County Watch — Chase and Brittany; The News; mural; Bruce
- Last Updated on Thursday, 14 June 2012 14:07
- Written by Jim Nowlan
Chase and Brittany Wallace of Toulon have both been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a very serious cancer of the blood system, which attacks the lymph tissue, spleen, bone marrow and other sites.
The disease strikes only 9,000 persons a year in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute, so the odds of both contracting the disease, which is not contagious, are in the millions to one.
Diagnosed in 2010, Chase, 21, has been in remission for a year. Brittany was recently diagnosed and will begin chemotherapy soon.
Chase works at Great Dane in Kewanee. Brittany works at Better Banks in Wyoming and volunteers at the Wyoming Veterinary Clinic. She began college last year, with the long-term goal of becoming a veterinarian, a dream that will have to be put on hold for a while.
The bills have been piling up, beyond their insurance. If you would like to help out this fine young couple, they can be reached at 210 S. Miller in Toulon, and an account in their names has been set up at Better Banks, 200 W. Williams St., Wyoming 61491.
The old Stark County News building on Main Street in Toulon is coming down, after decades of neglect. Memories wash over me in a torrent.
As a child in the 1940s, I used to ride my broom (which was as close to a pony as I ever came) up to town with my Mother, Barbara. She made me hitch my horse (broom) at The News office before we continued down the main street to Humphrey’s Café for a Coke or to McClenahan’s Drug Store for a Green River.
Eileen Benedict and Bob Pyle were in the front office, I’m sure, with Eileen maybe going down the phone directory calling people for “personals,” that is, who visited whom, who was ill, and who had gone to Peoria for dinner at Maple Shade on Saturday. In the back shop, Uncle Tom Nowlan, Dave Gelvin and Linotype operator Harry Campbell were at work with the weekly struggle of getting The News out on Wednesday—after all our motto was “Every Wednesday since 1856.” Sometimes it came out real late on Wednesdays.
But most weeks I was able as a teen to carry bundles of papers to the Post Office (where the State Bank is now) where Bud Doden, Jeff McClellan and Billy Humphrey would quickly distribute the papers into the postal boxes, so as to clear the narrow corridor of people waiting impatiently for their weekly fix of the “doings” in the community. Although called The Stark County News, it was primarily a Toulon area newspaper, as Bradford (The Republican) and Wyoming (The Post-Herald) had their own bustling papers.
Every weekly newspaper had printer’s devils, and The News had more than its share of young high school characters who melted the lead into “pigs” (long bars) for the Linotype machine and to cast the liquid lead into a simple machine that formed the ads sent to us by the major car manufacturers and other national advertisers that used weekly newspapers then.
If there had been an OSHA (safety and health agency) then, it would have closed us down in a New York minute. The melting of the lead into bubbling liquid was a primitive affair, the power saw that sawed the cast lead ads into proper size was without any safety glass, and the big power paper cutter that could be operated with one hand (leaving another to work perilously close to the blade) were accidents waiting to happen. Fortunately, none did in the years I recall, other than burns from the liquid lead splattering all over.
Ronnie Blevins and Ronnie Durbin were the devils when I was coming into high school. At that age, I was responsible for cleaning the News office. Every two years, Dad selected two juniors to be devils until they graduated from high school. The Ronnies couldn’t help bedeviling the boss’s son, and I recall once being unceremoniously stuffed butt first into a large, deep trash container.
Other devils, among many I am forgetting at the moment, included Roger Smith and Galen Ballentine, Tom Cinnamon and Bill Nicholson.
I learned to run the Linotype as well as the “big” newspaper press. Once, again as a young high schooler, I was charged with sitting on a step ladder to feed inserts into the press, to make a 12-page paper. New to the task, I nervously made mistakes, which caused the press to shut down each time. I can still remember my father, growing more exasperated with each shut down, looking up at me on my perch, his face red as a beet, shouting at me: ”Relax, g—damn it, relax!” This proved not to be relaxing.
The old News’ version of the Internet and instantaneous communications was to write in big script on a large sheet of newsprint paper to report the passing of a well-known resident or of local election results, hung on a wire with clothes pins in the large plate glass windows. When seeing a sheet of newsprint in the window, drivers would slow to a crawl on Main Street to gather the latest news.
Just as with printer’s devils, many young girls out of high school worked at The News office. I think of fun-loving Ruth Talbert and pretty as a picture Evelyn Grieve.
The News, and surely so at the Bradford Republican and Wyoming Post-Herald, provided many a start in life for community residents. I miss those I came to know at The News but I cherish the memories.
Toulon has been brightened up markedly by the completion of a huge mural covering the wall of a building to the east of the State Bank of Toulon. Conceived and executed by Doug Haffner of Wyoming, the mural (see photo elsewhere in paper) has an agricultural theme. The State Bank of Toulon commissioned the painting, and is to be commended.
My nephew Scott Allen of Mauldin, SC, was grieved to learn of the unexpected passing this past week of his hunting buddy, Bruce “Farmer” Farmer of Kewanee. He asked that I remember Farmer in the paper.
I met Farmer at John Allen’s “shack” near West Jersey, where John often grilled deer sausage and other goodies for his many friends, Farmer among them. Farmer had a large personality and left a smile on everyone’s face, including that of my nephew, Scott, who will miss his hunting buddy.