75 years ago
Prairie City man in active combat in Bougainville Jungle
With the Americal (CX) Division at Bougainville, Private Alvin E. Polasek, former resident of Prairie City, in the John Day valley, is in active combat against the Japanese at this base in the South Pacific.
“I have been on patrols into the Bougainville jungle behind the enemy lines,” Polasek said, “and I’ve heard the weapons the Japs use.”
Since his arrival at this base Christmas day, 1943, Polasek has been at the front lines with an infantry regiment with the Americal (CX) Division.
Prior to coming to this combat zone in the Solomon Islands, Polasek, assigned to a regiment whose members are the grizzled veterans of the battle of Guadalcanal and winners of a Presidential citation for gallantry in action last year. He was in jungle warfare maneuvers in the Fiji Islands with the seasoned fighters of his outfit.
50 years ago
‘62 Days Celebration plans unfold
Can-can girls, a mucking contest, sack racing will be some of the new features which will be added to the regular popular events for the annual ’62 Days Celebration in Canyon City, according to the Whiskey Gulch Gang, sponsors of the celebration.
The celebration, commemorating the discovery of gold in 1862, will be held June 6-7.
Further planning for the two-day festivities will be made at a meeting Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Canyon City Fire Hall. All interested persons are urged to attend.
“One thing for sure,” states Dave Traylor, “there is going to be something for everyone.”
Tentative plans call for a cross-country horse relay race from Prairie City to Canyon City on an old county road. Each contestant will ride three horses in the relay. It is hoped that a $100 cash prize will be offered for the winner.
A wide variety of events, such as a mucking contest, ax throwing contest, wheelbarrow and sack racing and a skillet-tossing event, are being planned.
The Medicine Wagon Show is being revamped and will be staged following the parade instead of prior to the parade as in the past. The show will feature new acts and is expected to run an hour and a half.
Black powder shooting and old time fiddling will continue to be a part of the ’62 Days Celebration.
Contestants for the beard contest can start sprouting whiskers April 7, which is 62 days before the celebration. Emphasis this year will be on costumes as well as the beard.
Everyone will be encouraged to dress up in the style of ’62 Days for the celebration said Traylor.
25 years ago
Library board gets the OK to accept Malheur Lumber mobile home
Grant County court members last week voted unanimously to allow members of the library board to enter into an agreement with Malheur Lumber Company to get a single wide mobile home the company would like to donate to the library.
Although the 12-by-60-foot mobile home will be free, it’s estimated it will cost the library about $2,600 to get it moved, set up and hooked up, according to Melody Jackson, the county librarian.
Malheur Lumber Company is building a new office. When complete, the company will surplus the single wide and another double wide mobile home it’s now using as its offices.
Jackson said the single wide, with one bathroom and electric heat, is fully paneled and carpeted. Based on estimates, she said it would cost $750 to get it hooked up; $500 to get it moved from the mill to the library; $200 to $300 for the tires and axles; and another $800 to $1,000 to install an air conditioner.
Even if the estimates are low, Jackson and the court agreed the addition, once complete, would be worth far more than its cost. Funds for the project would come from the library’s capital outlay budget.
Grant County Judge Kevin Campbell said the addition of the mobile home, which will be located behind the library, will help bridge the needs between where the library is at now and where it hopes to go.
The building will not be available until September. The county asked the library board to get a written agreement with the lumber company to formalize the deal.
The unit will house some new computers for public use.
10 years ago
SWAT team raids ranch
An Oregon State Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team and other police swept to a ranch near Long Creek last week and arrested a federal fugitive in connection with a drug case.
John Charles Rock Jr., 51, was arrested on a warrant for conspiracy to import controlled substances, conspiracy to possess marijuana on board arriving aircraft and conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
The action began about 6 p.m., Thursday, March 19, as about two dozen SWAT officers armed with search and arrest warrants arrived at the ranch on Low Gap Lane, about 2 miles northeast of Long Creek. They were accompanied by other OSP officers from the John Day and Baker City outposts, Grant County Sheriff’s deputies and John Day Police officers.
OSP Sgt. Gordon Larson of the John Day outpost said that, when the police moved in, Rock emerged from a trailer he had been staying in and was arrested. He was not armed and offered no resistance.
No one else was at the ranch at the time.
“He was there by himself, with some dogs,” Larson said.
Rock had been staying at the ranch off and on for about a year and a half, with the permission of the absentee owner.
Larson said Rock was born in Washington and had lived in Alaska, where he was a pilot.
He came to the attention of authorities after an incident about a year ago in Canada, when he crashed an airplane that turned out to be “full of marijuana,” Larson said.
Canadian authorities notified the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, which investigated the incident. That led to a criminal indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Acting on a warrant for Rock’s arrest, the U.S. Marshals Service traced him to the Long Creek ranch, and enlisted the aid of the OSP to make the arrest.
Rock was taken to the Grant County Jail, where he was held without bail until Friday, when two U.S. Marshals picked him up.
Rock is expected to remain in custody pending arraignment in federal court.
The SWAT team used in last week’s raid was made up of specially trained officers from across the state.
Larson credited Grant County Undersheriff Todd McKinley, who was familiar with the terrain and buildings of the ranch, for providing good information to help prepare for the raid.