75 years ago

Truck accident near resort fatal to Prairie City man

At this writing, it is learned that Bill Fletcher passed away at the hospital, his death resulting from serious injuries which he received last Friday about 5:30 p.m. when the lumber truck he was driving upset on the highway near the Joaquin Miller Resort, nine miles south of Canyon City. He was pinned under the truck, and it was about three hours before the accident was discovered and he was released.

Mr. Fletcher was hauling lumber for the Grant County Lumber Company at Prairie City, and was returning from Seneca when the accident occurred. He was about 30 years of age and leaves his widow and two children. They had lived in Prairie City for about two months, their former home having been at Vale. The body was taken to Vale for funeral services and interment.

50 years ago

Samaritan quilters lend ‘helping hands’

The Samaritans Quilting Group met at the home of Mrs. Walter Foree Saturday.

After the potluck dinner at noon, the group worked on quilt blocks.

Attending the meeting were Mrs. Roy Zeiger, Mrs. Mary Stewart, Mrs. Luck McCarthy, Mrs. Charles Payne, Mrs. Flossie Vehrs, Mrs. Rhys Humphreys and Mrs. Foree. The next meeting is planned for Feb. 8 at the home of Mrs. Charles Payne.

The Samaritans are a group of ladies living within a distance of about 15 miles up the John Day Valley and 15 miles down the valley, from Picture Gorge.

The group first met in the fall of 1960 with eight ladies attending the first “quilting bee” — Mrs. Elmer (Kitty) Asher, Mrs. Christine Burt, Mrs. Walter (Bessie) Foree, Mrs. May (Tootie) Mascall, Mrs. Loula Humphreys, Mrs. Alcye Moore, Mrs. Mary Stewart and Mrs. Roy (Jean) Zeiler.

They chose the name for their group from the Bible story of the Good Samaritan but they only use “Samaritan.”

The group meets every two or three weeks from the fall months until about June 1 at the home of one of their members.

They always meet on a Saturday since this day is the most convenient for most members. They have a potluck dinner at noon and then work on quilts. The hostess prepares the meat dish and the “extras” are brought by the other members.

They are not a club or organization and have no officers. Their stated aim is to “lend a helping hand in times of calamity, to find a gap and fill it, to show a little love and concern.”

Since 1960, the group has made and given 10 “calamity” quilts, five baby quilts, five lap-throws, and they have given $5 to the Margaret Throop Memorial and $5 for young Lonnie Harris of the Kimberly area.

They also have made 14 quilts for their members besides keeping several quilts in reserve for emergencies.

25 years ago

Lake Creek Camp is one of Grant County’s best kept secrets

Setting snugly along the foot of the Strawberry Mountains, Lake Creek Camp might just possibly be one the best-kept secrets in Eastern Oregon. Sometime during the New Year’s holidays this beautiful camp was vandalized by what the Grant County Sheriff’s office believes were most probably teenagers wanting a secluded place to hold a drinking party – a keger.

The damage wasn’t discovered until about a week later when Forest Service personnel stopped by on a routine check of the camp.

When board members arrived to inspect the damage they found numerous beer cans and bottles scattered around, a broken window in the main lodge and some of the furniture had been taken outside and damaged.

A dog or dogs had defecated and urinated inside, and foodstuffs had been opened and scattered about the kitchen.

The roof was damaged by people climbing up on it and sliding off but the extent of the damage won’t be fully determined until the snow melts; additionally, it was also estimated that about two cords of wood were stolen when tracks in the snow showed where a vehicle was driven up to where the wood was stacked outside the lodge building.

“We leave the main building unlocked for people to use in the winter in an emergency,” said Marty Boatman, chairman of the board of directors. “Our thinking has been if it weren’t locked up, then no one would break in and mess things up. This was pretty bad. Fairly often we come out and find where the facilities have been used, but never anything as bad as this before.”

Only about 18 miles southeast of John Day as the crow flies, by road it’s somewhat longer — the camp may be reached from either Prairie City via Summit Prairie or by heading south from John Day on Highway 395 and then turning east at the J Bar L Guest Ranch on County Road 65. First built as a Forest Service camp in the 1930s it later became a Youth Conservation Corp camp under the Jackman Foundation. Presently the Jackman Youth and Natural Resource Center, Lake Creek Camp, Inc., is administered by a board of directors who manage the camp as a recreation facility for anyone wishing to use it.

“We’re here for anyone who wants to use our facilities,” said Boatman. “We’re reaching out to communities all over the state and beyond. We’ve had people from Washington, Idaho and Nevada come up, as well as people and groups from around Oregon.”

The camp is open year-round for use by groups large or small; the main lodge building, built by Bill Foster of Burns, is quite large with a high vaulted ceiling. Both walls and ceiling are completely paneled in knotty pine and in an alcove is a large fieldstone fireplace. There are comfortable chairs and sofas grouped around the fireplace and there is also a piano and a ping-pong table.

The kitchen facilities are extensive and able to handle large groups numbering in the hundreds, or a handful of friends gathering together for a weekend retreat.

According to board member Jack Boatman, people need a place for winter recreation, as well as an emergency sheltering place for anyone getting lost or caught out in a bad winter storm.

“Logan Valley is pretty isolated, but even in winter there are always people in the area, loggers, snowmobilers, cross-county skiers or people just out driving. Getting caught in a blizzard out there could be serious,” said Jack Boatman. “We keep the main building unlocked, there are foodstuffs in the kitchen and firewood stacked and ready to use. All we expect is that whoever uses it in an emergency type situation keep it clean and at some time return and replenish the firewood they used.”

Over the years, Lake Creek Camp has been the wintertime setting for sled dog races, Girl Scout Snow Playday, snowmobile races, and cross-county skiing groups. Fees for day use are $2 per person; the lodge with use of kitchen facilities is $150 per day, and the available cabin rents for $25 per day. Group fees are variable and open to negotiation according to Boatman.

“We want the camp used – but we can’t keep functioning if people don’t work with us and if vandalism continues,” said Boatman. “We want to become self-sustaining and with a little more effort all around this can be a really fantastic facility.”

Boatman says RV’s and camp trailers are welcome but are requested to park in designated areas.

The 19 acres of Lake Creek Camp are private property leased from the Forest Service under a special use permit. Several of the buildings at the camp have been designated historical structures by the Forest Service.

{h3 style=”text-align: left;”}10 years ago{/h3}

Local fourth-graders learn ‘the dream’

School wasn’t in session Jan. 19 due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but as students in Pam Minster’s fourth-grade class returned to Humbolt Elementary School the next day they began a weeklong study of the man who once said, “I have a dream.”

Making the holiday even more meaningful, they also learned about the new president, and the first black president, Barack Obama, and watched part of the Inaugural event Jan. 20 while they ate cinnamon apple sponge cake with caramel sauce — the dessert was also on the Inaugural Luncheon menu.

On Jan. 21, the fourth-graders joined their music teacher Louise Kienzle in singing two historical songs highlighting the week’s events.

The group sang the gospel song “We Shall Overcome,” which was also an anthem of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

“… Black and white together now, Oh deep in my heart I do believe, We shall overcome someday…”

Kienzle spoke of the courage King had to stand up for his beliefs.

Another song she introduced, “United We Stand” was presented by the songwriter René Boyer at the recent Oregon Music Educators Conference, which Kienzle attended with two of her students.

She described Boyer as a dynamic black lady who also is a co-writer of the music book the students study in her class. Boyer is a music education professor at the University of Cincinnati.

The students and each phrase after their teacher:

“United we stand, Throughout this great land, We are part of this great nation, We’ll walk hand in hand, Matters not our race or creed, Together we’ll succeed, United we stand, United we stand, Oh, yes we can.”

The song, Kienzle told her students, carries Martin Luther King’s message, and the words “yes we can” were used as a theme in Obama’s speeches as he campaigned for the presidency.

She said the idea is that “if you can be part of a team, you might be stronger and get that goal accomplished.”

“It doesn’t matter if your parents voted for Obama,” she added, or if you agree or disagree with his ideas, “What happened yesterday was historical. It’s going to be in the history books.”

One student said she’d be able to tell her children about it one day.

The fourth-graders performed a Martin Luther King Jr. choral reading, written by Joan Nichols, in Minster’s class Jan. 22.

It spoke of King’s dreams: “That my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

And it spoke of bad dreams: The separation that existed between black and white people at swimming pools, parks, movies and buses.

Many of the words they read were quoted directly from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech given Aug. 28, 1963 in Washington, D.C. – including the ending:

“Let freedom ring! … when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of that old Negro spiritual, Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, We are free at last!”

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