HILLSBORO PRESS GAZETTE Vol.1-No. 131 16 Pages Hillsboro, Ohio 15 Cents Thursday, April 4 ( 1974 Tornadoes Slash Across Nation Ohio's Toll To Top 30 By DEAN SCHOTT Associated Press Writer XENIA, Ohio (AP) -- Spring tornadoes tornadoes mowed a murderous swath across southwestern Ohio Wednesday night, killing at least 35 persons, injuring injuring about 500 and destroying millions of dollars in property. The toll appeared likely to mount. The Ohio Highway Patrol said it had unconfirmed reports of 40 to 50 persons missing in this Greene County city of 25,000 and reported five more deaths than rescue workers listed. At mid-morning workers picking through the debris of Xenia said 30 had died in the twister that demolished an estimated half of the city. Another funnel storm killed five persons in Cincinnati and hurt more than 200. One. perhaps two, persons were killed when the t w i s t i n g f u n n e l smashed Central State University one mile northeast of Xenia. Five persons were killed at Cincinnati Cincinnati and more than 200 injured. An estimated 75 per cent of the Central State campus was destroyed or severely damaged. President Charles Newsom closed the school. Police Chief Ray Jordan estimated 50 per cent of Xenia demolished. Damage at Cincinnati is estimated at up to $20 million. Gov. John Gilligan sent more than 2,500 N a t i o n a l Guard troops into devastated areas and asked the federal government to declare that part of southwestern Ohio a disaster area. At Xenia, a spokesman at Greene Memorial "Hospital said the injured were arriving "in a n y t h i n g and everything--cars, ambulances and trucks. They brought bodies in on table (ops. doors and boards. The emergency - room-was packed." - * A National Guard paramedic who flew over the devastated area. Spec 5 Bob Chapman of Columbus, said it ~ "looked a half-mile wide and three to five miles long. There was nothing." Cincinnati Mayor Theodore M. Berry said the damage to sections of his city hit by the twisters was "awesome It was a miracle that so many trees missed houses, buildings and people." Officials at Xenia said more than 1.000 persons were homeless. Most were being housed in a grocery warehouse and a YMCA. "I've been through World War II. and this is worse than any of the bombings in Germany." one witness to the Xenia disaster said. N a t i o n a l Guard troops were providing medical assistance, setting up c o m m u n i c a t i o n s , providing protection against looting and helping with the cleanup. The destruction came barely a week before the ninth anniversary of the Palm Sunday tornadoes of April 11. 1965, which killed 250 persons and resulted in the most property damage ever reported from such storms in Ohio. Wednesday's tornadoes, accompanied accompanied by driving rain and battering battering winds, ripped first through Cincinnati's Sayler Park and Price Hill suburbs, then skipped to the north of the city to Blue Ash. Sharonville and Elm wood. (Please Turn To Page 2) Spaced . . . Capsules HILLSBORO HIGH seniors will present "Stardust," a comedy spoof. Friday and Saturday. April 5-6. at the high school auditorium. Curtain time both nights is 8 p.m. The comedy concerns the students of a dramatic academy v.ho are awaiting a famous artist who will guest star in one of their plays. The students are trying to "live" their art but eventually learn from the actress that there is no substitute for hard work and good sense. Tickets. 75 cents for students and SI .25 for adults, may be obtained from cast members or at the door Â·^-^^^^--^^Â·^ -^B^" TM -^~ r -^-- -- --~ Eye On Sky Partly cloudy to mostly sunny and warm this afternoon, highs in the low 70s to the low 80s. Cloudy and cooler tonight with a chance of showers, lows in the 30s and 40s. Cloudy and much cooler Friday with a chance of flurries near Lake Erie, highs in the low 40s to around 50. Ohio will have fair weather Saturday , and Sunday with a chance of showers in Ohio about Monday. It will be cool Saturday with highs in the upper 30s and 40s, warming to the upper 50s and 60s Sunday and Monday. Lows Saturday in the upper 20s and low 30s will improve to the 40s by Monday morning. "IT'S HORRIBLE" -- That's how a Hillsboro resident said, "The tornado flattened the school, rolled school buses described this scene at Xenia. This is the desolated city's right up against it." See a view of Xenia's ravaged down- high school building where at least nine Highland County town on Page 2. (Photo, courtesy of Washington C.H. law enforcement officers helped patrol rubbled streets in Record Herald) the wake of last night's tornado. Deputy Charles Walker Adams County Woman Dies As Farm House Is Leveled A tornado wheeled across Adams County yesterday evening, narrowly missed West Union and killed a 55- year-old woman when it destroyed her home. The Ohio State Patrol identified the victim as Helen Wilson of West Union Rt. 1. Her husband, Clyde, also was injured but no details on his injuries were available. "There isn't anything left of anything out there," an Adams County deputy said. "House, barn, trees, everything's gone." State patrolmen said two other houses were damaged, along with two mobile homes. Both state patrolmen and sheriff's deputies said they had no other reports of injuries or fatalities. The Wilson home was located north of W. Union on Murfin Road, in. the Seaman-West Union-Peebles triangle. It rested "on a big hillside, pretty high," a deputy said. State patrolmen notified sheriff's deputies of the incident at 8:49 p.m. Neither the sheriff's department nor the state patrol could provide details on the death. But an unofficial source who was at the scene and helped remove Mrs. . \Vilson from the wreckage gave the :i Press--Gazette the following description: The Wilsons were in their home when one of their neighbors sighted the tornado. The twister already had been sighted to the south as it cut near West Union. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson were fleeing to their basement when "for some reason or other she turned back." She may have wished to turn off an electric switch. A large beam struck her in the head, inflicting massive injuries which are believed to' have been the cause of death. Her husband apparently suffered shock and was taken to Adams County Hospital at West Union. He reportedly is staying with a friend this morning. Local Men Relate Ohio Units Tragic Xenia Tale Called To At least eleven Hillsboro men aided rescue efforts at Xenia last night, and they decribed it: "It's a wonder anyone's alive. It's horrible." Police radio calls" from the stricken city brought aid from the Hillsboro Police Department, Highland County Sheriffs Department, Hope Miller Funeral Home and Turner and Son Funeral Home. Deputy Charles Walker said he and eight other officers patroled ravaged streets until about 2 a.m. this morning, protecting against looting. At the same time, two local funeral directors stood by at Greene Memorial Hospital and at the disaster post in Xenia. "It sure is a mess," Walker told the Press Gazette this morning. "It was devastated. There'd be blocks where there might be houses, then a block with a few houses left, and then the next one completely flattened. "There were cars rolled up. poles pulled out. trees uprooted -- everything imaginable." "Those houses out there in Arrowhead, they're just leveled like pancakes." Miller said. The funeral director said he traveled into Xenia along U.S. Rt. 68, through the center of the city, and there were "Some houses w i t h roofs on. some houses half down, some completely down." Miller and Bob McLaughlin left Hillsboro at about 7:30 p.m and arrived in the outskirts of the disaster area at about the same time as some Ohio National Guard units. Visibility at the center of Xenia was restricted. Miller said. "They had dump trucks. DPL electric companv trucks, gas com pa m trucks, just everything in there. We only had a space about the width of a car to go through." Rescue teams were loading debris onto the dump trucks, and Miller sa\v "houses, autos. everything piled up against the railroad levee." Red Cross Aid Being Accepted The American Red Cross has established its National Disaster Plan and contributions will be forwarded through the Highland County Chapter ARC. Donations may lie sent to the Highland County Chapter, ARC, P.O. Box 518, Hillsboro. By federal law. the Red Cross is the designated agency to handle claims and fill needs. "There were autos laying up against the courthouse," he said. There were four killed m a root beer stand alone. The Kroger store was leveled, and there were a lot of people in that." He said a furniture factory flattened by the twister may still contain trapped victims. Miller said much of the rescue work is delayed by the vast amounts of Â· debris. As an example, he said, a funeral home in Xenia was leveled by the tornado while visiting hours were under way. "They (rescuers) had to go a couple of blocks through the debris just to get 'o it," he explained. M i l l e r and M c L a u g h l i n were assigned to the Greene Memorial Hospital on standby. ("The tornado went w i t h i n about two blocks of it." Miller said.) They weren't required to make any runs and started home at 10:30 p m. Mrs. William Turner said her son. Bill. Jr.. traveled to Xenia with Rick Williams in their ambulance Both Turner and Williams, were catching up on sleep this morning, and Mrs. Turner knew only that they worked out of the disaster command post. Deputy Walker said he was accompanied accompanied to Xenia by Deputies Hugh Rogers. Clifford Jones. Roger Carroll. Carl Ayres and Beryl Cooper. Special Deputies Tom Wilkin and Donald Mustard. Hillsboro City Patrolman Tom Griffith and Hillsboro Special Policeman Fred Turner "We got up there about dark." Walker said "We worked out around the high school building, helping keep down looters " The patrols against looters (who appeared t o b e m i n i m a l ) w e r e uneventful, but the officers noticed. "The tornado flattened the school, rolled school buses right up in it." Walker said. "We could sec ambulances running in and out of the area." he explained. "There were 33 dead w;hen we left up there (they arrived in Hillsboro at about 2 a.m )." Although the local officers found no looters, they found evidence of looting. "We went into two or three houses where there were gun cases opened and two or three guns missing." he said. Walker explained other contents still inside the cases showed the wind could not have been responsible. At about 9 a.m. this morning, Deputies Ayres and Cooper remained in Xenia. Hillsboro Ptl. Griffith also is in the stricken city but he now wears the uniform of his National Guard unit. Xenia Area COLUMBUS. Ohio ( A P ) - The Ohio N a t i o n a l G u a r d a c t i v a t e d 1.550 military personnel Wednesday night to assist Xenia residents after their city was devastated by a tornado. Another 1,025 guardsmen were to be called to duty at daybreak today. Thirty helicopters were to be readied by 8 a m . to begin evacuation of homeless persons from Xenia. A National Guard spokesman listed these units and numbers of personnel activated Wednesday: The 178th Tactical Fighter Group. Air National Guard. Springfield, 500 men for security, medical assistance and electric power. The 251st Mobile Communications Group. Springfield. 250 men to provide communications From the 166th Infantry at Columbus and Washington Court House. 100 men for patrol duty. From the 73rd Brigade at Wor- thmgton. a truck unit to haul the infantrymen. infantrymen. Units called for duty Thursday: Troop "D". 2nd Squadron. * 138th Cavalry, a helicopter unit at Worthington: Worthington: The 322 Engineer Battalion at Kettering. Kettering. Middletown. Greenville and Lebanon, to remove debris; The 192nd Engineer Dump Truck Co., Batavia. to remove debris. The 134th Engineer group, Cincinnati, Cincinnati, for debris removal * * * Local Guard Called Out Headquarters unit of Company C, First Battalion. 147th Infantry, located in Hillsboro. was called to duty Wednesday Wednesday night in the wake of the tornadoes tornadoes that struck southwestern Ohio. The unit received a call about 10 p.m Wednesday from battalion headquarters in Cincinnati to muster men. The group assembled between then and midnight and was dispatched to Blanchester where another unit of the company is stationed. From Blanchester control center, units were sent to Lebanon and Mason, chiefly to help with patrolling and general guard duty. Some of the men belonging to the Blanchester unit were unable to be contacted because of tornado damage. About 71 officers and men from Hillsboro and about 40 from Blanchester Blanchester reported for duty. They expect to remain on duty at least until the weekend. More Than 320 Die In Leaping Storm By JAN'ET BATTAILE Associated Press Writer Tornadoes struck an area stretching from Georgia to Canada late Wednesday Wednesday and early today killing more than 320 persons, the worst tornado death toll in half a century. Thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in damage resulted from the twisters that hit scores of cities and towns, leaving many in shambles. Half the town of Xenia, in southwestern southwestern Ohio, was devastated. Thirty persons were said killed and more than 1.500 homeless in the community of some 25.000. Rows of bodies were arranged in the rubble-strewn streets. More victims were thought trapped in overturned cars, but heavy equipment was unable to get through the streets to lift the vehicles. Claim Road Unsafe The Highland County Planning Commission claims Rapid Forge Road remains unsafe despite state improvement improvement at Paint Creek Reservoir. Commission members at this week's meeting started a campaign to make the public aware of the road's poor condition. The planners also criticized the lack of county zoning, which they claim "has attracted undesirable division of land," and the lack of building codes which "is slowly turning beautiful townships into badly developed areas." Director Mrs. Fran Cole raised the issue of Rapid Forge Road. . - "She said there is a -"vital need for some assistnce in improving" the road. Only a small portion leading to the new Paint Creek Camping Area was improved d u r i n g reservoir construction, construction, she claimed. "The access to this area from Highland County remains an unsafe, impassable road," she said. "The state should be required to improve this, and the people in Highland County should be made aware of this situation." Planners took their first move on the project by asking County Commissioner Commissioner John Smart (also a member of the planning u n i t ) to present a proposal for action to his fellow county commissioners. Planners stressed the road must be used by the Greenfield Fire Department Department and by Greenfield Exempted Village School District buses. Commission members warned lack of zoning and building codes will cause badly developed areas to "mushroom and become a permanent part of our county." "The hope of the commission is that some of the townships that are concerned concerned about this lack of control will contact the commission office," Mrs. Cole explained. The planning commission went on record disapproving the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees' cutting of Tri-County A c a d e m i c Center affiliation. affiliation. "We feel the citizens should have been advised and given an opportunity to participate in the decision-making before any action was taken." members members said. Mrs. Cole will try to have speakers at every other planning meeting, and she will get the film, "The Greatest Little City." for showing to interested citizens. Planners hope the county chambers of commerce, commissioners, m u n i c i p a l o f f i c i a l s a n d township trustees will take an active interest in the film. Mrs. Cole said the movie indicates "the need for proper planning for our county." Greenfield's emergency squad can boast all its original 60 training program members sUll active. Final testing will be May 22. Mrs. Cole explained trainees must aid in the C h i l l i c o t h e Hospital emergency room under actual conditions conditions and will be tested in a simulated emergency using several wrecked vehicles and bogus "victims." Commission members gave a special pat on the back to Greenfield's Don Anderson and Dane Clyburn (both funeral directors) for their payment of instructors' fees for the t r a i n i n g course. In other action, the planning commission: commission: -- Discussed the need to work closely with the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce Commerce for industrial development and other c o m m u n i t y improvements. Planners hope to get guest speakers from the chamber. -- Discussed revision of subdivision regulations, proposed budget for the next year's operation and proposed railway abandonment. Whole neighborhoods were destroyed, buildings leveled, railroad cars and trucks upended by the vicious winds that struck the Midwest and South. Kentucky appeared to be the worst hit. with 77 known dead and hundreds of injured. Alabama reported 69 dead. Indiana 63. Tennessee 54. Ohio 35. Georgia 15. Ontario. Canada, 8, North Carolina 4, Michigan 3, Illinois 2, and West Virginia 1. Early today, two tornadoes hit the town of Meadow Bridge, W. Va., about 50 miles southeast of Charleston, killing one person and injuring several others. The rampage cost more lives than any series of tornadoes since March 1925, when a twister cut through three Midwestern states, killing 689. The 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes in the Midwest killed 271. Weather forecasters in Kansas City compared Wednesday's tornado outbreak outbreak to a "fast-moving shotgun blast." "There were twice as many people killed (as the result of tornadoes) in eight hours yesterday as were killed the three previous years," said Allen Pearson of the National Severe Storms Forecast Center. In Chicago, forecasters said there was a chance of more tornadoes through Friday. The greatest threat today was either side of a line running from 45 miles southwest of Meridian. Miss., to 35 miles northwest of Columbus, Ga. Possibility of tornadoes existed all down the East Coast from New York Atlanta and then across to Mississippi Areas west of that line were out of danger, forecasters said. The "frontal system will move out sea by Friday and the threat will be over," a forecaster said. Telephone c o m m u n i c a knocked out in most areas and National Guard units were called up to help evacuation* efforts and to prevent looting. As the tornadoes steamrollered their way across c o u n t r y , a moderate earthquake hit the Midwest, centering in Springfield, 111.. There were no reports of injuries or property damage, however. Heavy rains and hail also struck the storm areas. "We had about 30 seconds warning before it hit," said Gary Heflin, a grocery store manager in Xenia. "All you could hear was the wind, the crashes and people praying." "I've teen through the Korean conflict but I have never been scared like that." said C.B. Gnssom of Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was hard hit. with a higher death toll than any other state Gov. Wendell H Ford declared the state a disaster area and called it "probably the most tragic day in the history of Kentucky." Ford ordered National Guardsmen into the stricken areas. Curfews were clamped on F r a n k f o r t , the capitol. on Louisville and on Brandenburg, Brandenburg, a town of 1.600. Brandenburg was left in rubble and 23 persons were known dead. Soldiers from nearby Ft. Knox used giant searchlights to probe the debris in the search for more bodies In Ohio. Gov John J Gilligan ordered ordered the National Guard into Xenia and asked federal officials to declare the t o w n of 25.000 a disaster area. "About 50 per cent of Xenia is gone," Police Chief Ra Jordan said. There were 24 reported deaths and at least l.OOO were reported homeless. Southward in Cincinnati there were five deaths. Emergency hospitals were set up both there and in Xenia. At least 225 others were reported injured in the t w o communities. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings ahead of the storms, but m a n y communities were caught unauare never!heless (Please Turn To Page 2) What's Inside? "Senior Citizens Hold Fete For Birthdays, Plan Events" -- Page :. 4-H News - Page 7. "Couple Provides Home For Wolves" -- Page 15. " A n n u a l R u r a l - Tasters' Party Great Success" Success" -- Page 6. "Feltner Awarded Ag Post" -- Page 8 Will the Tri-County tent be folded up and gently stolen a w a y ? -- our editorial discusses that question -Page -Page 4. "Proclaim Guard Employer Week" -- Page-3. Hillsboro Highlights -- Page JO. 11.