Weather, or Its Offspring, Voted Top News Story of Past Year
The weather during the past year had more of an effect on area residents than any other news happening.January
The weather, in the natural course of events, always makes the news columns, but this year the weather made more news than in the past, and as a result it, and its fury, was considered the top news story of the year by Mail Tribune news department personnel.
The effects of the weather during the year will be felt for many years in the future.
It all started last January, when sub-zero temperatures, on top of about a 10-inch snowfall, persisted for several days, winter-killing many shrubs and household plants, freezing water pipes and cars and running heating bills higher.
The spring generally was cool.
Temperature Sets New Record
Then suddenly the temperature went to 100 degrees or more for 10 consecutive days, setting a new record in Medford.
It turned cool again (cool, considering it was summertime).
And three months ago the wind blew, and earlier this month it rained.
And people still are talking about the Columbus Day windstorm, and the Dec. 2 flood along Bear Creek and Little Butte Creek in the Eagle Point area.
All but one member of the news department selected the weather, or one of its playful offspring, as the top news story of the year. Some staff members selected the Oct. 12 windstorm; others named the Dec. 2 flood, and others just indicated "weather." One staff member rated the postmaster discussion the No. 1 story, and the Dec. 2 flood second.
Highway Construction Ranks High
Highway construction, especially work on the freeway, was rated the second top story of the year by 7 of the 12 people voting. The defeat of the home rule charter was rated second by two members, while politics, the Rogue Basin Project and the Dec. 2 flood received a vote each as the second top story.
Third-, fourth- and fifth-place news stories during the year included five stories with progress in education breaking into the top five stories for the first time in several years.
Five staff members rated the Rogue Basin Project the third top story. Other third-rated stories included education, three votes; freeway, two votes; the Tiller mountain slide and the Medford-Alba, Italy exchanges, one each.
Five staff members rated education as the fourth-ranked story. Three members rated the defeat of the home rule charter as the fourth story, and one vote each was cast for the Alba-Medford exchange, hospital and other buildings, the Tiller mountain slide, and Marvin Madden and the postmastership.
Fifth-Ranked Varies Greatly
The fifth-ranked news story of the year varied greatly among staff members. Three believed politics ranked fifth, and two rated the Sabin oral polio vaccine fifth. Receiving one vote each were the McGahuey execution, the Madden-post office argument, the Winnemucca to the Sea Highway, and progress in education.
The story of a girl who stepped from Jacksonville to Atlantic City received 8 of the 12 votes as the top human interest story of the year.
It was the first time in several years that a girl from Oregon placed in the top 10 in the Miss America contest. To get to the national contest, Miss Martha Wyatt won the Miss Rogue Valley and the Miss Oregon contests.
The other four first-place votes for the best human interest story went to the Leroy Sanford McGahuey execution--the trial, sentence and the appeals attempting to prevent the execution.
Second Top Human Interest Story
The McGahuey execution was ranked second top human interest story by six staff members. Two others rated the Marty Wyatt story as second, and the rest of the votes went to the sister city program. Mrs. Ann Todd, the story of the death of a Grants Pass woman and her two children, and fires, especially the case involving a series of 12 fires in Jackson and Josephine counties.
The sister city program, principally the telephone call via Telstar to Alba, Italy, was rated third most interesting human interest story by seven staff members.
Other third-place votes went to Democratic in-party disagreements, the story of the death of a Grants Pass woman and children, the unsolved Crater Lake murders, Mrs. Todd's trial early in the year and a baby being abandoned by a Grants Pass woman in a Medford park restroom.
Nine Stories Vie for Fourth
Nine different stories shared honors for the fourth-ranked human interest story during the year.
Two votes each were cast for the story of a Grants Pass mother abandoning her baby in a Medford park, the Mrs. Ann Todd story, and the Tiller mountain slide.
One vote each was cast for stories about Miss Oregon, the sister city program, the McGahuey execution, the Dec. 2 flood, a Grant Pass boy taking a plane and flying it to California, and increased interest in fallout shelters.
Six staff members voted the story about the abandoned baby in a restroom in a Medford park as the fifth-ranked human interest story, while the other six votes were distributed among six different stories. They were the Tiller mountain sliding, the death of a Grants Pass mother and her children, Marty Wyatt, no progress in the Crater Lake murder case, the Sabin oral vaccine clinics, and fires, especially the series of fires in Jackson and Josephine counties.
A month-by-month review of news happenings in this area follows:
Intensification of mosquito control planned . . . 1,500 visit Howard Prairie Lake for ice skating . . . Testimony ends in escrow company case . . . 793 businesses listed in Medford . . . Harry Skerry Jr. heads Jackson County Bar Association . . . Jackson Hotel scheduled to reopen . . . Medford High School grandstand fund reaches halfway mark . . . Revised copies of Jackson County Home Rule charter received by committee members . . . Local meeting planned to discuss fallout shelters . . . Driver improvement school to start . . . Planners ask for coordinator for Bear Creek project . . . Irrigation water outlook satisfactory . . . Work schedule set for Rogue Basin Project . . . C. O. Lovejoy reelected president of Jackson County Planning Commission . . . Janis Bateman wins state Elks leadership contest . . . Zone change to permit Safeway store denied by planners . . . Eagle Point plans old-time political rally . . . Community survey to be conducted concerning fallout shelters . . . Bomb threat reported by J. C. Penney store . . . Several inches of snow deposited in valley overnight . . . Home rule committee to submit charter to voters in May . . . More snow forecast . . . Welfare officials discuss pilot program . . . Expansion of jail facilities to be studied . . . Cold temperatures freeze many pipes . . . Steel beams to be placed on freeway . . . Temporary ice rink constructed in Hawthorne Park . . . Warming trend to continue . . . H. D. Christensen named chairman of school budget committee . . . Eagle Point woman dies in home fire . . . Improvements planned at airport . . . Enrichment classes for gifted students to begin at Southern Oregon College.February
Archie Price named man of year in Ashland . . . Mrs. Ann Todd fined by Judge Sawyer . . . Bengtson scheduled to start sentence . . . Iron Gate project on Klamath River dedicated . . . Hatfield to speak at distinguished service award banquet . . . Site surveyed for new federal building here . . . Cold weather paralyzes employment in county . . . Area future farmers plan European trip . . . Dr. Doug P. Philips awarded distinguished service award; Elliott Becken named senior citizen . . . Minor changes made in home rule charter . . . Edwin R. Durno enters Senate race . . . Two Medford men killed in two-car crash . . . 100 persons attend Jacksonville town meeting . . . Federal agencies support Rogue Basin Project . . . Charter to be signed by committee . . . Parks and recreation commission requests Bear Creek land for park projects . . . Multipurpose stadium suggested . . . Grants Pass industrial park to get electronics firm . . . John Snider named head of committee to encourage sister city relations . . . Mountainside near Tiller slowly slides . . . Medford High School seniors named to academic honors . . . Southern Oregon expects to receive federal recreation funds . . . Work starts to widen South Riverside Ave. . . . Medford school district general fund at $4,253,022 approved . . . Ashland plans adoption of sister city . . . Three saved-a-life awards presented at Safety Council banquet . . . Mrs. Ann Todd found guilty of disturbing public meeting . . . Mrs. Fred E. Rankin named Zonta Club woman of year . . . Agate Dam project reported favorable from Senate committee . . . Complaints of wrong blood transfusions filed against Ashland General Hospital . . . Outdoor classes for grade school students said possibility.March
Self-evaluation report given on Jackson School . . . Work begins to bring direct distance dialing to area . . . Jackson House, former Jackson Hotel, opens . . . Medford council calls for vote on annexation of area southwest of town . . . Paul Bethel to attend FBI school of law enforcement . . . Rehabilitation center for blind discussed . . . Water forecast revised down . . . Preliminary work starts on county budget . . . Southern Oregon College use of old Ashland General Hospital indicated . . . New building proposed for Sacred Heart Hospital . . . Agate Dam bill gets approval in Senate . . . Mrs. Edward C. (Mary) Kelly named to national board of Woman's Medical College, Philadelphia, Pa. . . . Douglas F. Gordenier elected president of United Crusade . . . Magnolia trees planted in downtown Medford . . . Phoenix school budget approved . . . New signs to designate Rogue Valley recreation areas . . . Pacific Power and Light Company announces extensive area building program . . . Public hearing set on District 6 school budget . . . Crater High School plans new stadium seating . . . Siskiyou County declared a depressed area . . . New rating to reduce fire insurance costs . . . Grants Pass High School wins state basketball tournament . . . Janis Bateman places third in national Elks youth leadership contest . . . Ford Foundation support expected for Oregon education project . . . Pears suffer some injury from winter cold . . . Medford school district budget adopted . . . Funds asked for expanded mental health unit . . . County Commissioner Edwin Taylor opposes concession contract . . . Candidates appear at Eagle Point political rally . . . O. H. Bengtson permanently disbarred by court . . . 35,741 registered to vote in Jackson County.
Glenn L. Jackson named chairman of Oregon Highway Commission . . . State Water Resources Board recommends Congressional authorization of Rogue Basin Project . . . Home rule charter causes explosion in Democratic Central Committee . . . State education project receives $3.5 million in Ford Foundation funds . . . Skin rash reported afflicting children in county schools . . . Bids to be asked on new Medford High School grandstand . . . Water supply prospects improving . . . Indications show Medford will remain on standard time . . . Paving experiment planned on Medford-Ashland freeway . . . American Legion presents plan for ball park to Jackson County budget committee . . . Tame deer escape from Lithia Park as result of fence slashing . . . Sen. Wayne Morse to speak at 12th annual Roosevelt memorial dinner . . . Copies of home rule charter circulated . . . State welfare commission plans regional session here . . . United Nations Association-sponsored peace center opens for duration of Holy Week . . . Orchard heating general in valley . . . Freeway construction stopped by strike . . . King and queen of Pear Blossom Festival selected . . . Grants Pass mill destroyed by fire . . . Families served by county food surplus center show no decrease . . . Bob Bosworth designs Oregon's representation at Seattle World's Fair . . . City council approves off-street parking under freeway viaduct . . . Doug Robertson serves as mayor during Student Government Day . . . Lakes jammed with recreation seekers . . . Budget request for detention home classes stalemated . . . Medford students honored at scholastic recognition dinner . . . First two floors of new Rogue Valley Hospital wing now in use . . . First Sabin oral polio vaccine clinic slated in valley . . . Church-sponsored float wins first place in annual Pear Blossom Festival parade . . . Building fund campaign planned by local Salvation Army.
Housing development for retired scheduled for construction in Ashland . . . Sabin vaccine importance stressed by Dr. A. Erin Merkel . . . Dedication set for Rogue River-Grants Pass freeway section . . . Graff and James awarded contract for construction of new grandstand at high school . . . George F. Putnam Sr., long-time Eagle Point resident, dies at home . . . Forest Service range analysis criticized by Jackson County cattlemen . . . Job activity in county high, John J. Patton, local state employment service manager, says . . . Hailstorm damages about 100 acres of pears in Talent area . . . Two debates scheduled on county home rule charter . . . Finalists named in Miss Rogue Valley pageant . . . Tentative county budget total proposed . . . 17,000 attend first day of Jackson County polio clinics . . . Early-day Jacksonville houses razed . . . All-number calling system installed by Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Company . . . Policy on Mexican nationals in fruit harvest not to change . . . Voters select candidates at primary election . . . Charles P. Champlin urges salary raise for senior patrolmen . . . Garner T. Haupert, Medford student, to live in Norway during summer under American Field Service program . . . City of Medford budget approved by committee . . . "Ride and Shop" proposal made by Medford merchants, Evergreen Bus Lines . . . C. C. Beekman home, Jacksonville, to be opened to public . . . Continuous strip paving to be utilized for Medford-Ashland portion of freeway . . . Orchard labor situation declared "hopeful."June
Gov. Mark O. Hatfield dedicates Grants Pass-Rogue River freeway strip . . . Martha Louise Wyatt named Miss Rogue Valley . . . Sabin oral polio clinic series continues . . . Local swimming pools open for business, schedule classes . . . Final canvass made of May primary elections; winners stand . . . Rogue River State Park to open July 1 . . . Oregon Shakespeare Festival season preparations begin . . . Freeway contractor to restore Bear Creek bank bordering Hawthorne Park . . . 540 attend opening of Hawthorne Convalescent and Rehabilitation Center . . . Rogue River National Forest allowable cut tentatively increased . . . C. T. Jackson appointed director of Veterans Administration Domiciliary, White City . . . Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall recommends authorization of Rogue Basin Projects . . . Five-year contract signed by county court and Bob Johnston, Howard Prairie concessionaire . . . "Geronimo" is winner of annual Rogue River rooster crowing contest . . . Stage Coach Orchards packing plant destroyed by fire . . . Holiday House trailer manufacturing firm destroyed by second major fire . . . Raymond Reter, Wayne Morse to confer on harvest labor problems . . . School board approves plans for new Medford High School to be constructed by 1965 . . . Hugh P. Jennings named chairman of Jackson County Republican Central Committee . . . Joan A. Mills named chairman of Jackson County Democratic Central Committee . . . Verne Athanas, Ashland novelist, dies of heart attack . . . $167,683 set as goal for Jackson County United Crusade . . . Paul Bettiol named interim sheriff . . . Public hearing held in Talent Sanitary District . . . Medford man arrested for splitting $20 bills . . . Forest fire burns 200 acres north of Rogue River . . . Sears warehouse, White City, burns . . . Medford Gospel Mission holds last service . . . County budget increased following hearing . . . Strike called against Rogue Valley Creamery . . . "Goal Getter" Days give public opportunity to contribute to Salvation Army building fund.July
Oregon State Police crack down on illegal salmon anglers on Rogue River . . . Southern Oregon cities plan Fourth of July activities . . . Ned Langford appointed director for city planning . . . Medford High School thespian troupe receive superior rating at national dramatic arts conference, University of Indiana . . . Negotiations settle strike at Rogue Valley Creamery . . . Sewer service rates to be increased in Medford area . . . LeRoy Sanford McGahuey to die in gas chamber Aug. 20 . . . City population rises to 25,750 . . . Seven-inch alligator loose on city streets . . . Crater High School football stadium fund short $5,000 . . . Ross Youngblood, district manager of Bureau of Land Management, transferred to Fairbanks, Alaska district . . . Southern Oregon direct distance dialing to commence July 15 . . . Pino Dutto, Alba, Italy lawyer, to visit in Medford . . . Grants Pass area fires believed work of arsonist . . . Bids for federal building tentatively scheduled to be called in March . . . 10,464 direct distance dialing calls made in Medford Monday . . . County planning commission approve redevelopment plan for Phoenix area . . . Capacity crowd expected at first night opening of "Comedy of Errors" and Feast of the Tribe of Will . . . Martha Louise Wyatt, 19, Jacksonville, chosen Miss Oregon at Seaside . . . Oregon State Board of Higher Education approves plans for Southern Oregon College buildings . . . Dr. Richard Gilkey assumes post as director of Jackson County curriculum materials center . . . Bartlett pear crop estimated at 38,000 tons . . . City to receive two awards for traffic safety . . . 3,555 see first round of plays at Ashland Shakespearean festival . . . Alba crowd cheers as sister city mayors talk by telephone via Telstar . . . Bureau of Land Management sets allowable timber cut at 98 million board feet . . . Lightning causes 13 fires on state and federal property from storm . . . Textron to establish plant in Grants Pass . . . Temperatures of 100 degrees for 10 days set record in valley.August
Activities slated for annual Jacksonville Gold Rush Jubilee . . . Chester Wendt returns to county office after study tour of England and Europe . . . Mayor Snider proposes city park be named "Park of Alba," proclaims Aug. 18 Alba Day . . . Claude Walter Chase arraigned for setting fire to forest land . . . Children's parade culminates activities of Medford summer recreation program . . . "A Thieves' Ballad" presented by Ashland Shakespearean festival . . . "Winter-type" rain boosts precipitation above normal . . . McGrew Brothers sawmill plans move to Ashland site . . . Moore Hamilton, 58, Medford postmaster, dies . . . Donna Wilson, Prospect High School junior, chosen as queen of annual Prospect Jamboree . . . E. Ron Rice elected 1963 Pacific Northwest Kiwanis District Governor in Yakima meeting . . . Harvest starts for Bartlett pears and area peaches . . . Dinner honors Pino Dutto, Alba lawyer . . . Medford youth sentenced to repair Rogue Valley Country Club golf course as result of vandalism . . . City council approves revised fire code, sets three-year grace period . . . Candidate dearth noted in Central Point election . . . 4-H and Future Farmers of America county fair climaxes . . . Public hearing called on proposal to join Phoenix and Medford school districts . . . American Field Service foreign exchange students arrive for school year stay . . . Earthquake felt throughout area; no damage reported . . . Mexican nationals arrive to aid in pear harvest . . . Fred Robinson joins Jimmy Dunlevy and Bill Singler as candidates for mayor . . . Poormans Creek fire burns 425 acres before controlled . . . Transient arrested after setting fire to boxcar; second transient burned . . . Crop duster runs out of gas, lands in vacant field near city . . . Sacred Heart Hospital awarded $623,000 in Hill-Burton Act funds . . . Large crop of Bartletts contains small pears . . . Mayor John Snider receives American Municipal Association award in recognition of sister city program.September
Mrs. Kay Crowell resigns as Jackson County juvenile officer . . . Eleven injured in multiple-car accident near Grants Pass . . . Martha Wyatt, Miss Oregon, starts official competition in Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. . . . Shakespearean festival ends season with plays viewed by 44,708 . . . 503,118 people visit Crater Lake National Park during year . . . Police recover three of five paintings missing from Mark Antony Hotel in Ashland . . . Martha Wyatt among top 10 finalists in Miss America contest . . . Local bakers indicted for violation of balloon bread regulations . . . United Fund campaigns to begin programs in Medford and Ashland-Talent area . . . Junior Chamber of Commerce sponsors seat belt program . . . Rural school board votes against annexation of Phoenix to Medford school district . . . Mrs. Ella Percy, resident of Jackson County Farm Home, receives note of congratulations on 100th birthday from President John F. Kennedy . . . Grants Pass boy, 15, steals airplane, flies to Redding, Calif. . . . Kenneth G. Denman, local lawyer, dies at age of 58 . . . Medford school district personnel to visit eastern schools as part of Oregon program . . . Thirty area residents to camp out, participate in activities before and after dedication of Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway . . . Twenty-four candidates for office accept invitation to Medford League of Women Voters' candidates fair . . . Southern Oregon College enrollment sets record of 1,592 . . . Corporation of county citizens to be formed to construct ski resort on Mt. Ashland if entrance road is assured . . . Department of Health, Education and Welfare approves $60,257 grant for construction of Jackson County health center . . . Five Jackson County high school students named semi-finalists in National Merit scholarship competition.October
Robert L. Ryles found guilty of setting fire to boxcar . . . Oregon teenagers run out of gas, money on way to fight Castro . . . Reichhold Chemicals, Inc. to construct $500,000 plant in White City industrial area . . . Fire guts apartment over Jacksonville market . . . Heavy rain shuts down construction projects, harvesting and fire danger . . . Area lakes may be opened for bird hunting . . . C. C. Hoover calls on valley residents to help save pear crop . . . 600 attend Candidates Fair . . . City planners suggest off-street parking at new post office . . . Power outages reported in area as result of windstorm . . . Winds reported up to 58 miles per hour during near-hurricane storm . . . Red Cross reports emergency situation in Northwest blood supply . . . United Crusade reaches 55 percent of goal . . . Grants Pass woman, two sons found shot to death in automobile . . . Final arrangements made for Lyndon B. Johnson's visit to Medford . . . Tentative groundbreaking ceremonies set for Sacred Heart Hospital . . . Grants Pass woman admits being mother of child "abandoned" in Medford park . . . Bids to be opened on state highway projects in Jackson County for an estimated total of more than $2.7 million . . . Two paintings missing from Ashland art exhibit recovered in Fairfield, Calif. . . . U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy 51,120 boxes of Bartlett pears . . . Civil Defense office receives inquiries about fallout shelters as result of Cuban crisis . . . Hart's Jewelry, Grants Pass, victim of $10,000 jewel robbery . . . Fairgrounds committee adopts name of Greater Jackson County Fairgrounds Planning Committee, elects Hugh Jennings as chairman . . . General office building to be built at West Eighth and Ivy sts.November
Medford to host 16th annual convention of Oregon Dry Cleaners Association, Inc. . . . Storm causes extensive damage in Rogue River National Forest . . .Voter turnout expected to be 70 percent . . . Hatfield, Duncan, Morse win state offices, Dunlevy wins mayor's post . . . Uniform daylight saving time approved by voters . . . Claude Warren Chase and Harry Stumbo change pleas to guilty in circuit court . . . Ralph Bates, Medford, state policeman, slain near Arlington . . . Medford to receive $14,700 federal grant toward purchase of Bear Creek Park land . . . Speaker's stand in Medford Library Park to be dedicated . . . Arrest of three juveniles may stop beginnings of teenage burglary gang . . . Norwalk, Conn. school official tours Medford schools, presents Norwalk school plan . . . Chlorine added to Medford water to maintain purity since heavy October rains . . . Medford residents attend mall workshop on rejuvenation of downtown districts at Pomona, Calif. . . . Rogue Valley Hospital ends fiscal year in debt for first time since construction of new building . . . Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Company pays $289,001 in taxes to Jackson County . . . 350 young people expected to attend 15th annual United Presbyterian Youth Assembly for Oregon here . . . Laurance V. Espey elected president of Oregon County Parks Association, works on program for new year . . . Hunters, missing overnight, found by sheriff's deputies in Long Prairie area . . . Oregon Orchard, Inc. sues insurance firm for hail damage to pears . . . Possible lease of historic U.S. Hotel in Jacksonville considered by Siskiyou Pioneer Sites Foundation . . . Oregon Reclamation Congress holds Medford conference . . .Oregon Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation draws about 250 men and women to 45th annual conclave . . . Exchange showing of 10 representative pieces of art arranged between Medford and Alba, Italy . . . James Callan, project engineer for Talent division, Rogue River Basin Project, assigned to Snowy Mountains Authority in Australia.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 30, 1962, page 6
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Booming Medford has growing pains. Like a youngster entering its teens, it finds its shirt sleeves too short and its pants legs too high.
Its high school football stadium is too small to accommodate the crowds. The Medford Mail Tribune talks of a stadium with a minimum capacity of 10,000.
The city has no auditorium big enough to handle community-wide events. The city has had to pass up offers of a professional baseball team for want of an adequate ballpark.
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Medford can be assured that the remainder of the state awaits its natural growth with anticipation.
One phase of that growth will be the addition of a second high school within about two years. There isn't a major high school football coach in the state who won't be glad when Medford becomes so large it is forced to split the Black Tornadoes into two lesser storms.--Oregon Statesman, Salem.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1962, page 4
Last revised August 31, 2012