To the Editor of The Homestead.
Fifty years ago there was some excuse for bad roads, for the country was new and poor. Now there is no excuse, for the people are well to do and are able to provide the roads. A good road is always to be desired. It is a real source of comfort to travel over the level highway, while it is a source of aggravation to go bumping along over rough and rutty roads.
A larger load can be drawn by one horse over a good road than by a team of horses over a bad one. This of course will save horse flesh for the farmer. A first-class road then will save in the conservation of the strength of the work horse.
Good roads improve the value of farm lands along their route. I have visited good farms, but the roads that led to them were so bad that they really made the land undesirable. It is claimed by many farmers that land lying five miles from market and connected by a bad road is of much less value than a farm of similar soil but connected to the town by a level road.
Good roads attract population while bad roads drive the prospective settler from the neighborhood. Last summer I went to see a place my brother-in-law was thinking of purchasing. It was quite a distance from town and over the roughest road I ever traveled. Of course, I discouraged my brother-in-law in his idea of buying the farm, and he turned away from the man who had it to sell. Bad roads upset the deal. Not long ago I purchased a farm near a growing town, and the one thing I especially took notice of was the splendid thoroughfare leading out to it. The neighborhood is well settled, and there are some farmers out there who own automobiles. Good roads have been incentive to buyers who have come to look for homes.
Then good roads encourage the exchange of products between sections or communities. One community is often shut off from another simply because the highway between them was almost impassable. I remember two communities that joined. Only a small stream of water between them, but they might as well have been as far apart as Dan and Beersheba, for they had no dealing with each other. In the first place, there was not bridge spanning the steam and the ford was almost impassable. The road was a narrow lane, and half the time it was full of ditches making it practically impossible to draw a load from one community to the other.
Now, some things are essential to good roads. The first and most important is a deep seated desire of the farmers along the way to have a good road. This will cause them to give work for the improvement of the highway. I have known farmers who kept drags and harrows handy so that they might run them over the road and level it down when it became rough. I have seen farmers out with their teams dragging and harrowing the roads after they had been cut up by a lot of heaving hauling when they were soft. Then there must be a system inaugurated by law or common consent of the community for keeping the road in good condition. An overseer is necessary, and he must have the hearty cooperation of all farmers in his jurisdiction. Then furnished with proper tools and a "goods roads" spirit and the cooperation of the cooperation of the farmers he can transform the poor roads into level highways a blessing to the farmers, their teams, and the community in general.
Suffering a sudden heart attack while shopping in Cherokee Friday afternoon, Mrs. W. A. Cowan of Washta died while being taken to the Sioux Valley Hospital. Cause of her death was described as "acute heart condition."
Mrs. Cowan had accompanied her sister, Mrs. Ruby Fogelman, her son, Donald, and a cousin, Lowell Fogleman, to Cherokee early Friday afternoon. She stopped into Hawley Allison's clothing store at 2:30 p.m., saying that she felt ill and asked for a place to sit down. Employees called her son, Boyd, who works in the local post office, and a doctor, who rushed her to the hospital, but she died in his car.
She had not been well for several years, relatives said, and had previously suffered less severe heart attacks. Surviving her are her husband and five children, Mrs. Irma Kissinger of Washta, Boyd of Cherokee, Harold, Donald and Doris, all at home.
Mrs. Cowan was 51 years old, and lived on a farm southeast of Washta.
After pleading guilty to county attorney's information of selling alcoholic liquor in violation of the Iowa liquor control act, Lester Sargent, 34, of Quimby, was fined $1,000 and given three months in Cherokee county jail by Judge R. G. Rodman last Thursday night. The fine was suspended during good behavior.
Sargent was arrested Wednesday by a state liquor agent and Sheriff A. N. Tilton. He was charged with selling one-half pint of alcoholic liquor at a farm sale at the Patrick farm.
Late Thursday afternoon he chose to plead guilty to County Attorney Archie Nelson and Thursday night he was brought before Judge Rodman, district judge, in the court house.
Violators of section three of the liquor control act are faced with a sentence of from three months to one year in county jail and a fine of $1,000 or both.
Judge Rodman imposed the fine, which he immediately suspended during good behavior, but the minimum sentence of three months in county jail was invoked.
Sargent was arrested Wednesday at Quimby.
The first step toward the possible construction of a new courthouse for Cherokee County was taken Thursday by the Board of Supervisors, meeting in regular session.
The motion also specified that Cherokee County Attorney James McDonald "be directed to advise said firm of the appointment."
On Primary Ballot
This motion calls for the Des Moines firm to set up a resolution which the board will follow to put the proposal for a new courthouse on the ballot for approval of voters in the June primary election.
The supervisors approved employment of Miss Sandra Wilson of Cherokee on a probational basis as stenographer in the Cherokee County Social Welfare Department.
Bids on lubricating oil for county use were opened and the contract was awarded as follows to Cities Service Company of Des Moines; 1,540 gallons of C-100 series oil at 55 cents per gallon, and 550 gallons C-500 series oil at 73 cents per gallon.
Other bidders were D-X Sunray, Brown Oil, Standard Oil, Phillips 66 and Bud's Station, Cleghorn.
In other action, supervisors reviewed the insurance policy covering securities and monies and accepted the bid of the Aurelia Sentinel of $239 to print 300 copies of the 1959 Cherokee County financial report.
Two animal claims allowed were $8 to Robert E. Alff, Cherokee, for one sheep and $30 to Leland Anderson, Cherokee, for one ewe and three lambs.
A facility study committee has suggested Calumet Elementary School remain closed.
The committee presented its recommendations to the Sutherland School Board Monday. According to an established schedule of events, the School Board is to make its final decision on the matter May 20.
The 14-member committee, including residents and district employees, was formed to study the Sutherland School District's buildings after the Iowa Board of Public Instruction ruled state guidelines were not followed when the School Board closed Calumet Middle School. The ruling followed a protest of the closing by a group of district residents.
Harrison Fisch, chairman of the Facility Study Committee, said the group came up with five alternatives for the district. The members then ranked the alternatives from 1 to 5, with one being the most preferred.
"Every one is workable. They could be done," Fisch said.
The alternative which received the most support was leaving Calumet Elementary School closed, but continuing use of the gym.
Fisch said the committee estimated this alternative would save $32,000 in staff reductions, $2,628 in transportation and $9,000 in energy costs.
Fisch said about $1,000 would have to be spent to repair the Calumet gym floor.
The alternative in second place called for closing the Calumet building and discontinuing the use of the gym. Fisch said this alternative would save the district about $49,000 in staff reductions, transportation and utility costs.
In third place was the alternative of having all three buildings open: The Calumet building and the elementary and high school buildings in Sutherland.
This alternative would cost the district about $10,400 because the Calumet building needs improvements to meet the state fire code.
The last two alternative concern large remodeling costs and received the least support from the committee.
One alternative calls for a $250,000 bond issue for the construction of an addition onto the high school. The addition would house kindergarten through grade four. The Calumet building would then house grades five through eight, and the elementary building would be closed.
Paul Mugge, a committee member from Calumet, submitted a minority opinion to the Board in support of the last alternative. Mugge said that the report was his opinion only, but felt that it represented the ideas of the three committee members from Calumet.
Mugge suggested changing Calumet's shop classroom to kindergarten classrooms, dividing the lunch and kitchen areas, removing a wall in the office, and changing third floor cloakrooms into restrooms.
Mugge said these changes would make the Calumet building comparable to the elementary building in classroom area.
Fisch said that though the last alternative is workable, there was a general feeling that the elementary building was roomier and better arranged than the Calumet building.
"It's too bad it isn't over in Calumet. That's quite regrettable as far as I'm concerned," he said.