A look back at Laurel History: March 5, 2020

Two Laurel boys wounded in action in 1945
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Compiled By Kathleen Gilluly Outlook Managing Editor
Thursday, March 5, 2020
A diamond ring advertised by Carlisle Jewelry for $100 in the Outlook in 1920 sounds like a deal 100 years later. According to “Times, Trials and Tribulations of Early Laurel, Montana,” by Don Brohaugh, the building housing the jewelry store was the first brick-built building in Laurel.

A diamond ring advertised by Carlisle Jewelry for $100 in the Outlook in 1920 sounds like a deal 100 years later. According to “Times, Trials and Tribulations of Early Laurel, Montana,” by Don Brohaugh, the building housing the jewelry store was the first brick-built building in Laurel.

25 years ago

March 8, 1995

A Laurel man and woman nabbed in undercover drug busts by county detectives both pleaded not guilty last week to charges of dealing drugs. Richard Martin, also known as “Rugged Red” and “Chubby” and his wife, Margaret “Peggy” Martin entered their pleas during arraignment in District Court. According to court affidavits, two Yellowstone County Sheriff’s detectives met with two informants, who agreed to purchase crank from “Rugged Red.” With a recording device they went to a pre-arranged meeting at a convenience store on E. Main St. Martin told them he was on his way to pick up more drugs. Later they allegedly bought a half gram of crank at another convenience store. The following day, the informants agreed to buy two more grams of crank from the same suspect. This transaction took place at the Martins’ residence on Alder Ave. When Marin told them he did not have two grams left, his wife supposedly contributed from her own stash to make up the difference. Richard Martin is free after posting $2,000 bond. Margaret Martin was released on her own recognizance.

The birth of Jonathan Earl Verlanic was announced.

Tina Shipp had an answer for the disappointing job market she faced when looking for work last year. She created a job for herself. Last October, Shipp started her own business, opening the doors to Country Computers on First Avenue in Laurel. “I could not find a job in Montana that I wanted to do with my degree,” she explained. “Well, I could have found a job, but they would only pay minimum wage.” Across the nation, women are increasingly adopting Shipp’s attitude. Women own more businesses than ever before, and Montanans are helping to set the trend. The percentage of women-owned businesses in Montana is the third highest in the nation, according to the National Foundation for Women Business Owners, trailing only Alaska and Oregon.

 

50 years ago

March 11, 1970

Laurel Police can find “no source, no damage, no holes in the ground or no buildings blown up,” following a “mysterious explosion,” which awakened area residents at 2 a.m. Thursday morning. The disturbance appeared to be in the vicinity of the Laurel Senior High School, Harold Gaston, Laurel Chief of Police reported. “Most of the calls we received came from that are,” he said. Gaston assumes the explosion was that of a large firecracker.

Thursday night the Park City Panthers met the Rapelje Rockets in the Southern Class C Divisional Tournament at Hardin and won with a score of 87-47. It was the 23 victory for the Panthers in as many games this year and the 50th in their last 53 games. Park City then played Ryegate Friday night, downing the gritty Blue Demons with a score of 81-62. With their 25th straight victory of the year the unbeaten and second ranked Panthers captured the Southern Class C Divisional championship over undaunted Busby with a hair-raising score of 66-64, Saturday night. The Busby Eagles were understandably tearful, losing with victory so close in the final moments of play.

Last Friday and Saturday were extremely cold for Montana in the month of March, the thermometer registering as low at 30 below for a short time in Laurel. Then the wind turned to the west Monday and the snow was melting fast, water running everywhere, and work on the many new buildings about town was resumed.

 

75 years ago

March 7, 1945

Two Laurel boys, Alexander Schmidt, seaman first class, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Schmidt, and George Ruff, gunner’s mate second class, son of Mrs. Elizabeth Ruff, were “wounded in action while in the service of their country,” the navy department’s bureau of navy personnel stated in communications received here this week. The notifications add that “due to the great volume of communications now required for essential fleet operations, the dispatch received concerning your son was necessarily brief and did not disclose the extent of his injuries. You may be assured that the best medical care is pro vided for naval personnel.”

Uno Merkel, motion picture actress, nearly died March 5 of gas when her mother, Mrs. Arno Merkel, 60, apparently became a suicide at their hotel apartment in New York. The mother was found dead in the kitchen and the access daughter was sleeping in a bedroom to which the gas has penetrated. She was revived. Laurel interest in the affair arises from the fact that Miss Merkel’s husband is Ronald L. Burla, whose father G.F. Burma was one of the old-timers of Laurel and vicinity. The elder Brula taught school here and at one time was Yellowstone county superintendent of schools. After leaving Laurel he lived several years at Hardin and then moved to California, where he died. The son, Ronald L. Burla, is assistant to the president of North American Aviation, Inc., in Inglewood, Calif.

 

100 years ago

March 3, 1920

J.S. Evans, a well-known businessman of this city, lost his life Tuesday morning in a tragedy that occurred near the Northern Pacific depot about 8 o’clock when the wheels of a freight train passed over his head. Several children who were on their way to school were witnesses to the sad affair. Mr. Evans had gone to the depot on some business mission, presumably, and stood watching a moving freight train. The tragedy did not occur until the greater part of the train had passed. Coroner Smith of Billings was notified and he arrived on the scene a few hours later. The certificate of death issued by him contains the statement as to the cause of death as “Head crushed by falling beneath a moving freight train, afflicted with lomotor ataxia. (Accidental.)” He was 37 years of age and his place of birth was Topeka, Kan. Of his immediate family he is survived by his wife, Mrs. Nellie Evans, and a little daughter. He was a member of the Woodmen of the World and for a number of years had been identified with the Baptist church.

Houses are so scarce that in the east end of town five families that must move can not do so until one family that is moving to the country vacates the house they are in.

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