in Medford gutted by $400,000 fire.
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SEPTEMBER
    Jackson County Chamber of Commerce's board of directors considers possibility of constructing new building to house chamber . . . Unemployment in Jackson County drops to lowest level in four years . . . Two gunmen rob Safeway food store at Medford Shopping Center of $2,000 to $5,000 . . . Record total of 36,338 attend plays at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland . . . Interim zoning ordinance approved by Jackson County planning commission . . . Nine lightning strikes reported from thunderstorm over Rogue Valley . . . Jackson County court considers proposal for multi-purpose stadium at fairgrounds . . . Some 7,505 begin classes in Medford school district's 17 schools . . . Fire destroys White City Box Company factory . . . Patrons of Phoenix and Talent school districts vote for consolidation of the two districts . . . State board of health approves $157,173 in federal Hill-Burton funds for construction of Ashland General Hospital . . . Jackson County court studies proposed plan for establishing work relief projects . . . Hundreds of doctors attend 3-day Oregon State Medical Society convention here . . . Construction starts on new osteopathic hospital in Central Point . . . Dr. William W. P. Holt, Medford, named "Doctor of the Year" by Oregon State Medical Society . . . Twelve-year-old local junior high school student shoots father and little sister to death, then takes own life . . . Medford school superintendent Dr. Leonard B. Mayfield leaves for month-long trip to Russia and Europe.
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OCTOBER
    All bids for pool at new Jackson Park rejected by Medford city council . . . Otto S. Mayer, Eagle Point, suffers fatal heart attack on hunting trip . . . Jose Manrubia Martinez arrested for burglary . . . Otto M. Brown assumes duties as superintendent of Crater Lake National Park . . . Sen. Hubert Humphrey speaks at local breakfast . . . Representative Edith Green visits Medford . . . Ashland burn area reseeded . . . John A. Perl, 85, dies in Portland . . . $2,000 taken from Shady Cove market . . . Richard Wayne Malfield, 10-year-old Ashland boy, dies of gunshot wound . . . Lavern Walrud killed when gun accidentally fires . . . John Moad and A. O. Samson, operators of sporting goods stores, die . . . Ashland voters approve bond issue to help finance new hospital . . . Jose M. Martinez sentenced to state penitentiary . . . Two Shady Cove women kill cougar on Upper Elk Creek . . . Construction company seeks extension of deadline for Bear Creek bridge . . . Two more stores open in Medford shopping center . . . Mrs. Esther E. Lonch, 31, pleads guilty to manslaughter . . . Mrs. Louvelia Russell, 71, Yakima, Wash., dies following car-truck collision.
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NOVEMBER
    Omar A. Bacon named head of county library system . . . 35 reports of Halloween mischief made to police . . . City firemen accept toys for repair . . . Training courses set for agricultural census takers . . . C. W. Anhorns awarded $18,000 for land in condemnation suit . . . Six youths arrested on arson charges following burning of empty Eagle Point house . . . Medford receives school traffic safety award . . . Fred Karpstein, 34, admits robbery of Holly Theater . . . Dr. Leonard Mayfield returns from trip to Russia and Europe . . . Private forests to be posted to prevent Christmas tree thefts . . . John Ralph Pennington, 38, dies of injuries in car wreck . . . Donald Martin Thompson, 36, Klamath Falls, arrested as suspect in Safeway robbery . . . Junior Chamber of Commerce plans polio clinics . . . Lavonne H. Peters, 44, Central Point, dies of logging accident injuries . . . 1,000 families to be contacted in county-wide cancer research project . . . Residents voice opposition to proposed wrecking yard on Highway 62 . . . Robert Carr Mix, 43, arrested on charge of assault with a deadly weapon . . . 3,664 persons receive shots in first polio clinic . . . Businessmen visit schools on Education-Business Day . . . County medical society approves having two general hospitals in Medford . . . George S. Reilly, Ashland, found guilty of failing to send 9-year-old daughter to school . . . $3,500 taken in burglary of Eastside Big Y Market . . . Bids to be opened Dec. 8 on Rogue River bridge at Homestead and freeway overcrossing at Grants Pass . . . Library open house honors new librarian . . . Thedford Reddell, 34, electrocuted as Medco crane hits power line . . . Low water table reported in county . . . Federal grant approved for new Ashland hospital . . . Medford wins state football championship . . . Santa Claus arrives in helicopter . . . Faber's Market loses $1,023 to burglars . . . Body of miner, Walter H. Woodfin, 56, recovered near Gold Hill . . . Orchardist Harold B. Jordan, 77, dies . . . Precipitation continues below normal.
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DECEMBER
    Western Oregon Assessors meet in Medford . . . Loren Ritchie awarded contract for new Jackson County Federal Savings and Loan building . . . County court considers possible new stadium . . . Ronald Harding, 22, dies of injuries received in traffic mishap . . . Water shortage in Central Point being studied . . . Work under way on new building to house bigger press for Mail Tribune . . . Paul Rynning retires after 35 years as county engineer . . . County court considers new fair building . . . Excavation tests made for proposed athletic stadium at fairgrounds . . . Studies should be made before county-wide zoning attempted, planners told . . . Eight contractors take out plans for Jackson Park pool . . . Light rain eases dry conditions . . . 3,030 persons receive polio shots at second clinic . . . Southern Oregon College coach Ted Schopf injured in accident in northern California . . . About 500 paperback books added to library . . . Low bid of $89,293 submitted by National Gunite Company and Holiday Pool Company for Jackson Park pools . . . Rogue Valley Art Association formed . . . American Legion announces plans to build community building . . . Gas pipeline to Medford under consideration . . . First municipal court jury trial held . . . Alfred Charles Offord, 32, killed in logging mishap . . . Medford city council approves zone variance for Siskiyou Memorial Park mortuary . . . Schools change programs because of continued heavy fog . . . First National Bank of Oregon to establish branch at Phoenix . . . Local architect Ben Todd, 63, dies at home . . . Mail volume at Medford post office 20 percent more than last year . . . C. Weldon Kline, valley forester, dies . . . Formal Christmas tree relighting program planned by local United Nations association . . . Representative Charles O. Porter seeks opinions of individuals and organizations on Agate Dam project . . . County court discusses the TouVelle scholarship fund with county school superintendent Alf Mekvold and Judge Edward C. Kelly . . . Hearing on Eagle Point Irrigation District injunction resumes in circuit court . . . Ground broken for new Jackson Park swimming pool . . . Testimony starts in case of Donald M. Thompson, who is charged with robbing Safeway store here.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1959, page 5



Last revised July 24, 2012