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Times Gone By

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

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Shave and a haircut - In the early days in Washta you could go to Fred Robinsons' Barber Shop and get yourself a shave and a haircut, it is unknown if the price was two bits or not.
100 years ago

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Harry Peters while coupling cars on the freight at Anthon Saturday afternoon, had a very narrow escape from passing in his checks. He was riding on the rear foot board of the engine which was backing when his foot slipped and his leg was drawn under the board, with rare presence of mind he reached for the air cock to the brakes and shot off the air bringing the train to a stop before he was drawn under the wheels. As it was his leg was lacerated and the tibia bone broken between the ankle and knee. An Anthon surgeon temporarily dressed the wound and he was brought to this city on the evening passenger and Dr. P. B. Cleaves was called who set the fractured bone and Harry is resting easily, but it will be some time before he will be waving the signal lantern on the road. A younger brother some weeks ago also broke his leg, so there are two in the family laid up by bone fractures.

Friday was the last day for filing petitions for city offices and at the close there were four nominations for mayor, Griffin, Smith, Caswell and Molyneux. For assessor, Lawrey and Knapp, and for alderman second ward Finton and Triggs. For the other offices there is no opposition to the gentlemen announced in last issue, Brummer for treasurer Stiles and Wescott for aldermen at large and Colby alderman 1st ward, and Micham alderman 2nd ward.

The last to file a petition was the friends of Wallace Caswell and they are very confident that in him they have a candidate who will be a credit to the city and who will advance its material interest. Mr. Caswell was born in this county thirty-three years ago. He was educated in our city schools, graduating from our high school and entering the Ann Arbor University of Michigan, of which he is a graduate. He studied law and was admitted to practice in Michigan and California in both of these states the requirements for admission is high. However, Mr. Caswell although thus fully equipped preferred an industrial to a professional career. He is a member of the firm of Caswell brothers who conduct a foundery and machine shop in this city, chiefly devoted to the manufacture of the Caswell Belt Guide which is sold wherever threshing machines run, and have been a large factor in advertising Cherokee to the world. They employ a large force and an ever increasing one, in this business, which is of great importance to Cherokee. He is well qualified to fill the office to which he aspires and those who know him know that if elected with him it will be the city first, private interests second.

75 years ago

Skelly oil station of Cherokee was among the stations of six stated duped by Jacob Jewel of Chicago, sentenced to seven years at Fort Madison after confessing to issuing fraudulent checks. He was arrested Saturday at Davenport. Monday evening Dean S. Gallup, local station manager, was notified of Jewel's imprisonment.

Jewel, identifying himself as a commercial salesman by the name of Blackshire, purchased a gasoline coupon book at Cherokee March 10, paying for it with a worthless $10 check. His game was to make such a purchase in one city then redeem the book usually at face value, in a nearby city.

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Downtown Washta - Here a classic look at the south side of Main St. looking to the west in downtown Washta. Date of this photograph is unknown.
Papers found on the check artist when arrested showed he had visited 500 towns in nine states while plying his "trade."

R. A. Caswell was reelected president of the Cherokee board of education at the regular reorganization meeting in Wilson building Monday evening. Past year's business was completed and employing of teachers for the coming year discussed. Board members and Superintendent N. D. McCombs were not prepared Tuesday to make announcement of arrangements made.

Wm. Buetler, architect of Buetler and Arnold company of Sioux Cit and Edward F. White, contractor of Eldora, in charge of construction of the building which will replace Garfield building conferred with board members Monday and took preliminary steps toward beginning work.

Location of the structure was staked by the architect to enable White to complete staking for excavation of the boiler room and work shop and for wall trenches.

Considerable grading is to be done. The contractor expects to begin such work within a short time.

50 years ago

The seventh annual Aurelia Variety Show and Band Boosters Carnival will be held at 7:30 tonight at the schoolhouse.

"Off the Record" is the title of this year's show; which will feature the music and comedy of well known recording stars.

The Variety Show, sponsored by the high school music department, will be staged in the auditorium.

Immediately after the show, the Band Boosters Carnival is to take place in the old gym. Among 11 concessions planned are a Fun House, Café Walks and refreshments stands.

Music instructors in charge of the show are Tom Anderson and Don Jackson, Raymond Kruse is president of the Band Boosters organization.

Proceeds from the annual event will be used for Band Boosters projects and the school music department.

New members who have joined the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce to date this year total 24 firms and individuals.

Additional membership applications on file will be classified at the next meeting of the C of C Board of Directors.

The list of members includes: Film Transport, Morton Contracting, Conard's Café, Randall's Super Valu, Northside Implement, Blankenbaker's, Cedar's Service, Jacob Lauer, Simonsen Mill, Tony's Place, Stahl Furniture Exchange, Iowa Finance Company.

Also Wood Saw Mill, Northside Motel, Cherokee Memory Gardens, Modern Heating & Cooling, A & J TV Service, Lee Products Company, Modern Beauty Salon, Sioux Valley Sealed Storage, Cherokee Lindsay Company, Quinn's Service Station, Dr. Charles Ellsworth, Green Gable Inn.

25 years ago

Classic Value, Corp. finished selling its trade promotional coupon books in Cherokee weeks ago, but the city has received some complaints about "hard sell" solicitations for that product.

The Council Bluffs-based company contacted people as many as three times to sell a book of coupons redeemable at a number of Cherokee businesses, renting office space in the Brummer building. A free watch offer was included in the second and sometimes third contact.

Mary Watts, executive director of the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, estimated the chamber received 20-30 calls about the company.

A lot of the complaints were about the way the company approached people, she said, confirming that it was perceived to be a very hard sell. "The chamber does not sponsor this," she said.

The police department received about four calls and City Hall also received calls--about 10 by March 9, shortly after Classic Value left Cherokee--complaining about the company.

City Administrator Gil Bremicker said, "The basic complaint, I guess we have had, is about the tactics used by them on the phone," which he termed "high-powered." Because Classic Value didn't operate door-to-door and thereby did not have to be licensed by the city, or pay a fee and post bond, the city had no control over its actions here, Bremicker said.

Secretary Pam Pierce said some callers complained that they were disappointed in the coupon book and one woman said the free watch she got didn't work.

"We just told them they should deal directly with these people. We told them where their office was at," Pierce said.

By March 9, Classic Value had vacated its rented office space in the Brummer building, but its permanent address is Post Office Box 736, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 51502.

Also, persons who actually bought the coupons and feel the value isn't what Classic Value represented it to be may write the Better Business Bureau, a division of the Iowa Attorney General, Hoover Building, Des Moines, Iowa.

Marilyn Rand, a secretary at the Better Business Bureau, said they had nothing on file about Classic Value, Corp. in Council Bluffs. However, disgruntled consumers may still write to the bureau and it will contact the company.

Lester Peterson, a manager at Classic Value, addressed those complaints when the company was reached for comment Monday. The sales representative who contacted merchants in Cherokee no longer works at Classic Value, he said.

Peterson said telephone solicitors are directed to contact people two to three times. "A lot will change their minds and say, 'Well maybe I could go along with that,'" he said. "This is one of those impulse-buying things. That's why we deliver them to their door. That's why we come back at them.

"If they say, 'We are not interested,' we always ask why, just to see what people really are telling us," Peterson said.

A lot of people are "appreciative" of being contacted a second or third time because they've decided to buy a coupon book but didn't know how to contact the company, he said.

Peterson also said that Classic Value wouldn't give away watched that didn't work, they were delivered with the books and that a guarantee accompanied each book giving an address to write to if the watches didn't work.

Also, the value of the coupons is determined by the merchants, who are asked for a price on the item and sign a contract, he said.

However, some coupons are only good for certain days of the week or months of the year, and that is determined by Classic Value unless the merchant specifically requests a change of the business is a seasonal one, such as skiing or miniature golf, he said.

Bob Jacobson, manager of Firestone Stores in Cherokee said, "I think whenever, whatever we advertise, we try to advertise the value or else it's not an honest deal."

He said that no money is involved in his firm's contract with the coupon book company. "What it is supposed to do for us is give us traffic. We are doing this for the customer for nothing. Hopefully, they will like our place of business and come back and do some more.

"Everybody thinks because it's free, there's a catch to it, but there's no catch at all," he said. "It's not a flimflam as far as what we are trying to do."

As for an overly persistent selling technique, Jacobson said, "All you have to do is hang up the phone. I don't see how you can be persistent on the phone."

Washburn Steele, co-owner of the Honeybee Nutrition Center and a participating merchant in the coupon book, said, "If the people who were doing it made a nuisance of themselves, why, I am sure they don't get very far and would be eliminated very soon."

Wilson Television gave The Daily Times a copy of the contract with Classic Value, in which Classic Value state no more than 1,000 coupon books would be sold and distributed. The ceiling is a safeguard for the merchant, who may otherwise be in a position of being obligated for unlimited free service or merchandise.

Wilson owner Ray Wilson said he assumed Classic Value was the same organization that sold coupon books in Cherokee last year. "We had really good cooperation from them last year," he said. "We should have looked into it a little closer, I guess."

With regards to a possible hard sell, Wilson said, "If it's going to be that type of deal, we will withdraw from them."



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