Grasshoppers plague area farmers in 1921; Laurel men attend N.P. reunion in 1946

A look back at Laurel History: July 8, 2021
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Compiled By Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, July 8, 2021
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Burton Kendall Wheeler was an attorney and an American politician of the Democratic Party in Montana; he served as a United States Senator from 1923 until 1947, and was running for re-election in 1946, when this ad in the Outlook appeared. Wheeler was an independent Democrat who represented the left wing of the party, receiving support from Montana’s labor unions. In 1923, he played a crucial role in exposing the Harding administration’s unwillingness to prosecute people involved in the Teapot Dome scandal. In 1920, Wheeler ran for Governor of Montana and won the democratic primary. His ticket, unusual for the time, included an African American and a Blackfoot Indian. He was also on the cover of Time magazine.

25 years ago

July 10, 1996

Don Nelson, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is accusing the City of Laurel of trying to change 90 percent of the group’s existing contract with the city “beyond the point of recognition.” Union representatives of AFSCME 316, which includes members of Laurel’s water, sewer, and maintenance shops and the police force, met with the City of Laurel twice this week to continue negotiating a new worker’s contract. By press time Tuesday evening, no agreement had been reported. “There are definite changes the city wants that we aren’t even close to agreement on,” Nelson said, city job descriptions, job classifications and wages as the major discrepancies. “As far as I know, everyone in our bargaining unit is happy with the job descriptions and classifications,” Nelson said. According to the union president, the city wants to eliminate several foreman positions. “It is not something we want to see done away with. We like it the way it is,” Nelson said. Nelson also expressed concern that two laborer positions were vacated and no one was hired to fill them. He said the city is expecting the rest of the workers to take on the extra work. “They want us to give 110 percent,” chided Nelson.

A District Court judge has refused to address a lawsuit brought against the Park City School District by two parents, ruling they failed to take the proper steps with their complaints. In a July 1 decision granting the school district’s motion to dismiss, Judge Diane Barz told plaintiffs James Horton and Charlotte Stricker that they must present their complaint to Stillwater County School Superintendent Joy Campbell before going to court. “Students and parents cannot be allowed to clog the court system every time thy disagree with a grade assigned by a teacher or a principal’s decision to suspend a student,” wrote Barz. Horton and Stricker filed their suit in District Court in Columbus. They claimed their sons, Clint Horton and Shane Stricker, had been improperly disciplined for alleged use or possession of tobacco products. Barz did not rule on the merits of the original complaint, but did comment that “the evidence presented at the hearing shows that the school district had good cause for believing Shane and Clint were in possession of or were using tobacco products.”

Births were announced for Devin Brooks Huschka, Ayesha Danielle Rollins and Makenna Naomi Struckman.

50 years ago

July 14, 1971

Becky Yager of Silesia returned last week from Washington, D.C. where she participated in a Citizenship Short Course at the National 4-H Center. She was one of the 27 4-H members from Montana Attending the week-long session. The course is designed to provoke insight into individual responsibility for citizenship and to develop skills and knowledge that help young people relate their role in society to their community, their nation and their world.

Farming has its dedicated people—those who till the soil and “take their lumps” still believing the pay is not evidenced by a dollar and cents total. Such is the philosophy of the Robert Fox family whose farm is the west boundary of Yellowstone County five miles from Laurel. “If somebody is going to farm for the money, they won’t make it,” says the young farmer who carries on the operation started by his grandfather and father. Robert’s father, Jacob Fox and latter’s father came to this farm in 1922, first renting and then acquiring ownership. Threegeneration farms are becoming few, and equally interesting is the case of Robert Fox who now owns and lives in the house in which he was born. Scanning his lifelong career in farming, Fox terms herbicide weed control and the increased size of farm machinery as the outstanding changes which have taken place. Roberta Fox, a newcomer to the farm when she married Robert, is equally strong in her convictions for farming as “a good way of life.” They have four daughters, Lori, 8, Tracy, 6, Shelley, 4 and Vicki, 2. All regularly attend St. John’s Lutheran Church where Robert has been a lifelong member and has held a church office since 1959. He is an appraiser for farm loans for the Laurel Federal Credit Union and holds membership in Mountain States Beet Growers Association and in Laurel Rod & Gun Club.

75 years ago

July 10, 1946

Veteran employees of the Northern Pacific, men with 30 or more years of service, met last week at Duluth, Minn., for a reunion. About 700 of the oldtimers from over the far-flung system attended. Representing Laurel were Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Cusick of 505 East Fifth street and Mr. and Mrs. John Goyer of 515 East Fourth street. Cusick is a switchman still actively employed and Goyer is a retired clerk. The veteran railroad men enjoyed a variety of entertainment features arranged for their pleasure, including a trip to Hibbing, Minn., and the Mesabi iron range. Mr. and Mrs. Cusick, who left here June 26 to attend the meeting, returned to Laurel Tuesday morning.

OPA District director L.M. A. Wass immediately on the expiration of the price control act June 30, announced that sugar rationing will continue in effect. Governor Sam C. Ford took prompt action in the price and rent emergency, and called upon Montana landlords and retailers to maintain stable price schedules in Montana. “It is inconceivable,” Governor Ford said, “that landlords of Montana under existing conditions of the tremendous housing problems would inflict hardships on those who are forced to rent.”

An automatic clay pigeon trap, the gift of Sheriff Herbert Bailey, will soon be installed by Laurel Rod and Gun club at its Riverside park club house and shooting range, Paul Wilson stated this week. Bailey, a past president of the club, ordered the equipment several months ago to replace an old trap that required hand adjustment each time a clay pigeon was cast for flight.

The Montana district, sixth army area, U.S. army recruiting district, announced July 3 that 22 Montana men had joined the regular army during June. Among those listed were Ray G. Mars, Raymond L. Prewett and Richard R. Swan of Fromberg; Philo E. Emery, Helmer Kautz, Philip J. Rood and Melvin C. Van Buren of Laurel; and Lloyd G. Eastlick of Park City.

100 years ago

July 13, 1921

The grasshopper pest, which has been doing damage in several portions of the county, has become the object of an extensive extermination campaign, lead by County Agent Brossard, and tomorrow at 4 o’clock in the afternoon a poison mixing bee is to be conducted in Laurel and the product distributed to the farmers who are present and assist in the mixing. The damage done in the Laurel territory has not been extensive, although F.W. Schauer has suffered losses at his ranch a short distance west of the city. The grasshoppers doing the greatest amount of damage are not of the common flying variety, but are those which appear to move only by jumping. They go in great banks or herds and where they are sufficiently numerous all vegetation is stripped from the ground.

Mesdames Miller, Camp, Fenton and Ryan were hostesses to members of the Woman’s club at the Miller home Monday afternoon. Seven tables for cards were arranged on the porch. During the coming year the federated clubs of this state plan to gather funds for the erection of a hospital for tubercular children at Galen.

E.S. Kamp and family returning from Billings the night of the Fourth, counted 264 automobiles they met between Billings and Laurel, which shows somewhat of the amount of travel that day over this part of the trail.

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