75 years ago

Eight teams are participating for basketball honors

The district basketball tournament is the big attraction here this weekend, at the Grant Union high school gymnasium, having started Thursday and will continue with the semi-final games tonight (Friday) and the championship game on Saturday night.

There are eight teams vying for championship honors and the right to represent this district in the tournament at Arlington, the winner of which will go to Salem for the state tournament.

As this paper goes to press early Thursday evening, complete results of the first day are not available. The opening games, Thursday, were between Adrian and Prairie City, and North Powder and Mt. Vernon. Evening games were Union vs. Haines and Richland vs. Grant Union.

The semi-finals tonight (Friday) will see the winner of the Adrian-Prairie City game matched against the winners of the North Powder-Mt. Vernon contest, at 8:00 o’clock, and at 9:00 o’clock the winner of the Union-Haines games will clash with the winners of the Richland-Grant Union game.

The championship game will be played Saturday night at 9:00 o’clock preceded by a preliminary contest at 8:00 o’clock. Following the final game, the tournament trophies and all-tournament team awards will be made, after which will be the annual tournament dance.

50 years ago

Bishop to dedicate Parish Hall

On Sunday, March 2, Bishop Francis P. Leipzig, Bishop of Baker, will be making a triennial visit to the Roman Catholic parishes of St. Elizabeth’s, John Day, St. Charles, Seneca, and St. Anne’s, Monument, to administer the sacrament of confirmation, announces Rev. Austin Cribbin, pastor.

About 30 persons from all three parishes will be receiving the sacrament at ceremonies following the 9 a.m. mass at St. Elizabeth’s Church. Members of the sixth, seventh and eighth grades have been preparing especially for the rite by taking special lessons in church dogma. Some high schoolers and adults who have not yet had the opportunity to be confirmed will also be among the confirmands.

Later in the day, Bishop Leipzig will officially dedicate the new parish hall at St. Elizabeth’s and will speak at the special beef dinner to be served at 5:30 that evening to visiting clergy and parish members.

25 years ago

Prairie City boys will make return trip to defend state 4 1-A championship title

North Powder connected on 12 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter Saturday to eke out a narrow 55-51 win over the Prairie City Panthers in the championship game of the District 4 1A Basketball Tournament played at Baker High School.

Their appearance in the district championship assured Prairie City of a return ticket to the state tournament that begins Wednesday in Baker City, but their loss dropped the Panthers to the second see position entering the tournament.

The Panthers will open defense of their state championship Thursday, March 3, when they take the floor for a 3 p.m. tip-off against Temple Christian of Portland, the top ranked 1A team in the state.

En route to their appearance in the championship game, the Panthers opened Thursday with a narrow 41-39 win over the Huntington Locomotives followed Friday by a 50-43 win over the Dayville/Monument Tigers.

“The kids played super,” head coach Buell Gonzales said. “They had three games in three nights and each one was the late game. They played with a lot of courage, especially our three seniors.”

In the opener Thursday against Huntington, the fourth place finisher in the Tri-County League, the Panthers sustained a scare as they watched a six point, 34-28 edge slowly ebb away as the Locomotives mounted a closing rally.

Ryan Gerry led the Panthers with 14 points followed by Mike Strong with 10, Josh Zacharias with eight and Jake Saul and Josh Gonzales with four each. Others seeing floor time were Gus Burril, Corey Davis, Jerry Woodard, Curt Knight, D.J. Clapp, Terold Dave and Jared Horrell.

Gonzales and Gerry each collected 13 rebounds with Gerry adding four assists. For the game, Prairie City hit just 24 percent of its shots while committing 17 turnovers. They amassed a season high 52 rebounds including 29 on the offensive boards.

Gonzales was named to the district all tournament first team while Gerry was named to the second team. In all league voting Monday, Gonzales and Strong were named to the Old Oregon League’s first team while Zacharias, Gerry and Burril were named to the honorable mention team.

In a pivotal game Friday night, the Panthers mounted a second half rally to overcome a 24-21 deficit at the half against Dayville/Monument en route to their 50-43 win.

“With our success last year, and bringing back the number of kids we did,” Gonzales said, “I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. That win in the Dayville/Monument game lifted a lot of weight off our shoulders because we knew we would be back in the state tournament.”

Gonzales led the Panthers with 25 points, including 16 in the second half. Burril added 10 followed by Gerry with six, Zacharias with five and Saul with two. Everyone else saw playing time with Gonzales and Gerry leading Prairie City on the boards with eight apiece. Gonzales added two assists and three steals with Strong and Davis posting two steals apiece. Gerry added two blocked shots with Gonzales and Davis posting one apiece.

Overall, the Panthers shot 20 or 50, or 40 percent from the floor and they committed 15 turnovers.

In the championship game Saturday, Prairie City overcame a two point North Powder edge at the end of the first quarter to gain a 25-21 edge at the half. The score was knotted at 36 at the start of the final period with free throws spelling the difference in the final outcome.

Prairie City used a more diversified scoring attack Saturday led by Strong with 16 followed by Gonzales, 11; Burril, 10; Gerry, Zacharias and Saul, four each; and Davis with two. On note was the shooting of Burril who hit on six of eight, or 75 percent from the floor.

In the third quarter, the Panthers took a 31-20 lead before the Badgers out-scored them 15-5 in the closing minutes to tie the game. Gonzales was especially pleased with the play of Zacharias at the start of the quarter when he collected four points and blocked one shot to get the Panthers off and running.

“It was good learning experience for us,” Gonzales said. “It showed us the things we have to work on to be successful at the state tournament. It was disappointing to lost, but overall I was pleased with the way the kids played.”

“Mistakes are going to happen,” he said. “When they happen to you, it gives you something to work on. I think this will help us re-focus on things.”

10 years ago

Tales of the Great Depression

There’s a joke circulating that says, “A recession is when your neighbor has lost his job. A depression is when you’ve lost yours.”

With the county’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hitting 13.8 percent in December and U.S. job losses reaching nearly 600,000 in the nation for January alone, the terms recession and depression are becoming a reality that’s tough to joke about.

A group of residents at Valley View Assisted Living can identify with how tough living through a depression can be – they’ve been there. Instead of wringing their hands, these industrious folks rolled up their sleeves and got to work during the Great Depression, which started Oct. 29, 1929, and lasted about 10 years.

Geri Pasko

Geri Pasko had her ninth birthday in 1929. She remembers her dad opened a repair shop just before the Depression hit. A lot of her family’s food came from farmers who visited the garage to have their equipment serviced.

Her mother also kept a garden.

“We got awful tired of things like potato soup and beans,” she said. “Mom was a very frugal lady, I’ll tell you.”

Children went barefoot in the summers to preserve their shoes. When there was time to play, they enjoyed games such as baseball, kick the can and Aunt Annie over (throwing a ball over the house).

Pasko likes to say her husband married her for her money – she had $150 and he had $50 when they were wed in 1939.

At the time her husband worked in a fish plant in Newport, but shortly after their marriage the plant closed.

The summer before the wedding, Geri Pasko canned 300 bottles of tuna and traded part of it for fruit.

“I was fortunate because I canned everything under the sun,” she recalled.

“We lived through the winter with no job and had $3 left when he started working again fro the Columbia River Packers,” she said, adding, “Young people today couldn’t do it.”

Thelma Temple

Although Thelma Temple’s family had very little money, as farmers they had plenty to eat.

She was born in 1919 and lived in Woon Socek, S.D.

“Dad drew all the money out of the bank because he was afraid the bank would go broke,” she recalled.

He hired out horses and a Fresno Scraper for 25 cents a day. Fresnos, which are the basis of most earth-moving scrapers today, were invented by Scottish immigrant James Porteous in 1883 in Fresno, Calif.

On Saturdays the family would take cream and eggs to town to sell, then buy groceries and visit with friends.

She remembers pitching horseshoes at Sunday get-togethers and burning corn cobs for heat and cooking.

She and her siblings, four brothers and one sister, would each receive one silver dollar for their birthday.

On one Christmas “my brother and I pooled our money and bought a saucer and a cup for dad and mom,” she said.

Mertha Field

Mertha Field grew up in Imbler during the Depression, but she says “I don’t think we were depressed because everybody was in the same position.”

She recalls “all kinds of fellows traveling around” offering to do chores with cattle, yard work or woodcutting for food to take on their way.

“No one had anything,” she noted. “There was always someone that needed help.”

Another recollection: “You had to be practically dying to go to the doctor.”

Her family had a wheat farm and an apple orchard. While her sister, who was five years older, plowed up the fields, Mertha stayed indoors doing housework.

Her chief memories from that time period were babysitting and canning.

Her dad had five children from his first marriage and five more children came along when he later remarried a young wife.

Field says she was about 12 or 13 and her stepmother was about 20 when she asked her father if they could go to La Grande to see the movie, “Trail of the Lonesome Pine.”

After a long day of work, the two set off to see the movie.

Outside the theater was a public service sign that read, “Can all you can.”

“We laughed – we were so tired from canning corn all day,” she said.

“You always worked as hard as you could,” she noted. “You had to make sure you did what you needed to in order to survive and take care of the family.

Pearl Coombs

Pearl Coombs, who was born in 1913 and grew up in Hereford, says that she and her brother and seven sisters were all born at home.

“My mother had to work hard,” she noted.

Her family kept a big garden and raised turkeys, geese and chickens and sold eggs to buy groceries.

Flour sacks, which were made of cloth and had pretty prints on them, were used for making underpants and underskirts, and the children wore hand-me-downs.

“Nothing was wasted,” Coombs said.

Transportation to and from school was a horse and buggy and a horse-drawn sleigh in wintertime.

“Mom would heat rocks to keep our feet warm,” she recalled.

As a schoolgirl her mother made her wear “old brown cotton socks” which were like tights, but sturdy, baggy and undesirable. The youngster would slip them off as soon as she got to school, and put them back on when it was time to go home.

“Other girls didn’t have to wear those,” she added.

School plays provided entertainment for the community, she recalled.

“Nowadays the kids have too much,” she said.

She says she never regrets the tough times she had to endure.

“I had a good life.”

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