BLYTHEVILLE COURIER NEWS YOL. «f-N<X 88T BLTTHEVILLB, ARKANSAS (72315); SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24,1968 TIN CINTS 14 PAGES Fire from VC Dots Viet Truce SAIGON, South Vietnam (AP) — A U.S. Marine company came under heavy small arms and mortar fire today, almost eight hours after the start of a 48-hour Christmas truce. A military spokesman said the Marines replied with artillery fire. The clash was the most significant reported so far during the truce period. Dateline Dec, 24 LONDON (AP) - Stung by the escape of 15 prisoners in the past two days and a government report criticizing British jail procedures, Home Secretary Roy Jenkins has ordered an immediate shakeup of the prison service. The escapes began hours after Earl Mountbatten completed a government inquiry by reporting that there was not one secure jail in the country. • AUSTIN, Tex. (AP) - President Johnson makes a flying Christmas Eve trip to San Antonio today lo greet an exacuation plane bringing ill and wounded servicemen from Vietnam for treatment. The Texas White House said the Air Force plane carrying 25 to 30 evacuees is due at Kelley Air Force Base in mid-afternoon. Most of them, the announcement said, are Army and Air Force casualties. • NEW DELHI, India (AP) President Sarvepalli Radhak- rishman appealed to two religious leaders Friday night to end their fasts, which have increased sectarian tensions in India. One immediately rejected the appeal. • AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands (AP) — Authorities at an auction of art works by amateurs Friday night removed from public sale a Christmas card with the slogan, "Johnson Murderer." The card with the reference to U. S. policy in Vietnam was made by Dutch chess champion Jan Hein Donner and was sold after the official auction for $75. Anti - American demonstrators shouting the slogan have been jailed in the past few weeks. • TOKYO (AP) - Prime Minister Eisaku Sato conferred with the chiefs of the three major opposition parties today and was faced with renewed demands to say when he planned tojjjgsolve the Diet. Sato had invited the opposition leaders to a meeting to discuss ways of restoring parliamentary proceedings to normalcy. • OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (AP) — A woman died of gunshot wounds Friday night on a neighbor's porch. Detective Bruce Shaw said the frightened neighbor held the door shut as the victim screamed for help. Investigators said Rose Peiffer, 45, a widow of three weeks, was shot by an attacker who may have followed her onto the neighbor's porch and shot her again. • NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - About tO members of a motorcycle club said to be from the Washington, D.C. area were arrested today after a wild melee in which several persons, including at least one policeman, suffered minor injuries. Police described many of the youths involved as sporting long hair and beards and wearing leather jackets decorated with swastikas and iron crosses. • NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) - Five Cuban refugees who escaped their homeland aboard a Greek freighter have arrived In the United States aboard • U. S. Coast Guard cutter. The five, who asked not to be Identified because relatives remain behind, had arked for political asylum here. A spokesman In Saigon military headquarters declined to describe it immediately as a major violation of the cease- fire, but said it seemed to be of considerable importance. There were a number of other incident that marred the first day of truce. The spokesman said that Marines estimated that one company from the 2nd Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment received about 1,000 rounds of small arms fire and 20 mortar rounds during a firing on its position about 17 miles southwest of Da Nang. He said the firing came from an enemy force of unknown size to the southeast of the company. The Marines called for artillery fire and got it with what were described as "good results," the spokesman said. He said another element of the 5th Marines in the same area took the enemy's left flank under fire, but there were no details. Marine casualties were termed light and enemy casualties were unknown. In the same area about three hours earlier, the spokesman said, a Marine security force that was guarding a downed helicopter received two rounds of small arms fire from four snipers. The Marines returned the fire and a search of the urea later found two dead Viet Cong and their weapons. Two other incidents were reported only hours after authorities in Saigon had said the first hours of the truce apparently had passed without violations of the holiday cease-fire. In the early afternoon in Binh Thuan Province about 110 miles northeast of Saigon, to aircraft from the U.S. 1st Cavalry Airmobile, Division on an aerial reconnaissance mission received three hits from the ground. The fire was believed to to have come from two automatic weapons. One U. S. tropper aboard the aircraft was wounded. A door gunner aboard one craft, a helicopter, returned the fire but enemy casualties, if any, were unknown. There was light damage to the helicopter. Later in the afternoon, a unit from the U.S. 4th Infantry division on reconnaissance patrol in Phu Yen Province came under small arms fire from an enemy force of unknown size, a military spokesman said. The enemy fire was returned and a later search found one enemy killed. There were no American casualties. Military headquarters said the various incidents were being studied as to their significance in relation to the Christmas cease-fire, but a spokesman said they were not yet in a poi- tion to say whether they would be termed major violations of the truce. 'Christmas Miracle' TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - A woman's sudden urge for ice cream developed into what Tucson police described as a "Christmas miracle" that may have saved the life of an elderly heart patient. Elizabeth Drake told police she called the information operator Friday night to find the number of an ice cream parlor. She said the operator gave her a number which she dialed. Mrs. Drake said she let the phone ring for some time and was about to hang up when a woman answered. ''The voice was weak and all I could understand was that the womn wanted help," Mrs. Drake said. Leaving her phone off the look, she went to a neighbor's home and called police. The call on Mrs. Drake's line was traced to an apartment where Beatrice B. Friedman, 78, was found unconscious after suffering a stroke. She was in fair condition today in a Tucson hospital. "The strange thing about this case," said police Sgt. Carl Kihman, "Is that the telephone numbers of the Ice cream parlor and the woman's apartment ura in no way similar. They don't even have the same prefixes." State in Grip Of Old Man Winter BRAVE SHOPPERS — Snow and treacherous streets yesterday had surprisingly little effect in regard to slowing Christmas shopping. ' Stores were crowded through most of the day. These hardy shoppers were pictured stepping through the three-inch snowfall on Main. (Courier News Photo) Danger Lurks In White Yule Yesterday morning it snowed. The temperature was a relatively warm 29 degrees. The snow on streets and highways was ground to a slush of about the consistency of ice cream by traffic. During the day, more snow fell and the temperature drop- Fire Destroys J. C. Ellis Home At Barfield A prominent Mississippi County family lost their home and three late-model automobiles by fire early yesterday. The ranch-type home of the J. C. Ellis Jr. family at Barfield began burning about 6 a.m. and efforts of fire-fighters to stanch the blaze were unsuccessful. However, firemen were able to control the fire sufficiently to enable the family to save most of their belongings. No one was injured. Ellis, a landowner, estimated total losses at $60,000, including a Thunderbird and two Buicks. He said much of the property was insured. According to Fire Chief Roy Head, when Ellis first spotted the fire, he called for the chemical extinguisher from the Continental Oil Company planted located across the road from the house. When this proved insufficient, a fire truck from Armorel was called to assist. The city fire department was not notified until 7:15, said Head. The department in turn called out another truck from Blytheville Air Force Base. High winds and hazardous road conditions hampered the 'ire departments in their efforts to bring the blaze under control. Head described the house as a one-story structure with carport and utility room adjoining. The fire started near a small anding close by the carport and utility room. Cause of the Fire is still undetermined. At the time of the fire, the tome was occupied by Ellis and his wife and children. * * * The department was also called to a minor firt at 2129 Simmons at 2:25 yesterday afternoon. However 'resident! of the houte put out the fire, which started from a gai itove, by throwing palls of water on It befor* the trucks arrived. ped (to an overnight low of 10). The slush froze. The result: instant danger. Streets and highways In Mississippi County are about as dangerous a they've ever been and they likely will remain that way. Today' temperatures are due to rise no higher than the mid- 20's. Traffic was creeping today. The 16 - mile drive from here to Manila, for example, this morning was negotiated in just less than at; hour. One group of holiday vacationers reported they were on the roads four and one - half hours, getting from Newpot to Blytheville (a distance of about 90 miles). Those planning holiday tavel swamped Biytheville's police department with calls for highway information. "We handled 412 Inquiries on highways during a 16 - hour period," Police Chief George Ford said this morning. Generally, highways are dangerous and travel is very slow within at least 100 miles of Blytheville. "We have reports that this condition exists all the way to St. Louis, too," he said. Arkansas State Police district headquarters at Forrest City reported the highway condition is the same for most of Eastern Arkansas. "We've got heavy icing of the roads and travel Is dangerous," the patrol said. Generous Boy Gets Repaid MEMPHIS (AP)- Christmas eve once again finds David Ward with a new bicycle despite his cronic bad luck with like thieves. David got four new bikes and about $900 in cash last year when his bicycle was stolen. It happened after he had taken part of his small earnings as a delivery boy to buy a Blind Negro woman her first Christmas tree. The eighth-grader gave away three of the new bikes, and the money quickly went for family bills. Then someone stole David's new bike recently while he was practicing football. A Conway, Ark., businessman, also named David Ward, bought the boy a new bicycle. And David plant another Christnw visit to hto blind friend, 72-year-old Mm. Brandy Neals. By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS North Arkansas began the job today of digging out of a snowstorm that dumped up to 18 inches of snow on some sections Friday. The U.S. Weather Bureau at Little Rock promised no more snow for the present, but said temperatures would be colder today through Monday. The fast-moving storm, which has reached the eastern seaboard, dropped snow on wide sections of Arkansas during Its brisk flight across the state Thursday night and Friday. The northern part of Arkansas was hardest hit. In the Harrison-Mountain Home area, where 13 to 16 inches fell, many stores closed for the day, losing the last- minute Christmas shopping business. Roads and bridges were hazardous, although none was closed. At least two traffic deaths were attributed to the weather. Mrs. Shirley Ann Rogers, 36, and John Benton Rogers, 18, distant relatives of Alma, were killed in a tSiree-car collision on an icy overpass on U.S. 64 four miles west of Conway. Fourteen other persons were injured in the accident, but only two were believed seriously hurt. State Trooper George Riggs said a trailer being pulled by a car driven by Mrs. Rogers jack-knifed into the path of a car driven by Almond C. Lewis, 29, of Alexander. Riggs said the trailer and part of the wreckage of the two cars then slid tote s station wagon driven by Frank Blair, 32, of Des Arc. Many vehicles were reported to have been stranded by the storm. Among them was a tractor-trailer mail truck carrying mail from as far west as Washington state. The truck, bound from Kansas City to Little Rock, made it to as far as 20 miles north of Harrison before having to stop because of the impassable road. Another mail truck ran into a ditch near St. Joe in Searcy County. A family from Green Forest was stranded in a car all night Thursday night on U.S. 65 nortti of Marshall. Homer Berry, the rainmaker, had gone to Harrison Thursday afternoon to produce a enow- fall. He said Friday he would continue seeding the skies "night and day" until Sunday morning. Berry said he was causing the snow "just for the ehil- drea" for Christmas. WEATHER TO CREEP BY — Traffic was moving, but only barely, on streets and highways in the area yesterday as a morning snow froze later in the day, covering roadways with ice. Police said 10 m.p.h. was a safe driving speed on many of the more slippery streets. (Courier News Photo) Christians Put Away Cares In Readiness for Holidays By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Christians put away the cares and gathered for joyful celebrations of the message of eternal peace proclaimed in Bethlehem '66 years ago. Millions in many nations wrapped the last gifts, put the final trimings on the tree and planned to spend Christmas Eve with their families or at midnight religious services. Pope Paul VI hoped for a 'miracle of good will" to end the war. Prime Minister Lester Pearson of Canada said each person could contribute to peace "through the exercise of love and understanding." Millions were traveling to reach relatives and friends in time for the holiday. In the United States, airlines and railroads were crowded and the crippling effects of the winter's first big snowtorm were felt from Oklahoma to the East Coast just as the Christmas rush hit the highway. For Americans unable to travel, there was the telephone. The New York Telephone Co. said the nationwide Bell System expected 6.6 milion long-dis- ;ance holidays cals. Thousands of pilgrims, many of them Arab Christians who may visit relatives in Jordan only at this time of year, crossed the armistice line from Israel to pray in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and sing carols in a nearby field where tradition says angels appeared to shepherds at the first Christmas. Atop the massive, 4th-century church wa a neon sign: "Merry Christmas." In West Berlin, hundreds of thousands faced a Christmas without viiting relatives in East Berlin for the first time since 1962. The West Berlin government refused East Germany the recognition as a state it demanded in return for passes through the Berlin wall.. "The MONDAY IS HOLIDAY HERE Practically all Blytheville business places — including the Courier News - will be closed Monday. City and county offices —save for law enforcement and fire protection agencies will be closed Monday. The day is an official holiday of the Retail Merchant! Division. The Cwrler News will resume publication on Tuesday. Communist have closed the narrow gate to humaneness," Mayor Heinrich Albertz said. President Johnson was to fly to San Antonio, Tex., to greet sick and wounded servicemen flown back from Vietnam, then join other Johnsons at the LBJ Ranch near Johnson City to open gifts Christmas Eve . In London, Queen Elizabeth II left Buckingham Palace to spend the holiday with her family at Windsor Castle. - At McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, hundreds of servicemen were beginning a long journey as replacements for troops in Vietnam. Many would arrive in time to join their units for Christmas dinner. "Sure, there's a definite lack of Christmas spirit here," one soldier aid. "But I'd just as soon go before Christmas and get it over with." Francis Cardinal Spellman, 7 7 -year-old archbishop of New RUSSIAN LEADER EXTOLLS GUNS MOSCOW (AP) The new commander of Soviet air defense forces claimed today that antiaircraft weapons sent to North Vietnam have performed well. "The Americans themselves have repeatedly noted the excellent quality of Soviet missiles, antiaircraft guns and planes," army Gen. Pavel F. Batitsky wrote. Batitsky said Soviet aid to Hanoi has "been highly praised" by North Vletmsnese leaders. In an article in the So- viet Defense Ministry paper Red Star, he repeated Soviet ledges of "grewing political, economic and military aid." Batitsky, 56, was identified by the newspaper as a deputy defense minister, a title he apparently was given when he assumed command of,air defense forces earlier this year. Within the last year, North Vietnamese air defenses have been built up by Soviet aid into what some Americans have called the strongest antlalrcraf: system ever deployed,. York and Roman Catholic mill- sry vicar of the armed forces, was in Vietnam for religious services along with evangelist Billy Graham. Spellman celebrated Mass on wooden stage covered with a jungle parachute in a muddy tearing at 2nd Field Forces leadquarters 20 miles north of Saigon. Soldiers sat on sandbag sws. In Florence, Italy, where 'ope Paul was to celebrate midnight Mass in sympathy for he victims of Jast month's dev- atating floods, downtown hotel were open and large stores were stocked with Christmas goods. But 3,000 families have not re- urned to their ruined homes and 2,000 other families were iving in unheated temporary quarters. In a court in Reading, Eng- and, Kenneth Eacott called the name of his dog, "Teddy," and won the terrier back when it wppily wagged its tail. The dog ran off last August and a woman in a nearby town claimed ownership. "We're going to give lim big bubble bath and a big ione and he's going to have the best Christmas a dog ever had," Eacott said. iiiiiiiiiiiNiiiiiiiiiiiimiiiiiiiiNiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinniuiiiiiniiiiiiiiiiiiiiin Weather forecast FORECAST — Generally fair through Sunday. Cold tonight not se cold Sunday Low tonight 8-15 north, 15-25 south. High Sunday mostly in the 30s.
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