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Friday, May 6, 2016

December 1969

Monday, December 6, 2010

Karen Short and Gerry Butler spoke at a Kiwanis meeting in 1969.
(McCook Daily Gazette)
People sometimes ask us if we remember a certain time, a certain date, or a certain happening. For those of us who often have difficulty remembering what we had for breakfast it helps when we are handed the newspaper, which reported the incident. Recently a loyal reader brought a copy of the McCook Gazette, December of 1969. Though things continue to change, some things remain the same.

Wars continue to be with us. Today Iraq and Afghanistan, in 1969 Vietnam -- After parachuting from his disabled F4 Phantom Fighter/bomber and 51 hours of dodging the enemy, Lt. Woodrow Bergeron Jr. was rescued. Sixteen times, rescue helicopters flew under fighter-bomber support in rescue attempts, only to be driven off by fierce enemy fire. Finally, he was picked up by a helicopter, which was able to lower a cable hoist and pull him to safety from the middle of a river, where he had taken refuge.

Fighting was resumed after a three day Christmas truce when the allied commands charged the Viet Kong and North Vietnamese with 111 attacks, which violated the truce, and said that 100 of the enemy were killed and 11 captured.

A group of 152 American wives and children flew to Paris to attempt to learn about loved ones missing or captured in North Vietnam. The group was rebuffed by North Vietnamese officials, then sent home with vague promises that prisoners would gradually be released. The trip was financed by Dallas millionaire, H. Ross Perot.

South Korea rejected a North Korean proposal for a meeting of nonpolitical organizations from the two countries to discuss the return of passengers aboard a South Korean airliner, which was hijacked Dec. 11. Two North Korean agents, disguised as South Korean Military officers took over the plane. The North Koreans accused the South of using innocent civilians as hostages.

Sirhan Sirhan, under a death sentence for the slaying of Presidential Candidate, Sen. Bobby Kennedy yielded to an appeal by his mother to end his 13 day hunger strike. The 105 pound Jordanian Arab, who had subsisted on coffee and cocoa, nevertheless vowed that he would "fast until death" unless authorities lessened his isolation, so that he could talk with other prisoners on death row. He likened his captors to the Nazis.

Dean Martin, 52, a $5 million/year TV star, sought a divorce from his second wife, Jeannie, 47, who agreed to comply with his wishes. It seemed that Martin, who portrayed a slightly tipsy, good time party boy on television, was in reality a stay-at-home, early-to-bed teetotaler, while his wife was the one who enjoyed an occasional party. The couple had three children. Martin had four children by a previous marriage.

Prosecutors were seeking a single trial for the six defendants charged with the murder and conspiracy in the killing of actress Sharon Tate and six others. Charles M. Manson, 35, was the central figure in the investigation -- referred to as "God" and "Satan" by his hippie-style gang. Police said that Manson had a grudge against the wealthy and had a near hypnotic influence over members of his "family."

In his Gazette column, Gazette Land, Dick Hellner lamented the demonstrations which were taking place at college campuses across the country. He reprinted a poem, by Richard Armour, first published in the Wall Street Journal, entitled "Born Too Soon": "When I was a student, I was quiet. I didn't protest, I didn't riot. I wasn't unwashed, I wasn't obscene, I made no demands on prexy or dean. I sat in no sit-in, I heckled no speaker, I broke not a window ... Few students were meeker. I'm forced to admit, with some hesitation, All I got out of school was an education."

Hellner was forced to cancel a weekend camp out with the Scouts at the Swanson Farm on Red Willow Creek -- cold weather they could tolerate in tents, but snow cover made it impossible to find a dry spot on which to pitch their tents.

Elks Exalted Ruler Dick Schneider announced, "less than 12 years after the modern Elks Lodge building was dedicated, the second major ($205,000) expansion has been completed, bringing a capacity of 350 persons in dining and lounge areas. The new addition added some 1,500 sq. ft. of space for dining." The new $40,000 kitchen is called "the most modern in Nebraska."

Glennis Discoe, Lucille Jones, and Barbara Rinehart were guests when Circle 7 of the Woman's Society of Memorial United Methodist Church met at the home of Mrs. Duane Dueland. Joan Dueland gave the devotions and John Herrmann presented a program on the Physical and Psychological Addiction of Drugs. A covered dish supper was planned for the next meeting, with the husbands as guests.

The McCook Kiwanis Club held an orientation meeting for 15 new members of the College Circle K Club. Rev. John Craig was guest speaker, with Kiwanians Bill Lyons, Asa Wolfe, and E.P. Baruth, and club sponsor, Ted Fellers in attendance.

Karen Short, from MHS and Gerry Butler, Butler Beef Acres spoke at the Kiwanis meeting. Karen gave her contest VFW speech, "Freedom's Challenge." Butler told how meat is processed, and of the federal and state inspection problems encountered.

Elva Backer and Leon (Fuzz) Flaska received top awards for their outstanding work in community service at the Nebraska Jaycee Banquet in Fremont. Ted Perry, formerly of McCook, presented the Outstanding Young Man in Nebr. Award to Flaska, and Mrs. Backer received the top state award for her contribution to the nation's physical fitness movement as expressed by the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Bids for the new YMCA "Health Club" were being solicited. 1000 sq. ft. of space on the main floor was to be converted to a "Club" with a sauna, private lockers, exercise room and rest area. Officers were elected; Ken Kauffman, pres., Dennis Utter, VP, Bob Saddler, Sec., Larry Carpenter, treasurer. Board members: Vern Blank, Bill Brown, Warren Farrell, Dale Heimer, Ray Judkins, Bob Lewis, Jack Lytle, Nona Muller, LaJune Morris, Bob Olson, Norma Stevens, and Bob Woodruff.

After 40 years in business, the Koetter Grocery Store, at 1225 E B. St closed its doors. The store had been founded by Barney Koetter and operated for years as Koetter Bros. W.R. (Smitty) Koetter, who had operated the store for the last 15 years, said the state had a hand in his decision to close the store. He had no future plans "at this time."

The D & S Super Market was celebrating a Fiesta Del Monte Sale. Fryers $.79 each, Chuck steak $.79/LB, Ground beef 3 lbs. for $1.59, Peaches 3 cans $.79.

Whitaker Furniture was offering a Colonial La-Z-Boy Rocker for $139, or $7 per month, a Futorian Skirted Sofa for $177, and Mis-Match Mattress, full size, for $29.95

Producers, on N. Highway 83 reported an active cattle market. Bulk of choice steers calves 300-400 lbs. sold from $37-$41. Slaughter bulls $24 down. Cow market steady to strong. Good stock cows sold $19-$21. Feeder pigs very active 15-35 lb. pigs $13-$22.

Stocks continued to slide in moderately active trading. The Dow Industrial Average was off 4.88 to 743.47 at 2 p.m.

In an editorial the Gazette noted that "in 1969 McCook did not boom as it did in the early 1960 oil exploration days, but when all the local 1969 progress is grouped it is impressive ... The 1960s, including 1969 were good years for McCook Nebraska, and 1970 should even be better. Our future is what we make of it, and it looks bright from here." The same might be said today.

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Walt Sehnert
Days Gone By