Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

March 1, 2018
In 1918, residents urged to help fight smallpox outbreak

Editor’s note: Front-page Flashback has not been published since Feb. 1 due to equipment updates in the Transcript Bulletin’s archives/microfilm department. The column resumes today and includes archived content that would have been published during the second, third and fourth weeks of February.

The Tooele Transcript Bulletin has published Tooele County news since 1894. Here is a flashback of local front-page news from 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago that occurred during the month of February with some entries from the first week of March.

Feb. 9-11, 1993

Dugway Proving Ground officials and employees learned that the 50-year-old facility could be closed by 1996 as part of a $10.8 billion cost cutting effort within the U.S. Department of Defense.

However, Dugway officials claimed that the announcement represents only an alternative.

“There has been no final decision at this time to close Dugway,” said Melynda Petrie, Dugway’s public affairs officer. “We are not on a BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) list.

Front-page news for the week included Tooele Valley Medical Center’s  plans to install a $33,000 nurse-call system.

State regulators had declared that the hospital’s nurse-call system was not adequate or safe in serving patients.

Rick Jensen, safety director for TVMC, told the hospital board that State regulations require both a visual and auditory call system.

He said the hospital had a visual call system with red lights outside rooms, but did not have an audible system.

Feb. 16-18, 1993

The week prior it was announced that Dugway Proving Ground would possibly close by 1996 as part of $10.8 billion in cost cuts by the U.S. Department of Defense. Tooele Army Depot joined Dugway a week later.

An aide for Congressman James Hansen, R-Utah, said the Army was looking hard at possibly closing up to three of its six major depots, or combining depot workloads to save money. Steve Petersen, the congressman’s legislative director, said he didn’t think the depot would be closed, but stressed, “Crazier things have happened.”

Also that week, Cornet Variety Store employees learned the Tooele store that had been a fixture on Main Street for 56 years would close. Joe Cornet, Sr., owner of the store, expressed anger and sadness over the store’s closure and alluded that Wal-Mart was responsible for forcing his business out.

“I am sick over this. I hate to leave Tooele,” Cornet said. “Tooele has been good to us all these years. … But if I can’t make it there, I go elsewhere.”

Feb. 23-25, 1993

Local officials said the image of Tooele County would not be hurt if the nation’s entire stockpile of chemical munitions were transported to Rush Valley for destruction.

Tooele County Commission Chairman Leland Hogan said the county would not become a dumping ground “if we don’t put that title on ourselves.” He stressed if the nation’s stockpile came to Tooele County, the county would strive to benefit monetarily.

Also that week, expected workforce cuts at Tooele Army Depot and Dugway Proving Ground were officially postponed as part of a plan to reduce the number of forced layoffs.

Employees at both military installations were told that letters of involuntary separation, plus job realignment letters, would not be issued for up to 45 days in hopes of getting more voluntary retirements throughout Army Materiel Command. Those letters were scheduled to be issued at both TEAD and Dugway on Feb. 22. But approximately 644 letters for TEAD and 45 letters for Dugway were held back because final reduction in force approval had not been granted by the U.S. Department of Defense.

March 2-4, 1993

An Evanston, Wyoming man barely escaped with his life after his semi-truck was torn apart by a passing train as he drove through the railroad crossing on state Route 112 west of Tooele. Investigators didn’t know if the man tried to beat the train to the crossing, or didn’t see the flashing lights from the crossing guards.

The impact ripped the truck’s cab off of the chassis and sent it rolling beside the tracks with the man inside. Also, three flatbed trailers connected to the semi-truck were twisted together and the vehicle’s diesel engine was torn free and thrown 40 yards down the tracks. The man was taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition.

Also that week, a commercial DC-9 jet carrying approximately 100 passengers from Grand Junction, Colorado, landed in twilight at Wendover Historical Airfield. As the passengers de-boarded, a small group of well wishers applauded. The warm welcome commemorated what officials said was the first commercial flight to land at the airport with passengers who had come to Wendover for the gaming industry.

Feb. 6-9, 1968

The front page featured a story on an experimental meals-on-wheels program for St. John-Clover Elementary School. The program began on a trial basis on Jan. 8. School lunches were prepared at Tooele Junior High School and arrived in St. John at 11:30 a.m.

With help from fifth- and sixth-grade students, Mrs. Mabel Jones served 62 students who would eat lunch in their classrooms. Because St. John School has no kitchen, dirty dishes and silverware were returned to Tooele each day to be cleaned.

Later in the week, the front page featured a story on the closing of Skaggs Store at 11 N. Main. Franchise owner Grant Riding announced the closure on Jan. 1 after a bout with ill health.

Riding started working at the store as a butcher in 1943, then, in 1958 took over ownership of the franchise. He said it would take until mid-March to completely close the store and dispose of inventory and equipment.

Feb. 13-16, 1968

Three members of the Tooele City Police reserve were instrumental in foiling an attempted burglary. The three were on a routine patrol when they observed two youths behaving in a suspicious manner. They observed the youths for several hours and then arrested them on suspicion of breaking and entering after they had removed bars and screens on rear windows of the State Liquor Store on East Vine St.

Also that week, the Tooele City Council heard a presentation from two accountants seeking to assume city-auditing duties following the death of the city’s previous auditor. The council also heard a presentation from Utah State Employment Service for rewriting job descriptions for city employees.

Feb. 20-23, 1968

U.S. Senator Wallace F. Bennett announced that the U.S. Defense Department was planning a $5.49 million military construction program at four Utah military installations in fiscal year 1969. Of that amount, $2.28 million would be spent at Tooele Army Depot for operational facilities, and maintenance and production facilities. In addition, Dugway Proving Ground would receive $1.79 million for operational facilities.

Also that week, Tooele County Civil Defense Director Jim Dugdale reminded citizens about the county’s civil defense warning system. He said the attack siren is the same as is used for fires, noon whistle and curfew, but in the event of an enemy attack, it will blow a wavering three- to five-minute signal. He also said the county currently has no adequate civil defense shelters, other than one in the basement of the old high school, which will hold 250 students. Without other shelters available, he urged residents to create a secure place in their home that would offer protection.

Feb. 27-March 1, 1968

The Tooele County School District was awarded a $325,863 grant from the state’s office of education for federally impacted areas. According to Superintendent Clarke Johnsen and district accountant Roland Buys, the district had expected to receive $488,795 rather than the figure announced. A federally impacted area is one in which a government installation is considered to cause a heavy extra burden of children on a school district.

Tooele Chamber of Commerce members heard the state’s associate warden say he is critical of the Utah State Prison, “but I am critical of all prisons. They all stink.” William Milliken was the featured speaker during a chamber luncheon. The penal officer said that Utah has one of the best prisons in the intermountain area, if not the nation. But while doing the job they’re supposed to do, “all prisons are just scratching the surface.”

Feb. 2-5, 1943

Both Tooele County and Tooele City drafted resolutions to the Utah Legislature opposing HB 36, which if passed would reduce registration fees for motorcycles from $2.50 to $1, and all other non-commercial vehicles from $5 to $1. The county and city oppose the bill because it would reduce an annual distribution from the state for local road construction and maintenance.

Farmers and ranchers in the Vernon Soil Conservation District were treated to a free showing of educational talking movie pictures at a meeting in the Vernon Church. Lowell Woodward of the soil conservation services led a discussion on how members could overcome problems in the district and meet increased demands for production of war crops.

Feb. 9-12, 1943

Tooele City skating enthusiasts received encouragement this week after waiting all winter for cold days and nights to freeze water without thawing. A storm brought the winter’s deepest snow yet at 10 inches in depth with .90 inches of moisture. Official U.S. weather records from local weather observer Amos Bevan showed that 7.31 inches of moisture had fallen since the start of the water year on Oct. 1.

A 47-year-old railroad worker in Wendover died after suffering burns received from sleeping near an open fire. The man was seen leaving one of Wendover’s cafes early in the evening and went to the stockyards where he built a fire and apparently fell asleep. Flames spread to clothing piled near him and his own clothing caught fire and he was fatally burned.

Feb. 16-19, 1943

The state rested its case against Frank H. Elliot, former Wendover deputy sheriff, who is charged with first-degree murder for the killing of his former wife in Wendover. The jury is composed entirely of men and the defense is now presenting its case before the men who hold in their hands the life of Mr. Elliot. The court also sentenced a man to 3-20 years in the Utah State Prison for a crime against nature.

Tooele City police and firemen were called out during the week to find a boy toddler who wandered from his trailer camp house at the mouth of Settlement Canyon and became lost in the fog. He was found two hours later when he walked up to the auto of a patrolman parked on Coleman St. Although without a hat or coat, the little fellow suffered no apparent ill effects from his wandering through the fields.

Feb. 23-26, 1943

Frank Elliot, former Wendover deputy sheriff, was convicted by a jury on the charge of voluntary manslaughter of his ex-wife and was sentenced to serve 1-10 years in the Utah State Prison. The jury announced the verdict at 3 a.m. on Friday after deliberating since Thursday. Elliot had originally been charged with first-degree murder of his ex-wife.

The International Smelter again flew the “Minute Man Flag” after once more securing the pledge of 90 percent or more if its employees to buy war bonds and stamps under the payroll deduction plan. Over 30 percent of regular employees are on a 10 percent basis of their total earnings for war bonds, while 62 percent of day pay employees are buying bonds.

Feb. 1, 1918

Miss Sylvia R. Anderson was married the other day be telephone to Cpl. Walter J. Blake who was more than 1,500 miles away. The judge who officiated said the ceremony was legal. By previous arrangements a long-distance phone call was put in at noon and the groom, accompanied with witnesses, answered the questions. The marrying judge asked the usual questions, and the groom at the other end of the wire answered “yes.” Turning to the bride in his office, he asked her the customary questions. After her answers of yes, the judge pronounced them married.

Feb. 8, 1918

The Tooele County Commissioners heard a request from Mr. King for an assessment reduction involving his sheep. Ed Green asked for a change in the road at Tooele Junction, which was referred to the county road commissioner. A.J. Stookey was asked to give a report on a map he was making for the county, and farmers asked the county commissioners to buy strychnine to use for killing ground dogs.

Feb. 15, 1918

A health notice appeared on the front page from Mayor Peter Clegg announcing an outbreak of smallpox and other contagious diseases in Tooele. The City Council and health board was enforcing a strict quarantine to prevent further spreading of smallpox. “A complete stamping out of these diseases can only be had by a united effort on the part of all patriotic citizens,” Clegg said. “It is earnestly requested and expected of every citizen who has the welfare of his family or the community at heart to report to the doctors or health officers all cases as soon as known. We believe this to be the patriotic duty of every loyal citizen. The doctors have generously offered to make examinations free of charge, of any person suspected of having a contagious disease. We expect all citizens to do their duty.”

Feb. 22, 1918

The Tooele County Farm Bureau announced it would hold a farmer’s round-up in Grantsville, Erda, Tooele and St. John and would instruct local farmers on the following topics: War time methods in dry farming; control of dry farm weeds; corn, potatoes, beans and spring wheat; and cattle problems.

March 1, 1918

A front-page report from Ibapah said that 56 soldiers from Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City and a U.S. Marshal came to the community to “round up” some residents who would not register [for the war draft]. The report noted there were 12 inches of snow in Ibapah and more was falling. Also, mining operations at nearby Gold Hill were “still on the boom” with two carloads of copper ore being shipped out per week.

Editor David Bern compiled this week’s report.

David Bern

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
David Bern is editor of the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin. The 54-year-old journalist began his career with the Transcript-Bulletin as an intern reporter from Utah State University in 1983. He joined the newsroom full time that same year after completing his internship and graduating from USU with a degree in journalism. In 1989 he became editor and served in that capacity for six years. Under his leadership, he guided the newspaper to numerous awards for journalism excellence. After briefly stepping away from the newspaper in 1995, he returned in 1996 to start Transcript Bulletin Publishing’s Corporate and Custom Publishing Division. In that capacity he served as a writer, photographer and editor for 17 years. During that time he created a variety of print and digital communication materials, including brochures, magazines, books and websites. Bern returned to serve as editor of the newspaper in January 2013.

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