Freeway Construction Tops General News
Stories on Crimes Among Selections
Development of the new Pacific Freeway and the O. H. Bengtson embezzlement case have been voted the top news stories of 1961 by members of the Mail Tribune's news department.
Seven of the 11 members of the news staff voting chose the Bengtson trial as the top "spot" news story of the year. "Spot" news is considered to be news which has a sudden impact on society, but no long-range effect on its citizens. Although Bengtson's trial first made news in 1960, the incident reached greater proportions during the past year. Bengtson was found guilty on two counts of embezzlement from the Medford Escrow Company. The Oregon Supreme Court upheld the first conviction, and an appeal is pending on the second.
Also receiving first-place votes for the top "spot" news were the discovery of the possible cause of pear tree decline, the trial of LeeRoy Sanford McGahuey for the murder of a Central Point youth, and the investigation of the accidental death of Charles H. Johnson in a local hospital.
Break into Jail
Five staff members thought that the "hospital death case" was the second most important story of 1961, while two other writers placed it third. Receiving five third-place votes was the story about Anthony Vasconcellos breaking "into" the county jail.
Other votes for the top "spot news" during the year were cast for the story about Susie Jessel, who for over 30 years in Ashland has used a "God-given" power to heal.
Construction of the new Pacific Freeway through southern Oregon was given seven votes as the top general news story. A general news story is considered to be a story which has long-range effect on the public welfare. Three staffers placed the freeway story second.
For second place, three votes were also cast for news stories on the home rule charter planning. Other votes were divided among the Mt. Ashland resort proposal, the daylight time problem, the operating engineers' strike, and Medford's communications with Alba, Italy--its sister city.
Third-place selections went to the dedication of Rogue Valley Manor, the discovery of the possible cause of pear tree decline, and Rogue Basin development. Single votes were cast for the Mt. Ashland ski plan, home rule charter, recreation facilities, the Phoenix-Medford school boundary case and skating on Howard Prairie Lake.
Recreational development in southern Oregon highlighted much of the news during the year, including projects at Howard Prairie, Emigrant Lake and Lake of the Woods; the proposed Mt. Ashland Ski Resort; plans for a county athletic stadium; and the dedication of Elderberry Flat.
The voting this year reflected indecision concerning which order a few important stories should be listed, rather than which of the large number of stories were tops.
A month-by-month review of events that made news in southern Oregon and northern California during the year is listed below:
Merger of California Oregon Power Company and Pacific Power and Light Company seen in three months . . . Trial of Medford lawyer O. H. Bengtson, charged with embezzling $1,700 from Medford Escrow Company, starts in Grants Pass . . . County Commissioner Chester Wendt says Mt. Ashland Ski Resort could be completed by 1962 . . . 8½-pound son of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald L. Ricketts, 143 South Keeneway Dr., first baby of 1961 . . . Medford ordinance requiring basement sprinkler systems declared invalid . . . Rep. Edwin R. Durno takes oath of office in Washington, D.C. . . . Construction of new Medford Chamber of Commerce building to start soon . . . Medford limousine firms on probation for six months . . . Dr. Clarence L. Drummond, county health officer, dies in Santa Barbara . . . Residents jam Howard Prairie for Sunday skating . . . Speaker of the House Robert Duncan expresses agreement with governor's legislative program . . . Irrigation outlook improved over earlier predictions . . . Sheriff Joseph Walsh, Mrs. James Ragland and E. H. Singmaster resign from office of County Republican Central Committee . . . Interstate burglary ring cracked by local arrests . . . Government announces location of new federal building same as that planned by motel chain on 10th St. between Riverside and Central aves. . . . Six local industries announce merger into Concrete-Steel Corporation . . . $1,035.34 sent to Sacred Heart Hospital building fund from Moose Lodge tree lift . . . Klamath Indian woman, Mrs. Amanda Cowen, 105 years old, dies in Ashland . . . John Weisbrod, Medford realtor, attempts to convince county court of need for county athletic stadium . . . Bengtson found guilty of embezzlement . . . Bjorne A. Bjornsen and Naomi Jean Walker given Save-A-Life awards by Safety Council . . . Construction of 44-unit motel adjacent to Medford Hotel announced for March 1 . . . Eagle Point residents set meeting to get information on possible log truck road replacing railroad . . . Representative John Dellenback supports county home rule legislation . . . Concentration of studies of pear decline urged . . . Keith Duane Adams, 32, Central Point, pleads guilty to second-degree murder in death of wife . . . FCC approval of second television station awaited by KMED . . . Bengtson sentenced to state penitentiary for indeterminate period not to exceed two years . . . J. Verne Shangle elected head of county Republican Central Committee . . . Joseph F. Fliegel, 62, Medford attorney, dies.
---------Medford Mail Tribune, December 31, 1961, page 6
Dr. Elmo Stevenson, Harry Wright and Mrs. Mamie Grubb honored as Ashland's outstanding citizens . . . Bengtson suspended by Oregon Supreme Court from practicing law . . . County would benefit from proposed new national forest in Klamath Indian lands . . . Local pear growers testify at tax commission hearing on property tax bill which would remove exemption on deciduous trees . . . Snow survey shows water supply "poorer" . . . Duncan urged to tell candidacy for governor . . . Extension service buildings planned at fairgrounds . . . County court declines to allocate funds for stadium . . . E. M. Tucker tells Ashland C. of C. Emigrant Dam is insecure . . . Eagle Point area residents plan organized resistance to possible private logging road . . . Proposed war memorial idea rejected by Medford Parks and Recreation Commission . . . Case closed against Mrs. Rachel Peterson Carter, former Medford Escrow Company employee . . . George Jantzer, 70, and Henry Dufur, 45, found safe after night on woods road near Fish Lake . . . Problem of air and stream pollution in Gold Hill to be considered by county court and public health officials . . . Construction engineer J. A. Callan reassures public that Emigrant Dam is safe . . . County budget committee work to start . . . David Foote and DeAnne Taylor named winners of Elks leadership contest . . . Harold W. Bailey and Karen C. Christensen, Medford High School students, and Glen Gratsinger, Eagle Point, named National Merit scholarship finalists . . . Eagle Point city council announces unanimous opposition to private truck logging road in city . . . Road development to Mt. Ashland ski area approved by O. and C. Counties Association . . . County home rule committee for funds to draw up county charter . . . Congressman Durno introduces bill to provide for construction of Agate Dam, reservoir and related facilities . . . "Pears in Fantasy Land" selected for Pear Blossom Festival . . . Two Table Rock Rd. area farmers file damage suit against employees of State Highway Commission following fire which destroyed hay and buildings . . . Student Government Day held . . . Aedene Jensen, Eagle Point student, winner of D.A.R. Good Citizenship Award . . . Mrs. D. Kirkland West named Woman of the year by Zonta Club . . . LeeRoy Sanford McGahuey, 43, Central Point, held in connection with deaths of Central Point mother and son . . . Congressman Durno gives assurance that fund will be available to complete study of Rogue Basin . . . Windstorm causes power outages, other damage in valley . . . Feasibility of work program for juvenile offenders considered by Medford municipal court . . . State police and public utilities commission move into new building.
Petitions seek to transfer part of Barnett area from Phoenix school district to Medford district . . . Eight thefts cleared with questioning of 11 Medford juveniles . . . County court petitioned to establish stray cat facilities . . . Loren Ritchie awarded contract to construct Extension Service buildings . . . Home rule committee members asked for statements favoring or opposing a charter . . . Western Farmers Association to build Medford warehouse . . . Rural school budget committee approves county school office budget . . . Camping charge at Howard Prairie reservoir approved . . . City and county officials agree on transportation of county welfare crews to Prescott Park . . . Fox head from Central Point area sent to state laboratories for rabies check . . . LeeRoy McGahuey indicted for first-degree murder of 23-month-old Rod Cameron Holt . . . $250,000 physicians office building to be constructed adjacent to Rogue Valley Memorial Hospital . . . Medford's proposed air pollution ordinance topic of discussion by city officials and industrial representatives . . . Elk Lumber Company announces plans for new plywood company . . . Medford school board approves contract with University of Oregon for study of Medford system . . . Copco and PP&L stockholders approve merger of two power companies . . . Robert Johnston signs contract to operate Howard Prairie concession . . . County home rule committee to prepare charter for county vote . . . Construction of new St. Mary's Catholic High School expected to start in May . . . Medford Gospel Mission board postpones decision to move mission to Esquire Theater . . . Hal Gardner wins Junior Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award . . . Budget committee approves pay hike for county workers . . . Recreation facilities at Howard Prairie Lake and Willow Lake to be ready for opening of fishing season . . . Bids to be opened on new Fourth St. bridge . . . Medco announces no decision made yet on possible conversion on part of railroad to private log truck road . . . Medford planning commission denies request of Medford Racquet Club for zoning variance to erect tennis court, swimming pool . . . Eagle Point mayor, others write letters to Medco protesting possible private log truck road . . . Aedene Jensen places second in state Elks Lodge scholarship competition . . . Theresa Lynn Stickley and Donald Emery, both 5, named pear festival king and queen . . . First orchard heating reported March 28 . . . Regional forester recommends Mt. Ashland ski development to U.S. Forest Service . . . Sheriff suggests work program for county jail prisoners . . . FCC recommends construction of KMED television station . . . Daughter born to Robert Duncans in Salem hospital, couple's sixth child.
Dr. Arthur Kreisman named to county home rule committee . . . Approximately 15,000 visit Emigrant Lake Easter Sunday . . . County parks and recreation committee asks county court to seek plans for operating Emigrant Lake concessions . . . Frank Christian named head of new county stray animal committee . . . John Davis files suit against county for damage caused his truck when East Evans Creek Rd. bridge collapsed . . . Boundary dispute reopened by residents of both Phoenix school district and City of Medford . . . 400 Rotarians expected to attend district conference in Medford . . . Boat patrol to start on county lakes . . . Medford's growth declared nearing "boom proportions" . . . Frank Hemingway, Los Angeles news commentator, is grand marshal for Pear Blossom parade . . . Trial of O. H. Bengtson further charges of embezzlement scheduled . . . Area union plumbers settle eight-day strike . . . Bids totaling $4,269,427 on four area highway projects opened in Salem . . . Area water supply outlook improved by March storms . . . Negotiations for the sale of the historic Barron-Parker ranch near Ashland under way . . . Interim zoning ordinance for Emigrant Lake area approved by county planning commission . . . County Assessor Ray J. Schumacher dies . . . Sen. Frank F. Church (D-Ida.) speaks at annual Roosevelt memorial dinner . . . $118,000 permit issued for construction of new Pacific Telephone Northwest Telephone exchange . . . City officials and telegrams to Oregon's congressional delegation and General Services Administration urging relocation of proposed federal building . . . George W. Dunn, former state senator from Ashland, dies . . . House Speaker Robert B. Duncan suggested as possible gubernatorial candidate . . . Claude E. McIntyre, prominent valley subdivider, dies . . . Considerable frost damage reported in valley orchard . . . Opposition to county building code expressed by at least 200 people at planning commission meeting . . . Improvements planned to enlarge municipal airport . . . Opening of fishing season greeted by wet weather . . . Russell J. Hogue elected to Medford Corporation board of directors . . . Fire breaks out in Town House Cafe . . . Miss Mary Jo Batzer chosen as 1961 Sportsfair queen.
Rep. Edwin Durno of Medford terms pear decline "extremely serious" in valley . . . New switching equipment used by Pacific Telephone Northwest in Ashland . . . E. A. (Al) Littrell, local civic and business leader, dies . . . Gov. Mark O. Hatfield speaks at Republican banquet . . . Local employment trend said improving . . . Medford merchants consider "summer business hours" . . . Rogue Valley Council on Aging discusses low-cost housing . . . Thad W. Hatten of Medford appointed new county assessor . . . Top scholars of Medford and St. Mary's high schools honored at recognition dinner . . . Three-day convention of the Pacific Synod of the United Lutheran Church in America held here . . . Construction of supporting pillars for new freeway starts . . . Robert Kuest, Medford, and Steve Stewart, Ashland, win trips to National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago . . . Leland Knox, local account and court-appointed receiver for the Medford Escrow Company, files complaint against Globe Indemnity Company for $10,000 . . . City council supports Southern Pacific Railroad in its efforts to gain control of Western Pacific . . . Controversy over "Southern Oregon Daylight Time" continues . . . Medford hosts state postman convention . . . Jackson Hotel closes for financial reasons . . . Local residents see "fiery object" in sky . . . Merger of Copco and P.P. and L. discussed at hearing . . . Tourist use of Howard Prairie Lake during spring said "phenomenal" . . . Radio Medford Inc. receives permission to construct new television station here . . . John L. Smock, teacher at Medford High school, receives grant to teach in Australia . . . James H. Schollmeyer of Bremerton, Wash. awarded contract for the marine concession at Emigrant Lake . . . Medford school district patrons approve $4,047,728 budget . . . Dick Ragsdale, Medford High senior, named Oregon Athlete of the year by Portland radio station . . . Loren Ritchie of Medford low bidder for construction of the first unit of new St. Mary's High School.
Miss Joann Johnson and Joel Gregory, Medford High juniors, delegates to 1961 British Isles Presbyterian Church Youth Exchange . . . Southern Oregon Daylight Time begins . . . Dale Peterson, MHS senior, named Oregon's outstanding youth in science . . . SOC graduates 235 in Ashland . . . Casting rehearsals start for Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland . . . Glenn L. Jackson named member of Willamette University board of trustees . . . Jacksonville's Beekman Bank opened to public . . . Lightning kills choice Hereford cattle near Eagle Point . . . Medford High graduates 457, Crater High 150 and Ashland 158 . . . Plans for direct distance dialing from valley telephones announced . . . Edd Rountree of Ashland appointed to county planning commission . . . Fire destroys one of the oldest homes in Applegate valley, belongs to Harlan Cantrall . . . Water supplies at record lows in southern Oregon . . . Roy R. Picard, Medford jeweler, seeks $100,000 in damages from city officials . . . Dr. Milton R. Snow advanced to presidency of Oregon Osteopathic Association . . . Yellow Cab Company owner found guilty in cab rates case . . . American Legion convention attracts about 3,000 . . . Charles H. Johnson of Ashland dies; anesthesia machine explodes during operation at Sacred Heart Hospital . . . June 15 hottest June day in 35 years with 109 degrees . . . United Medford Crusade goal set at $158,125 . . . Some 2,500 people attend Rogue River Rooster Crow, while 1,500 attend Catfish Derby at TouVelle State Park . . . Ashland merchants return to standard time June 22 . . . Copco and P.P. and L. merger becomes effective . . . Trailer fire kills two youths . . . Construction starts on new St. Mary's High School . . . Local hospitals and several merchants return to standard time . . . Medford receives three safety awards . . . Elderberry Flat recreation site dedicated . . . Rogue Valley Flood Control and Water Resources Association asks for investigation of Evans Valley dam . . . Copco employees help save man's life in Klamath Falls.
Mercy Flights, Inc. of Medford logs 1,300th flight . . . Southwest Oregon Shippers Traffic Association files complaint against Southern Pacific because of car shortage . . . Medford Salvation Army announces curtailment of charitable operations . . . John Day, southern Oregon sportsman and rancher, honored by Academy of Achievement, Monterey, Calif. . . . Sen. John G. Tower (R-Tex.) makes local appearance . . . Southern Oregon construction jobs picketed by Local 701 of Hoisting and Portable Engineers Union . . . Anthony R. (Tony) Manno elected president of National Retail Hardware Association . . . Bids considered for SOC dormitory expansion . . . Lightning storms produce scores of forest fires . . . Dr. Russell G. Barnes, 46, of Medford, dies in local hospital . . . Civil Air Patrol sponsors air show, draws 12,000 . . . Post office department approves civic center location for new federal office building and post office . . . SOC summer session enrollment hits new high . . . Negotiations for Barnett St. park site continue . . . Mike McCullough, Medford High senior and First Citizen appointee at Beaver Boys State, attends Boys Nation in Maryland . . . Gov. Mark O. Hatfield opens Oregon Shakespeare Festival season . . . LeeRoy Sanford McGahuey, 43, found guilty, sentenced to die in murder case . . . House Speaker Robert B. Duncan may run for Congress from fourth district . . . Fire destroys over 700 acres in Applegate area.
Public health officials report 30 to 40 percent of county residents haven't received polio shots . . . Public welfare problem said "well in hand" . . . Southern Oregon Historical Society board opposes leasing Beekman home from University of Oregon . . . Gerald R. Deubert and Jerry E. Jordan, both 17 and from Medford, aboard hijacked airliner in Texas . . . Miss Brigitte Moser of Vienna, Austria, foreign exchange student at Crater High, arrives . . . Employment activity in county during July "seemed to go in all directions" . . . $164,000 permit issued for construction of First Federal Savings and Loan Association building . . . "Distinguished Service to Theater" award presented to Oregon Shakespeare Festival by American Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, Conn. . . . Rep. Edwin R. Durno plans to seek reelection . . . Construction strike ends . . . Larry Sheehan, Man of the Year, Sen. Wayne Morse (D-Ore.) speak at Rogue River banquet . . . County receives $2,266,492 in Oregon and California grant land payments . . . George Putnam, 88, founder of Mail Tribune, dies in Salem fire . . . Robert B. Duncan hints he may oppose Rep. Edwin R. Durno in congressional race . . . Medford borate planes fly over forest fire north of Tiller . . . Record livestock sale ends annual 4-H and FFA county fair . . . Medford school board reviews need for second high school . . . Yellow Cab Company and Medford Airport Limousine Service receive 10-day suspension of use of airport facilities . . . Plans told for new state park along Rogue River . . . Rogue River Basin Project report scheduled to go to Congress next spring . . . Jackson County Medical Association receives portable electric defibrillator . . . Neil Ledward of Eugene chosen county parks and recreation director . . . California office planned by Harry and David orchards . . . Philip G. Humphreys named new P.P. and L. superintendent . . . County sheriff's deputies hunt Mary T. Garrison and Anthony Vasconcellos Jr. after jail break.
County home rule committee decides provisions of charter . . . Work progresses on addition to Rogue Valley Hospital . . . Early snow reported at Crater Lake . . . City returns to standard time . . . Oregon Shakespeare Festival ends season with record attendance of 47,766 . . . Talent residents favor sewer line survey in South Talent . . . Rogue River project listed in House Appropriations Committee public works bill . . . About 600 persons expected for annual county Grange festival here . . . Eagle Point bond issue voted down . . . Ashland's Lithia Lumber Company files $4 million lawsuit against Magnolia Lumber Corporation, Inc. and associates of Ashland, declared the biggest lawsuit so far in the county . . . Dr. Arthur S. Fleming, University of Oregon president, addresses American Legion banquet . . . Mary Garrison and Anthony Vasconcellos Jr. returned to county jail . . . Dog control ordinance adopted by Phoenix city council . . . Mrs. A. S. V. Carpenter, known for civic interests and philanthropies, dies . . . Paul Selby of Medford appointed to county home rule committee . . . Mrs. Ann Todd of Eagle Point found guilty of disturbing a public meeting . . . County court approves rehabilitation of covered bridge at Wimer . . . About 50 tons of surplus foods delivered to county distribution center . . . Construction of Villa Rogue Apartments begins . . . Medford schools start with 8,325 students . . . Section of new Pacific Freeway opened by Rogue River mayor Larry Sheehan . . . Plans for local memorial service for Dag Hammarskjold told . . . City police shoot bear near Hawthorne Park . . . William F. Isaacs, 81, pioneer Medford men's clothing merchant and fisherman, dies . . . Tryouts begin for Vining Repertory Theater . . . Russian agricultural delegation visits valley to learn about seed crop production . . . Fall term enrollment at SOC up 10 percent . . . Consolidation of Pinehurst and Ashland school district attempt defeated . . . Jack Shafer, Ashland; Jill Barnes and Walter M. Higgins, Medford; and Nancy Seiber, Phoenix listed as National Merit scholarship semifinalists . . . Lack of pear pickers noted in orchards.
More bears found in valley . . . 14 local residents leave for Alba, Italy, Medford's sister city . . . Medford's second television station, KMED-TV, begins operation . . . Local civil defense directors say "war is inevitable" . . . Edward E. Gore, 92, of Medford and long-time businessman, dies . . . Fire strikes Thrifty Market in Jacksonville . . . Medford pilot Max Terzenbach found in wrecked plane north of Bly, Ore. . . . Dr. William Sammons, Ashland, elected president of Oregon Shakespeare Festival Association . . . Grange Coop elevator, Central Point, damaged by fire . . . Wilbur Gardner attends First International Congress of Shoe Repairers in Germany . . . Plans for Mt. Ashland ski area told . . . Mrs. Ann Todd appeals suspended imposition of sentence . . . Application filed for federal funds to plan second high school here . . . Frank deSouza, former Medford postmaster, dies at 82 in Salem . . . Howard Prairie recreation building contract awarded Robert Marsh, Grants Pass . . . Robert B. Duncan announces candidacy for congressional seat . . . City council votes to buy 42 acres along Bear Creek for park . . . Precipitation above normal . . . Citizen committee crusades for new stadium at high school . . . Dellmann O. Hood, 74, organizer of Columbia Utilities Company, dies . . . Mrs. Bertha (Wallace) Haskins, local school teacher and principal, dies.
South Talent area interim zoning ordinance signed . . . Michael C. Loftus, county constable, to retire . . . Governor Hatfield speaks at Rogue Valley Manor dedication . . . Wilbur Gardner of Medford presented "Oscar" of world shoe repair industry at international meet in Germany . . . County unemployment rise starts . . . Eric W. Allen Jr. of Medford named to state reapportionment committee . . . New county extension service building dedicated . . . New Ashland Community Hospital opens . . . Medford possible location for rehabilitation center for blind in six southern Oregon counties . . . First Vining Repertory Theater season opens . . . Oregon Industrial Arts Association holds conference here for first time . . . County court agrees to lease Beekman property from University of Oregon . . . Ben E. Harder, 82, former president of First National Bank of Medford, dies in Portland . . . Psyllia infection blamed for pear decline . . . Raymond R. Reter of Medford named winner of Hartman Cup for contributions to Oregon horticulture . . . Air pollution reduction in county praised by state sanitary engineers . . . Ernest P. Leavitt, 76, former superintendent of Crater Lake National Park, dies in Central Point . . . Anthony Vasconcellos received life imprisonment for assault and armed robbery . . . William H. Manning appointed county constable . . . Ward Spatz, Medford, awarded Farm Bureau Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service to Oregon Agriculture . . . General Services Administration authorizes plans for proposed post office and federal building.
Valley reporters and photographers open Fourth St. bridge . . . Union Club and "21" Club, Medford, threatened with disciplinary action by Oregon Liquor Control Commission . . . Present Highway 99 to be called Rogue Valley Boulevard when replaced by freeway . . . City council asks for draft of air pollution control ordinance . . . Circuit court awards Robert Nail, Portland, $11,000 in damages resulting from accident near Phoenix involving Gary Straus, Tulelake, Calif. . . . Ford Hagan, 49, district parole and probation officer, dies . . . Oregon Geographic Names Board approves names of Emigrant and Howard Prairie lakes . . . Suit against Thunderbird Village, Inc. for $42,000 alleged due on market construction filed by Jack Mathis, Roseburg contractor . . . Earle Jossy, county livestock agent, elected president of Oregon County Agents Association . . . David Frohnmayer, Harvard senior from Medford, named Rhodes Scholar . . . Robert V. Beall, Central Point, leaves $150,000 to University of Oregon in will . . . Medford Gospel Mission may suspend activities . . . United Crusade tops goal with $158,775 . . . County home rule committee found not legally formed . . . State Supreme Court upholds O. H. Bengtson conviction . . . Construction on Rogue Basin Project predicted to start in 1964 . . . First December thunderstorm on record hits Medford . . . Natural gas pipeline planned for valley . . . Facilities readied at new St. Mary's High School, opens Jan. 4 . . . Shakey's Pizza Parlor opens, first unit in Alpine Village . . . Larry Neely, Medford, named sweepstakes winner in Christmas lighting contest . . . Ben Cheney gives field equipment to county . . . Herbert C. Fields, 46, of Medford killed in car accident . . . Construction plans announced for additional buildings in Medford Shopping Center . . . 19-foot boa constrictor lost on Sexton Mountain . . . Plans to "dress up" Bear Creek discussed at city parks and recreation meeting . . . Motel addition to Hotel Medford postponed indefinitely . . . More than a million pounds of concrete poured at one time for Mistletoe bridge south of Ashland.
Last revised July 24, 2012