General Election Rated Top Local Story of '56
Talent Project, Floods Also Get High Ratings
The 1956 general election was selected unanimously as the top local news story this year by members of the Mail Tribune's newsroom. It was the only story to receive a unanimous rating.
The general election Nov. 6 included office races on the state, county and city levels, as well as various measures, including Medford's capital improvement program; the latter itself placed among the top 10 local stories of the year.
Six of the nine newsroom staff members picked the Talent project as the second top story, while the other three rated it third. Early in the year, $2,400,000 was authorized to start the project, and in late summer and early fall actual construction got under way.
Last February's floods, the threat of floods early this fall, and continuing interest shown in some form of flood control for the Rogue River basin was rated second by three members of the news staff, while five rated the flood story third and one fourth.
Medford's capital improvement program was rated the fourth-ranked story of the year by five staff members, one rated it third, and one each fifth, sixth and seventh. The program includes an arterial street program and improvement and extension of sanitary and storm sewers.
Interest shown in location of a Highway 99 freeway through the Rogue Valley was rated the fifth-ranking story by six staff members. Two rated it sixth and one eighth.
Staff members varied considerably in rating other top local news stories of the year.
One picked annexations to Medford as fifth among importance, while three rated it sixth, one seventh, two eighth and two 10th. The annexations were the southeast area, Kenwood-Grandview, and attempts to annex the Berrydale area north of Medford in addition to smaller annexations which required no election since 100 percent of the property owners requested annexation.
Rogue Valley Memorial Hospital's fundraising campaign and start of construction was rated fourth by one staff member, sixth by two, eighth by three and 10th by one. The National Park Service's Mission 65 program, which will provide $4,000,000 worth of improvements at Crater Lake National Park during the next 10 years, received eight votes for ratings in the top 10. One staff member placed it fifth, one sixth, two seventh, two ninth and two 10th.
Other news stories which received votes for rating in the top 10 included the Billy Junior Nunn murder case, Vice President Richard Nixon's visit to Medford, expansion programs by Columbia Utilities Company and the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, expansion of facilities at Southern Oregon College, annexations and consolidations to the Medford school district, the foggy weather, the city retaining a planning consultant, and the story of two Medford Boy Scouts injured in a fall down a bluff along the lower Rogue River area.
The story which was rated as the most interesting, but not necessarily the one which will have an effect on the development of Southern Oregon, was the story about the Stumbo family closing a section of Highway 99 north of Grants Pass.
Five staff members rated the Stumbo story as the most interesting, while four others rated the story about the Boy Scouts being injured along the lower Rogue as the most interesting.
The story about Medford High School boys appearing at school one day in Bermuda shorts, and the porcupine eradication contest in Jackson County, received almost the same number of votes for the third most interesting story of the year.
Other stories which received votes for being among the most interesting of the year were shots for polio and the foggy weather.
Interior Department approves contract for Link River dam operation . . . Barneburg Hill site chosen for Rogue Valley Manor retirement home . . . Mrs. Blanche Lyman, administrator of Jackson County welfare department, discharged by the state commission . . . Walter Hoffbuhr, 507 Holly St., Medford, elected secretary-manager of Talent Irrigation District . . . E. C. Ferguson, 64, managing editor of the Mail Tribune since 1928, dies . . . Rogue Valley Memorial Hospital campaign starts . . . Fire destroys mill at Talent Saw Mills, Inc. . . . Flood damage for Rogue River National Forest installations estimated at $62,000 . . . Dr. Lloyd L. Sanders, Medford dentist, dies of heart attack . . . Support for control of Rogue basin flooding is demonstrated . . . President Eisenhower asks nearly $3,000,000 for projects in Jackson County; $2,400,000 is for Talent project . . . Residents southeast of Medford vote to join city . . . New east side fire station planning authorized . . . Keith Gildesgard and Robert Allen, of the Medford police department, and George Milligan, chairman and founder of Mercy Flights, honored at Safety Council dinner . . . Non-profit corporation formed for flood control in the Rogue basin . . . John Pletsch elected president of county planning commission . . . Richard L. Henselman wins Distinguished Service Award . . . County assessor's office disclaims any error in computing tax rates this year . . . Final estimate on flood damage in Jackson County, $914,495, sent to state, federal agencies.
Murder-suicide results in death of James Frank Denham, 45, and his wife Bessie May, 47 . . . President sends to Congress $381,500 improvement program for Crater Lake National Park . . . Donations to Rogue Valley Memorial Hospital fund exceed goal . . . Douglas McKay endorses Rogue flood control survey . . . District attorney opposes motion to dismiss five remaining indictments against Hugh D'Autremont . . . Ten-year through-street program in Medford presented to city council . . . John S. Hawkins, 80, of Camp White, and Mark Eugene Smith, 7, Gold Hill, killed in separate traffic accidents . . . James L. Pullman appointed administrator of Jackson County Public Welfare Department . . . City planning commission appoints committee to study zoning in southeast Medford area . . . Medford school board approves payment of $11,875 for future high school site . . . Nathan Douthit, Crater High School student, and Nancy McKeown of Medford High School, candidates for Elks Foundation scholarship award . . . County court declares emergency from flood . . . Mayor Earl Miller calls for early improvement of city's storm sewer system . . . More than 6 inches of snow closes several schools and causes power shortages . . . Josephine and Jackson counties apply for federal financial aid in repairing flood damages.
Curtis Nesheim named state forestry department district warden for southwest Oregon district at Medford . . . Seven proposals for legislation on Medford fringe area problems presented to state legislative interim committee . . . Record-breaking snowfall blankets Medford . . . Mrs. Sarah Bevins Wing celebrates her 103rd birthday in Ashland . . . Pedestrian killed when struck by car on Highway 99 near Talent junction . . . Lloyd Wilson Burley, 58, Eagle Point, and William Curtis Morris, 25, Route 2, Box 733, Central Point, killed in three-car collision on Crater Lake Highway . . . Council abandons plan for charter amendment creating assessment districts in the city . . . Robert G. Fowler, Jackson County Assessor, dies . . . Medford Mail Tribune observes 50th anniversary . . . Extended area toll-free dialing service and establishment of a Phoenix-Talent exchange approved by public utilities commissioner . . . About 350,000 board feet of timber and dry kiln unit destroyed by fire at Double Dee Lumber Company at Tolo . . . Diamond L. Flynn, 59, former Medford mayor and past president of the League of Oregon Cities, dies unexpectedly . . . Bids for construction of new Medford armory opened . . . 25,808 people register in county to vote in primary.
David Dunn, 14, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Dunn, 2444 Biddle Rd., fatally injured by falling rock along Bear Creek . . . About 30 Medford High School boys wear Bermuda shorts to school . . . Mrs. E. A. (Beulah) Faber, 49, Central Point, killed in auto collision on Salem bypass . . . Ample water supplies for irrigation this season, heavy runoff predicted . . . Residents of Medford, Oak Grove and West Side school districts approve consolidation . . . Study of 1956-57 preliminary general fund budget totaling $610,158 for city starts . . . American Steel Warehouse Company, Portland, purchases Woodbury-Lorenz Industrial Supply, Medford . . . Circulation of petition calling for recall of mayor, councilmen, starts in Talent . . . Harry D. McNair, Ashland fire chief, dies in Portland . . . Three-year-old Connie Jean Hanscom, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Don Hanscom, Central Point, selected Pear Blossom Festival queen . . . Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt is a guest speaker at sixth annual Roosevelt memorial dinner here . . . Public hearing starts on Southern Pacific passenger service abandonment in Southern Oregon . . . H. D. Christensen, 29 Richmond Ave., Medford, appointed Jackson County Welfare Commission chairman, succeeds A. S. V. Carpenter . . . Medford school district budget totaling $1,922,437.11 approved by budget committee . . . Kenneth Douglas Moore, 6-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Dwight V. Moore, Prospect, killed when run over by a school bus east of Prospect . . . Body of Alvin William Eacret, 14, Klamath Falls, found near Tub Springs State Park.
Sheriff Howard Gault hurt in car accident . . . Billy Junior Nunn, 27, Klamath Falls, arrested in Alturas, Calif. in connection with murder of Alvin William Eacret . . . Medford budget committee recommends submission of a $60,000 off-street parking program to voters . . . Petitions seek competing railroad service here . . . Medford budget committee increases by $630 the proposed salary for an administrative assistant for city manager . . . Medford planning commission recommends to city council that Genessee route rather than Hillcrest route be favored for proposed freeway in this area . . . Frank P. Farrell resigns as city attorney after 27 years . . . House appropriations committee approves funds for Talent project . . . $208,000 for building fish screens at Savage Rapids Dam cleared by House of Representatives . . . Several hundred Shriners hold spring ceremonial in Medford . . . Sam Hersh named campaign chairman for United Medford Crusade . . . Mrs. Alex (Ruth) Sparrow, longtime resident of Jackson County and well-known civic leader, dies . . . Billy Junior Nunn attempts escape from county jail . . . Medford budget committee approves city's general fund for fiscal year . . . Billy Junior Nunn pleads innocent to first-degree murder charges . . . William A. Gates, 78, president of the Groceteria Super Food Markets, dies in Palm Springs hospital . . . More than $3,000,000 for Jackson County irrigation, reclamation and fish screening jobs is contained in the administration's public works bill passed by the House.
County budget committee approves $2,636,818.47 budget for fiscal year 1956-57 . . . Diplomas presented 270 graduating seniors at Medford High School . . . Two Medford Boy Scouts, Ben Blachly and Tom Turpin, injured in fall from a bluff near the mouth of Silver Creek . . . A total of $4,328,000 will be spent at Crater Lake National Park under 10-year "Mission 65" program . . . William Edwards, Medford, takes sweepstakes award in National Catfish Derby here . . . Mrs. Lucille Brock, chief observer for the Medford Ground Observer Corps, honored . . . Jackson County expected to have a surplus of $638,147 at the end of the current fiscal year . . . Medford city council tentatively approves 10-year $1,646,100 arterial street program . . . Total levy of $1,404,257.38 for the year 1956-57 approved by county rural school board . . . Leslie J. Gibson, 48, and Ernest Heaton, 44, killed in sawmill, logging accidents in county . . . State game commission signs option to purchase 160 acres of land in the Camp White area for a public hunting area . . . Andrew Hawver, chief appraiser in the personal property department of the Jackson County Assessor's office, announces resignation . . . About 150 Medford residents attend open house at the new east side fire station . . . Columbia Utilities Company plans inauguration of direct long distance dialing in near future.
County budget approved, raises given to six elected officials and 20 other county employees . . . Porcupine eradication contest starts . . . Stephen Robert Bishop, 19, Jacksonville, killed in airliner collision in Grand Canyon . . . Rogue River dynamite blast breaks store windows . . . $618,158 general city fund budget approved . . . Eight hurt in accident on Butte Falls Rd. . . . Biggest D'Anjou crop in several years expected . . . County road workers on 40-hour week . . . Response to polio vaccination campaign gratifying . . . Scattered hail, power failures reported . . . Forest receipts total $1,753,273.75 from O and C lands . . . Scouts spend night in woods at Camp McLoughlin . . . Robert Boyer state Democratic Central Committee head . . . Fire covers 70 acres of brush, grass in Tolo . . . 72 participate in Civil Air Patrol simulated air rescue here . . . Warren James Ellis, 13, Butte Falls, dies of accidental hanging . . . City traffic ordinance amendments adopted . . . Mosquito spraying in progress . . . Fire hazard said serious . . . CD exercise starts . . . Central Point boy drowns; Ashland man dies in crash . . . Richard Krupp resigns as Central Point rural fire chief . . . Tax valuation ratio reduced 7 percent . . . Billy Nunn found guilty of first-degree murder . . . County ends fiscal year with $2,908,779.
Shakespearean festival opens in Ashland . . . Record low 44 degrees reported . . . Rogue Valley hospital construction starts . . . SP opens defense in passenger case . . . Direct toll dialing starts . . . Damage from last winter's flood estimated at $4,048,500 . . . Frederick Thomas Hearn, 17, Ashland, drowns at Emigrant Lake . . . Rogue River Roundup starts . . . Stumbos block Highway 99 near Glendale . . . City planning consultants hired . . . Detention home building postponed . . . Gilbert J. Gutjahr starts as assistant city manager . . . Mrs. Susanne Garrett, 85, Rogue River, dies in Highway 230 crash . . . Motion for new trial in Nunn case denied . . . Wonderland group urges relocation of Crater Lake Highway . . . Bartlett harvest expected bumper crop . . . Clifford Hansen leaves Crater Lake Area Boy Scout Council . . . Local people feted in Forks of Salmon . . . Lightning storm starts fires . . . 4-H, FFA fair begins . . . Denmark exchange student arrives . . . Valley storm hits pears, starts fires . . . Carolyn Mae Hedges, 3, Medford, accidentally electrocuted . . . Central Point rural fire district officers and volunteer firemen quit . . . Talent project approved by irrigation district water users . . . Crews bring 20-acre fire under control . . . McAllister appointed to state supreme court . . . Infant temporarily gone from home . . . Carl McMillan guilty of drunken driving in fatal car accident . . . Jackson County gets second highest BLM remittance in state . . . Pear crop in "good shape" despite storm damage . . . Interior secretary speaks at GOP jamboree . . . Prison escapees fly here in stolen plane.
Population figure on signs near city limits to change . . . Harvest of D'Anjou pears under way . . . Deadwood tunnel contract awarded . . . More money expected for county this year . . . Two new directors named in Central Point rural fire district . . . Republicans outnumber Democrats by 2,598 . . . Opening of new schools in District 6C postponed . . . Robert Boyer resigns as county Democratic head . . . Student totals up six percent in Medford school system . . . Youngster steals, scatters Central Point mail . . . Third polio case reported . . . Crater Lake lodge, dining room close . . . Medford has wettest year . . . Motorist robbed, car stolen by hitchhiker . . . Two youths accused of Jacksonville blast . . . Two apartments damaged in blaze . . . Henry Owens quits TID board . . . Big SOC expansion set . . . Fourth polio case reported . . . Larry Sheehan new Democratic Central Committee head . . . Supreme Court grants execution stay for James Norman Jensen . . . Air mail service in 30th anniversary observed in Medford . . . United Fund drive starts . . . Opinion may change registration setup . . . Man suffers burns rescuing children . . . 14,388 students enrolled in county schools . . . 31,087 voters registered . . . McAllister resigns from law firm here . . . SP hearings end . . . Work starts on bowling lane addition . . . Lookouts taken from national forest posts . . . SOC enrollment increases reported . . . Health educator quits . . . County employees fatally injured on Dead Indian Rd . . . John Mannelly starts as assistant in BLM office . . . Main peach varieties harvested . . . Safe taken from feed store . . . Transient found dead near theater.
Jacksonville home destroyed by fire . . . Parole, probation office expands . . . Buildings, equipment destroyed in blaze at orchard . . . Annexation elections called in Berrydale, Grandview-Kenwood districts . . . Clerk, court reach impasse on registration booth . . . Family homeless after second fire in less than month . . . Frederick S. Anderson, 50, Medford, killed in accident . . . Body of Melvin Claire Humphrey, 71, Jacksonville, found in creek near Jacksonville . . . Two health department employees quit . . . Autopsy called in death of Medford man in city jail . . . Donna Timber Products dry kiln destroyed . . . O. H. Bengtson for district attorney write-in move starts . . . Robert Lee Skinner, 5, Talent, fatally shot in accident . . . Sen. Wayne Morse talks here . . . Earthquake temblors reported . . . North entrance, rim road closed at Crater Lake . . . Lt. Paul E. Morgan suffers slight heart attack . . . Reclamation bureau announces nine construction jobs, including some in Talent project . . . U.S. Sen. Albert Gore (D-Tenn.) talks here . . . Sacred Heart Hospital fully accredited . . . Gov. Elmo Smith visits . . . Tacoma man, Charles Clark, hired as sanitarian . . . Construction starts on Phoenix city sewer system . . . Search ends for Copper resident James Kennady . . . Sen. Richard Neuberger (D-Ore.) talks here . . . Hearing on flood control held . . . Carl Everett Weimer, 47, dead in alley . . . Bear Creek route for freeway favored at hearing . . . Rainfall in storm totals 1.62 inches . . . Vice President Richard Nixon spends night in Medford . . . Candidates fair draws big crowd . . . Two inches of rain reported in storm . . . Bear Creek small watershed plan under way . . . Jonas T. Davis, founder of Davis Transfer company, dies . . . Tiller-Trail Road open after slide.
Cattle rescued from along Rogue; heavy rain threat eases . . . Central Point boy held for damaging mailboxes . . . Highway commission to study east side freeway route . . . Pedestrian killed on Front St. . . . John Snider elected mayor; Democrats take most county offices; fluoridation defeated . . . Petition signed protesting freeway in Medford limits . . . Large unemployment increase results from storms . . . Berrydale residents make second attempt to annex . . . Dr. Charles T. Sweeney dies . . . Fog blankets Medford . . . Gift fruit packing in full swing . . . Mary Pat Lucy named new extension agent . . . Airport zoning rule adoption recommended . . . 24 witnesses heard at hearing on Rogue flood control . . . Girls' Community Club building contractors named . . . Two men arrested during burglary . . . Bear Creek bank project completed . . . Opposition to withdrawal of land voiced by mining interests . . . Thanksgiving Day services scheduled at churches . . . 11 take citizenship oaths . . . Hearings on property rezoning in southeast Medford called . . . Installation of Christmas decorations starts . . . Withdrawal of land in Cascades asked . . . Dollar volume in building increases . . . Jaycees sponsor decoration contest . . . Seven contractors bid on Howard Prairie dam job . . . Eugene K. Peterson leaves for project in Washington, D.C. . . . Better than average pear crop reported . . . Rat problem shows increase in city . . . Chamber approves job evaluation study . . . Medford again fog-bound . . . Sheriff's deputies promoted . . . Youth ordered to get haircut . . . Car pulled from Rogue River . . . County road program work starts.
Fifteen youths involved in illegal "car borrowing" . . . Body of William S. Larch recovered from Rogue River . . . Medford pear district storage facilities increased . . . County gets $219,226.65 in National Forest land receipts . . . Local contributions taken for refugees . . . City manager authorized to negotiate for property for Medford's arterial street program . . . Safe burglarized at Rogue River school; Gold Hill school entered . . . Radio system installed by PT&T at Crater Lake . . . Elk Creek swells during storm, other small streams rise in county . . . Fourth polio case reported here, 15-year-old Central Point girl . . . LeRoy E. Wells named juvenile counselor . . . Mental patient escapes from hospital for short time . . . 16-year-old Central Point boy arrested after armed robbery at sport shop . . . Laundry association to clean clothing for refugees . . . Woody Smith stalled here by truck trouble with load of Christmas trees . . . M. M. Huggins elected Chamber of Commerce president . . . Medford exceeds United Medford Crusade quota and Red Cross tag day quota for refugees . . . Donald E. Day resigns as physical director at YMCA . . . School district buys Oak Grove property for yard expansion . . . UN collects ton of clothing for refugees . . . Eugene man admits Rogue River, Gold Hill school burglaries . . . Patents on 23 Al Serena mining claims filed . . . Hearing called on Kenwood-Grandview annexation plan . . . Rogue Valley hospital area rezoning plan referred to city planning commission . . . State to design Bear Creek bridges . . . Outgoing mail sets new record in Medford . . . Ashland cab driver robbed of $13.85 . . . Snow, freezing conditions make driving hazardous . . . Medford school census shows 29.3% rise . . . Holiday sales under '55 record . . . 1,578 calls made to Santa during Kiwanis project . . . 40 enter yule lighting contest . . . U.S. court upholds Jensen death sentence . . . Free polio vaccine campaign planned in county . . . LeRoy V. Krieger, Albany, dies here from accidental gunshot . . . Catholic Church parish house damaged in blaze . . . Mrs. Deana J. Hughes, Wolf Creek, dies after truck plunges over Highway 99 overpass north of Central Point.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 30, 1956, page 6
As a former resident who still reads your newspaper regularly, I have been especially interested in the community's problems arising from lack of ambulance service and the various plans and proposals which have been made for restoring it.
Here in Jackson County we have an air ambulance service known as Mercy Flights, Inc., which is supported by individual and family memberships on much the same basis as that of the various prepaid hospitalization plans such as the Kaiser-Permanente hospitals provide in certain areas. A subscribing member of Mercy Flights is entitled to free service within a radius of 400 miles from his home. As you are aware, few of us ever have need of ambulance service, but it is a mighty comfortable feeling to know such service is available in time of need, and most folks are willing to pay a few dollars a year for the peace of mind this knowledge affords.
We pay $4.00 per year (I believe this is accurate but am unable to locate the receipt) for our family membership in Mercy Flights and are glad to do it both for our own sakes and in order to help maintain the service for everyone. (It is available to non-members for stated fees depending on distance.)
I presume in order to get the plan under way it must have been underwritten at the outset by various county groups, but at present I understand it is financed solely by memberships. I have wondered why something similar would not prove feasible for Healdsburg for motor ambulance service. If you or the Chamber of Commerce want more detailed information on the history, past and present, of our service, contact Mercy Flights, Inc., c/o Medford Airport, Medford, Oregon, or Jackson County Chamber of Commerce in Medford.
Sincerely yours,"The People's Forum," Healdsburg Tribune, Healdsburg, California, July 19, 1956, page 10
Grace Nichols Pearson
(Mrs. Wilfred D. Pearson)
Last revised May 22, 2023