Baby’s birth in car surprises Laurel police in 1971

A look back at Laurel History: March 11, 2021
Compiled By Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, March 11, 2021
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The Merchants Hotel was a fine place to stay in 1921. Visitors could hitch up their horses or park their automobiles, wipe the day’s mud from their feet and enjoy a good meal and a bath.

25 years ago

March 13, 1996

Over two decades ago, groups across the country argued strongly for adding fluoride to public water supplies. The fluoride, dental experts said, would strengthen teeth in children, improving the health of generations of Americans. Most communities agreed with them, and fluoride has since been added to hundreds of municipal water supplies nationwide. The City of Laurel has added fluoride to its water for more than 20 years. But city officials are now questioning whether to continue to add the chemical. New construction at the city water plant will require the removal or relocation of the current fluoride mixing area. City Council members now wonder if residents want to continue to add fluoride, or whether the $25,000 price tag and the possibility of health risks outweigh the benefit. Public Works Director Jim Flisrand brought a memo from Morrison-Omajerle that stated studies have shown the children who consume fluoridated water have 20 to 40 percent fewer cavities.

Births were announced for Conner Scott Lane, Seth Richard Charles Kraft, Zachary John McMorris, Riley Jordan Smith, John Philip Mills and Baylie Patricia-Scot Wetch.

The Montana Attorney General’s office has asked a District Court judge in Dillon to dismiss a lawsuit filed by state Rep. Brad Molnar which disputes a new law mandating registration for independent contractors. Molnar claims the law contains 41 violations of the Molnar Constitution. In particular, he contends that it that it denies an unregistered contractor the right to take a customer to court for nonpayment. The Attorney General chose to step in and issue an opinion. According to David Hoffman, Molnar’s attorney in Dillon, the state denies the new law is unconstitutional. Hoffman called it a “common response.” Molnar will continue to press the lawsuit. “We will follow through with additional arguments and briefs,” Hoffman said. “I think what the statue is, is a piece of garbage—as written.”

When school bells in Laurel ring again in the fall, familiar faces will greet returning students and staff. But one familiar face will be missing. District Clerk Carole Manley will retire this summer after working 23 years for Laurel schools. Manley said she will miss her coworkers, and her involvement with the children of the district. “I have enjoyed working for the district and I appreciate all those who have supported me over the years,” she said.

50 years ago

March 17, 1971

They are a bit self-conscious, for they have set a first for the Laurel police department—perhaps. They had a baby, almost. At least it was next to the police station, making it the department’s first baby, except that actually the whole thing was a woman with child at Mossmain and had become a woman AND child by the time a young husband-father rushed into the Laurel Police station seeking a physician. Dave Frank was on duty as dispatcher, with Manley Gerke the officer on duty. The new father asked for medical help because his wife had just had a baby in the car—a baby not expected for another 17 days. Frank called a physician and then radioed Gerke to come by the station and lead the Bozeman family to the doctor’s office. The baby was carried into the office. The mother walked. Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Gohde of Bozeman are parent of a 7 pound, 2 ounce baby boy born about 5:10 a.m. Feb. 13 as the family was enroute to Bozeman. The delivery was very normal, but the police just can’t see it as their beat.

Competing in a group of twenty contestants, Steve Reiter took top honors in the annual Laurel spelling bee, which was held Wednesday evening last week in the senior high school auditorium. He is an eighth grader in junior high school and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Reiter.

Diane Shay and Gary Hartman’s horses were rescued from an island on the river south of Laurel Friday, where they had spent four months surrounded by an ice jam. They had nothing to eat but the natural forage. The horses were skinny but alive and are now receiving the tender loving care of their owners.

75 years ago

March 13, 1946

News was received this week that Donald Graff of Laurel, a contestant in a recent nationwide Pepsi-cola scholarship contest, stood among the first 12 seniors in Montana . From among these 12 there are to be selected five who will receive a four-year scholarship in any college in the nation. The rating in the first 12 also carries qualification to enter any college. Graff was one of three selected by the Laurel high school senior class to write in the contest. The papers were immediately forwarded to previously designated college and university authorities in other states for review. Graff’s father, Fred W. Graff, has been superintendent of Laurel schools a number of years.

A meeting of the Laurel Saddle club Tuesday evening at the Commercial club building, presented by a 7 o’clock dinner, was attended by all members, a total of 75. The evenings’s programs of entertainment included group singing and other events. Several new members were received. A few months ago the club bought 24 lots in the east end of town for use as a rodeo ground where performances will be presented. At the meeting Tuesday evening Fred Griffey was authorized to buy posts with which to construct a corral on the property. The work is expected to start soon. The club expects to present its first rodeo during the coming summer.

Capt. J.E. DeFrance at Red Wood City, Calif., by telephone informed his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sam DeFrance, that he would be released this week from the hospital where he has been a patient and will arrive home soon on a 90-day prisoner of war furlough. He will reopen his service station on Main street March 29. He will be accompanied home by his wife. This week he received the Distinguished Service Cross, his parents learned.

George H. McCormick, recently discharged from the service, became the new owner of the Barney & Hartley market on Main street when a deal was completed March 4 with William R. Reinhart, who had been operating the business the past few months. The new owner has changed the market’s name to McCormick’s Food Mart.

100 years ago

March 16, 1921

Laurel’s municipal water supply, since the installation of the new intake on the Yellowstone river, is entirely satisfactory from a sanitary standpoint, according to reports made by the state department of public health to Dr. Roscoe Broughton, local health officer and Charles Davis, mayor. Since the installation of the new intake samples of the water were sent to the state board of health for analysis. The samples were taken from the city supply at No. 108 Church street on the south side, the residence at the corner of Third avenue and Third street, the water tap at the Sande drug store on of First street in the Fourth ward and at No. 523 on the last street in the east ward (railroad town).

Mrs. W.L. Allard was in Laurel Monday shopping. She has been having the grippe, but is now as well as ever.

Mrs. F.W. Blane who spent several weeks at Chico Springs for the benefit of her health is at home again and is reported as rapidly improving.

“Dad” Oglesbee, of the Cottonwood was a business visitor at Billings recently, taking advantage of the good train service offered here. All railroads lead to Silesia.

All the men and boys in Silesia are busy fishing these nights. They are biting fine by moonlight.



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