Fire bell to signal blackout; USC awarded computer grant

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75 YEARS AGO - 1943

April 17 - 23

Aubrey Hatfield, son of A.J. Hatfield, well known bicycle and automotive accessories dealer, recently averaged almost 15 miles an hour riding his Victory model bicycle from Columbia to Sumter in three hours. Aubrey, who is 18 years old, and who left yesterday for Fort Jackson to be inducted into the army, started his ride from 1727 Senate St., Columbia, at 12:25 p.m. and arrived in Sumter at 3:25 p.m.

• Convenient transportation facilities are available to persons planning to attend the open house at the Shaw Field Non-Commissioned Officers club. The clubhouse, located a short distance from Shaw Field on U.S. 76, may be reached by buses that leave Sumter at 2, 2:30, 3:30 o'clock and every half hour thereafter until midnight. Guests will be greeted by Master Sgt. Edward E. Hart, president of the N.C.O. club, Mrs. Ethel Bell, club hostess and non-commissioned officers and their wives.

• Jimmy Palmer, son of Mrs. L.L. Jennings of Sumter, has been elected student body president at the Medical College of South Carolina. A senior at the college, Palmer is interning this year at Pine Haven Sanatorium near Charleston. He will graduate in December. He is a member of the Naval Medical Corps Reserve and will enter that service immediately upon his graduation.

• The open house for citizens and servicemen which will be held at the soldier's center over Lawson's Drug Store from 8 to 10 is being planned by a committee composed of Miss Lois McKnight, chairman; Mrs. P.A. McDonald; Mrs. Whitney Cunningham; Mrs. Henry Moses; Mrs. F.B. Creech; Mrs. E.P. DuRant; Miss Mary Elizabeth Hunter; and Mrs. Lyman Quincy.

• Thomas V. Hoyt has returned to his home here from a six-month tour of duty with the merchant marine, which took him to several foreign ports. Hoyt volunteered for the service, one of the most dangerous of them all, last fall. He reports many adventures, among them the interruption of the last Thanksgiving dinner aboard ship by enemy torpedoes.

• It'll be England to movie audiences in most places in the country, the setting for some of the forthcoming MGM production, A Guy Named Joe, but to the people of Sumter it will be plain old "Burnt Gin Auxiliary Field," or "that pasture near Wedgefield" if the director's plans work out. A number of the scenes for the film, which will star Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne, are being made at the Army air base near Columbia. Last week a Hollywood entourage, including several directors but no stars, scouted over Sumter County territory in the vicinity of Poinsett Park and pronounced it perfect for their plans.

• Edmunds High School students invested enough money in War Bonds and Stamps between March 1 and April 19 to buy 21 jeeps for the Army, acting principal William Henry Shaw announced. The campaign, part of the Schools at War Program being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Treasury, was staged throughout the country and the goal, in terms of jeeps, was 10,000 for the nation. South Carolina's quota was 63 jeeps and thus the local high school students have reached exactly one third of the whole state's total.

- The ration problem next winter, especially of canned goods, will prove no worry to employees of the Carolina Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Sumter. Through a company cooperative project, they are raising foods for use now and to be canned for the season when fresh local vegetables are not to be had. The project is being developed on property owned by A.T. Heath, president of the company, which adjoins the First Mill property he gave to the city to be developed as a garden. Termed a "Victory Garden," the Coca-Cola employees' land is five acres big and more like a small truck farm. Already planted are onions, Irish potatoes, cabbage, mustard, turnip greens, carrots, radishes and corn, and this week the planting of two acres of tomatoes and one-half acre of okra is planned.

• J.C. McDuffie Jr., president of the Home Furniture Co., Inc., announced today that Dwight M. Huggins has been named general manager of the firm and would assume his new duties next Monday. McDuffie leaves Monday for Fort Jackson for induction into the Army, having been accepted for service last week.

• The fire bell, in addition to the air raid sirens, will signal the start of Sumter's surprise blackout, which will come in the near future, Commander F.B. Creech announced today. The fire bell and sirens will be heard in long blasts termed the blue signal. Two of these blasts will be heard for two minutes. The all clear will be the steam whistle at Williams Furniture Co.

50 YEARS AGO - 1967

Dec. 17 - 23

Three full-time students made all A's this semester at Clemson University at Sumter. This is the first time in the history of Clemson University at Sumter that anyone has achieved a grade point ratio of 4.0 for a semester. Two of these students were sophomores and one a freshman. The students are: Robert E. Skinner, a sophomore majoring in pre-pharmacy; Sharron Jansen, a sophomore majoring in modern languages; and Linda Faye Rominger, a freshman majoring in pre-medicine.

• The Chrismon Tree of Saint James Lutheran Church can be seen each night this week from 7 to 9 p.m. A committee of ladies headed by Mrs. A.W. Howell, hand made all the chrismons. Groups or individuals are invited to drop by to see and hear an explanation of the meaning of the chrismons.

• Sumter Chamber of Commerce adopted a nearly $40,000 budget and considered projects and committee assignments for the coming year at a board of directors meeting, according to S.L. Roddey Jr., president. The 1968 budget represents an approximate $3,000 increase over last year's budget.

• Sumter County has joined others over the state in submitting applications for next summer's Head Start program, Morgan B. Moyer, director of the local community action agency, announced this week. The Sumter County Economic Opportunity Corp. Inc., has requested $86,606 from the Office of Economic Opportunity to run the six-week pre-school program in nine centers for 450 children. The local community will add $25,605 in cash or services.

• "Roger Smith, who sparked Hillcrest to two victories last week, was named the area Player of the Week today for his efforts. Smith, a 6-2 forward, pumped in 22 points in his team's 65-40 triumph over Manning and then came back with 14 points Friday night when the Wildcats dumped Furman, 59-45.

• Construction will begin after Christmas on a $20,000 parsonage for the First Church of God, according to the Rev. S.H. Sharp, pastor. The brick-veneered Colonial-style dwelling will be located on a 100-by-60- foot lot adjacent to the new church in the 300 block of Wise Drive. It replaces the present parsonage at 215 N. Magnolia St., which has to be vacated to make room for the civic center.

• Mrs. Myrtis Logan is establishing a $500 scholarship loan fund in memory of her husband, the late Joseph E. Logan, for Edmunds High School graduates entering training in the field of health. The local grant, to be available next year, is in addition to a $1,200 fund established earlier in memory of Mr. Logan and designed to assist Edmunds students entering teacher training.

• The Sumter County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to restore the Second Mill Dam should the Sumter Elks Club exercise the option to purchase the property. The motion made by Marion Moise stipulated that the restoration of the dam would be undertaken by the county at no cost to the Sumter Elks Club, other than the cost of building materials, not to exceed $7,500.

25 YEARS AGO - 1992

Sept. 18 - 24

The University of South Carolina at Sumter has received an $87,556 federal grant to create a computer network at the campus. The grant, awarded through the federal Department of Education, will be used to improve the campus' phone system, providing after-hours access to information about the school, and to provide a campus-wide system of computers for access to library files.

• Because of bus trouble, the Sumter High Gamecocks arrived late to Hagood Stadium for their football game against Aiken. While they were just a few minutes late physically, they were even later arriving mentally. SHS got things together in enough time, though, as the defense made two key fourth-quarter stops and quarterback Chad Hoshour connected with wide receiver Peter Ford for a 35-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds left to give Sumter a 10-6 victory.

• Hillcrest used a powerful running game and a tough defense to blank West Florence, 15-0, at Hillcrest Memorial Stadium. Despite numerous penalties (14 for 140 yards) and two fumbles, the Wildcats were still able to manhandle the Knights. Hillcrest quarterback Deandre James rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown in the first half to bull the Wildcats to a 19-0 lead at halftime.

• In its 20th year of operation, the Sumter County Career Center set an all-time high student enrollment. Enrollment figures just released for the 1992-93 school year reveal that 585 high school students in Sumter County are attending the career center to gain knowledge in one of 17 trade and technology fields.

• Manolito Sinkler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Roosevelt Sinkler of Sumter, has been selected as a national finalist in the Achievement in Volunteerism award program sponsored by the Future Farmers of America. The AIV program works with the FFA's Building Our American Communities program, which is a nationwide rural community revitalization program to foster leadership skills in young adults.

• Kingsbury Elementary School physical education teacher Jay Britton believes teachers can dictate the success or failure of a nation and that it is an "awesome responsibility." The belief that he can make a positive difference in the lives of children is the key to his success as a teacher and is what has elevated him to become the 1993 District 17 Teacher of the Year.

• It has been three years since Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina on the night of Sept. 21, 1989. And a local official says Sumter County learned its lesson, and is now more prepared to deal with such deadly storms. Vic Jones, Sumter County's public safety director, said most of the area's residents three years ago expected Hugo to hit South Carolina's coast, and didn't believe it posed any danger to Sumter County - nearly 100 miles inland. "But we now know in Sumter, South Carolina, that hurricanes are not just coastal storms and we have to be prepared," he said.

• Sumter was facing an obstetrical crisis before 1988, with too many indigent patients and too few doctors to deliver their babies. The Woman's Clinic was the only medical practice in Sumter where women could go for obstetrical care. During 1987, the six obstetricians at the clinic reported delivering between 250-300 babies each - more than the maximum recommended national average. The doctors' workload became lighter in September of 1988 when Sun Life OB-GYN Services came to Sumter. SunLife's goal was to concentrate on indigent patients.

• Former Sumter City Councilman E. Frank Bostick, 81, died at Tuomey Regional Medical Center Mr. Bostick served on council for 12 years, from 1972 to 1984, during a period of expansion for the city. Fellow council members remember him as a dedicated decision-maker and a "true gentleman."

• When it comes to murder, handguns are the weapon of choice. Perhaps it is because firearms can bring instant death. Perhaps it is because they are so available. There are an estimated 200 million firearms in the possession of private citizens in the United States, which averages out to four guns for every five Americans. As in the rest of the nation, firearms are the leading implements of death in Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties. Nationwide, handguns were used to murder 12,090 people last year, up 12 percent from 1990.

Reach Sumter Item Archivist Sammy Way at waysammy@yahoo.com or (803) 774-1294.