Independent from Long Beach, California on January 20, 1975 · Page 13
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 13

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Long Beach, California
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Monday, January 20, 1975
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Page 13
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MALCOLM EPLEY FORT BIDWELL--Disc o m f o r t and inconvenience may accompany hard winter conditions in the high country, but there are compensations. We had the'former for a · while--heavy snows, high winds and near-zero temperatures. There were blizzardy days when the winds picked up the light snow in shining swirls. Drifts filled some highway sections, and back roads were closed. Some pipes froze. Travel restraint was in order. We haven't "been to town" for quite a while. H i g h w a y conditions changed so rapidly one could never be confident about "travel advisories." For those who had to work outside, it wasn't easy. Nobody envied the men who feed the cattle, bucking heavy bales of hay onto wagons and dumping them off as the vehicles circled in snowy fields. It was a rough time, in varying degrees, for most of us who inhabit the quiet northeast corner of the state. But of course it wasn't intolerable, or nobody would be here. Stormy periods were followed by days of glittering sunshine --still frigid, but great to be outside. Even bad days brought, the compensatory pleasure of warm houses, blazing hearths and steaming food. A CERTAIN c a m a r a - derie develops among people w h o f a c e tough conditions together. Social l i f e in our cattle community, while it may be pretty p r i m i t i v e compared with what goes on down .yonder, is especially pleasant in winter. Activities range f r o m the Saturday night community card parties in the warm and attractive Civic Clubhouse to the "bull sessions" around the table at the back of the general store and bouts of afternoon bridge in r a n c h hoUse living rooms. Don't sneer, you "who live in the land of bright lights and traffic jams. It's a good life. THE OTHER day I drove through the white- blanketed countryside to give my dogs a bit of exercise. We went out on the road to C o w h e a d Lake, a grassy savanna just north of Surprise Valley across a low pass. As 1 drove along, with the dogs running nearby, I observed that the pure white surface of the snow provided a record of wild- l i f e activity one would never suspect under summer conditions. Especially noted were hundreds of small depressions made by animals I guessed to be rabbits. This was surprising, because there have not been many rabbits in this area in the last few years. Or at least we didn't think there were. But the marks in the snow proved there are a lot of them around. THERE WERE occasional larger footprints made by coyotes. They closely m a t c h e d t h e marks left by my dogs, who ran delightedly along the roadsides sniffing at the evidences left by their wild relatives. Later I learned t h a t t h a t p a r t i c u l a r a r e a , ' a l o n g the northside of Cowhead Road, is known to h a v e a considerable r a b b i t population. Rabbits, like other rodents, have a rising and falling population curve. Appar- e n t l y , they're c o m i n g back in this area after several years of decline. Another dividend from my trip was the view from the higher elevation looking across Surprise Valley to the south. Beyond the closer snowfields was the ice-covered expanse of Upper Lake, and beyond that the rugged white outline of the Warner Mountains dominated by Eagle 1'eak. Wisps of w h i t e clouds f l o a t e d around the distant heights against a vivid blue sky, making'a picture worth a painter's talent. He sits by the phone OSCAR STEFFEN 71 AND SOLITUDE OF LIVING ALONE, LEFT, HAS SNACK, CENTER, BOWS HEAD AT SUNSET CLUB AND, RIGHT, LONELY RETURN . · -Staff Photos by BOB SHUMWAY There's 'no one left now' for Oscar Steffen By DENISE KUSEL Staff Writer A lone coleus p l a n t hangs limply by the window that looks out over a parking lot. Oscar Steffen sits alone in his sparsely furnished a p a r t m e n t . It h a s n ' t always been like this--he hasn't always been alone. B u t , as Steffen says, "I've outlived all my friends. There's no one left now. "After all, I'm 71 years old now, and if I go now, I'm thankful for all the years. : . · "I n e v e r married," Steffen says as he sits in a blanket-covered chair in a room that serves as both a living room and bedroom. "That was a mistake. I should've married. A man needs a friend and companion. That would be the greatest gift .1 could have now--someone to be with." The years have taken their toll on Steffen. He recently underwent a delicate open heart operation. "My niece came to see me when I was in the hospital," Steffen s a y s . "Flew all the way out from Indiana just to see me. "I wanted somebody to say goodbye to, and she came. I was in the hospital for 34 days. I never expected to come out, but I did. And I'm thankful." Steffen moved to the Southland more than 60 years ago from a farm in Indiana. "I moved here to be with my uncle; he was just like a father to me. He moved to California, and I missed him. My mother told me, 'Well, you can always come back to the farm if you don't like it out there, Oscar.' I never went back --except to visit." Steffen's eyes fix on two photographs sitting on a dresser next to his bed. They are pasted to their metal f r a m e s by Band a i d s . The oval-shaped pictures of his mother are his prized possessions. He walks to the dresser 'and picks them up, gently. "No, I never went back," he says softly. "But d o n ' t get me wrong....I've had a good life. 1 get. up about 10 in the morning, shave, dress and usually walk down to the Senior Opportunities Services building on First Street. "The folks down there are just like a family to me. They take an interest in me. Then about 11:30,1 walk over to the Sunset Club (run by the Volunteers of America) and have my lunch. I always thank God for the food I eat, and I'm grateful for the kind people there. "Sometimes, when I'm not feeling well enough to go out for lunch, my landlady goes over and picks it up and brings it home to me. I pull out the bread board in my kitchen and pull up a chair and eat- but it's lonely." The Sunset Club, 700 E. Broadway, provides about 200 meals a day for senior citizens. For most of the people who go there, it's their only hot meal of the day. And for many, it's the only time of day when they are not alone. The cost is 50 cents, but no one is turned away for lack of money, says the project director, Archie Johnston. For Oscar Steffen, who was born the same day of the year as George Washington, time m o v e s slowly. The days fade into long shadows, and the shadows are lonely. And Oscar Steffen sits by a phone that rarely rings. And he waits. INDEPENDENT MONDAY, JANUARY 20,1975 ·* SECTION B-PAGE B-l On latest techniques Cancer study scheduled 5 more public meetings on housing act slated By DON BRACKENBURY Staff Writer The need to upgrade existing housing has been the strongest point stressed by persons attending public meetings held by the City of Long Beach to explain the federal Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. Long Beach is to receive about $2ti million over the next six years under provisions of the act and the meetings are being held to explain its provisions and get suggestions on possible uses of (he funds. About 250 persons have attended the five hearings to date, according to Ray Brosterhous, director of the city's department of community development. Five more meetings are to be held this week as follows: --Today at 7 p.m.. Franklin Junior High auditorium, 540 Cerritos Ave. --Tuesday at 7 p.m., Millikan High School, rooms 922-24, 2800 Snowden Ave. --Wednesday at 7 p.m., California Recreation Center, 1550 California Ave. --Thursday at 7 p.m., Hughes Junior High auditorium, 3846 California Ave. --Friday at 7 p.m., Starr King Elementary School, 145 E. Artesia Blvd. In addition, Brosterhous said, there will be a meeting for senior citizens Thursday, Feb. IS, at 1:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers in City Hall. The public meetings were arranged by a subcommittee of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Community Improvement, consisting of Rabbi Sidney S. Gulhman. chairman, and m e m b e r s Deborah H i l l . Lael Hughes, H e n r y Taboada and Paul McKenzie Jr. The Feb. 13 meeting is to be cospqnsored by the city's department of senior citizen affairs. Long Beach is scheduled to receive $1.3 million during the first year, and DO per cent of that has been earmarked for continuation of the Poly High Redevelopment Project, which is upgrading an S8- acre area to the north and south of Poly High School. ALL PERSONS attending the public hearings are being asked to fill out a questionnaire, setting priorities on specified neighborhood and citywidc improvement projects, as well as soliciting other suggested programs. In general, the 1974 act provides local funding for programs, with emphasis on aid to low or moderate-income residents, in four general categories: rehabilitation of existing residences through loans or g r a n t s , redevelopment of residential areas through clearance of substandard structures and new construction, development of neighborhood facilities centers, and expansion of park and recreational areas. .A one-day concentrated study of the latest diagnostic techniques for cancer is to be held Jan. 29 in the Center for Health Education, 2801 Atlantic Ave., under the sponsorship of the American Cancer Society. The meeting is open to doctors and nurses. The center is operated jointly by UC Irvine College of Medicine and Memorial Hospital Medical Center of Long Beach. Dr. Leroy Fass, chairman of the professional education committee of the local unit of the cancer society, reminded that t h e implications of the Aquatic park plans readied A plan to develop a 50- a c r e shoreline a q u a t i c park southwest of Pacific Terrace Center is to be presented Tuesday at 9 a.m. to a joint meeting of t h e Long B e a c h C i t y C o u n c i l and Planning Commission by S a s a k i . Walker Associates. The meeting is not a public hearing and no action is to be taken on the proposal by the consultants, according to C i t y Manager John Mansell. early diagnosis of cancer are life-saving. Scheduled speakers and their topics include: Dr. Thomas Edgington of Scripps Clinic and Res e a r c h Foundation, La Jolla, on new blood tests that can sometimes pick up early cancer. Dr. Victor Newcomer, c l i n i c a l p r o f e s s o r of dermatology at UCLA, on skin signs of internal cancer. Dr. John N. Wolfe, clinical associate professor of Wayne State University school of medicine, Detroit, on special radiological procedures to detect breast cancer. Dr. D u a n e E. Townsend, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at USC school of medicine, on advances in the diagnosis of malignancy - i n v o l v i n g f e m a l e organs. Dr. Richard J. Steckcl, director of the UCLA Cancer Center, on the role of X - r a y e x a m i n a t i o n of blood vessels in the detection of cancer. Dr. Robert E. O'Mara, director of nuclear medicine at the University of Arizona Medical Center, on recent developments in the use of nuclear medicine for cancer diagnosis. Dr. George R. Leopold. associate professor radiology at UC San Diego school of medicine, on ultrasound diagnosis of cancer. Dr. Y. Fred Fujikawa, assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCLA, on the use of the flexible bronchoscope in the diagnosis of lung cancer. Dr. Angelo E. Dagradi; chief of gastroenterology at Long Beach Veterans Administration Hospital and a d j u n c t associate professor of medicine at UC I r v i n e , on scope examination of the gastrointestinal tract for the diagnosis of cancer. Laguna Beaches greeter gravely ill in hospital FOREIGN STUDENTS NEED HOMES The International Center at Long Beach State University is looking for local families who will open their doors to new foreign students coming to the university this spring. Lynne Ehren of the Center said that many of the new students would like to spend at least a semester living with American families so they can learn more about the United States and practice their English. "Sharing one's home with a foreign student has proven to be a broadening and rewarding experience for those who have participated in previous years," she said. Many of the students are from the Near East or Far East. They need housing that is close to the LBSU campus or near a bus line. Persons interested in playing host to foreign students--cither part-time or full-time--can contact the International Center on the campus for further information. City converting Pier A oil wells Installation of electrical service in Pier A is being undertaken by Long Beach Oil Development Co. in preparation for converting its producing wells from oil- powered hydraulic pumps to either submersible or rod pumps. The announcement in the city's Department of Oil Properties quarterly report said about 70 to 80 wells arc involved, and that the project will permit the abandonment of the 25-year-old high-pressure oil system. taonard W. Brock, director of oil properties, said the electrical installation will be more economic, as well as safer. The high-pressure oil system, he said, is more susceptible to leaks that could endanger the environment. Both the hydraulic and submersible pumps are "downhole 1 ; pumps, Brock explained. The hydraulic pump is i'lCtivniini ay pinnping u!i or water under pressure to the bottom of the well through a separate tubing. Guiding factor in whether submersible or rod pumps would be installed to replace the hydraulic pumps would be the ability of the specific well to produce, taw-producing wells would be converted to rod pumps as a matter of economics, the repbrt said. EILER LARSEN, L a g u n a Beach's famed greeier, now gravely ill, is shown in 1970 photo. --ftp Winiphoio Eiler Larsen, Laguna Beach's unofficial greeter for three decades, is again in Long Beach Veterans' Administration Hospital and a spokesman Sunday said he is gravely ill. Larsen, 84, appointed himself as the beach city's unofficial greeter in 1942, settling down to a career of greeting pedestrians and auto passengers passing through the city and giving advice and directions to anyone asking. Larsen, distinguished by long hair and a flowing beard even before they became popular with the younger crowd, also was known by his booming "Halloo!" greetings. Laguna, and much of the Southland, went into near-mourning in 1968 when Larsen suffered a mild stroke and svas hospitalized. It was the first of a series of illnesses that put him into hospitals at irregular intervals. Larsen's stroke came a year after the townspeople took up a collection and sent him to his native Denmark for an extended visit, the first time he had been there in 52 years. As a young man, he had gone to sea and roamed the world. He was 77 when Lagunans treated him to the homecoming, and he repaid their kindness by returning to the sidewalks to greet visitors again. Larsen was 81 in 1971, which marked the end of his stint on the streets: He fell ill of a bladder ailment, went back into the Long Beach hospital and found that it took months for recuperation. Since then, he has been able to be out only occasionally. He lives in retirement provided by the hundreds of people who know him, They donated to a fund for his support, and Larsen retired to a life of relative case, still chafing that he couldn't make it downtown to do his greetings. --Bob Gclvct

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