The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on December 23, 1953 · Page 3
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 3

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, December 23, 1953
Page 3
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DECEMBER 23, 1953 BLYTHEVILI.K (ARK.) COT'lUKK NEWS PA0E TIREl Icebox Deaths Was State's Arkansas Newsmen Select Top Stories of the Year By CAUL BELI. LITTLE ROCK (AP) — The biggest Arkansas news story of 1953 was the suffocation of five children in an old icebox on a Crittenclen County farm. That tragedy was voted the top spot by a wide margin in an Associated 'Press poll of the state's newspaper editors and radio newscasters. est News Story in 1953 The prolonged summer and fall drought was voted as the No. 2 story, barely nosing out a series of seven bank robberies that hit the headlines from February to December. It was AUG.. 12 when death took its Dip toll at the farm home of Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Hallman near Proctor. ^ While the mother was working in a cotton field with two older children and the father was at \vovk in another stnte., the five youngsters were trapped in the oid-fashioned ice bos. Coroner T. H. Gousrn said the children apparently were playing inside the box when the overhead door slammed down and automatically latched, imprisoning the children in a compartment 30 by 1 by 29 inches. All were dead when found. A. grand jury which investigated the case found no evidence of foul play, but the father insisted it was murder—not an accident. Two Were Twins Speaking of the grand Jurys action, Hallman s.iirt; "They threw the case out but I still know it wasn't an accident. I'm leavintr and I'm never coming back to Arkansas." The victims ranged in ,aee from two to eight years. Two of them were 4-year-okl twins. Arkansas had a similar tragedy in 1940, when three children suffocated in an old icebox at Walnut Ridke. It was that year's No. 3 |news story. ' Here is a rundown on the other stories the experts picked in the first 10: No. 2 — Drought: The lack of general rain from mid-May to mid- September and an unusually dry spell on into late fall hit hard at all Arkansas crops with the exception of cotton, broilers and rice. The cattle industry Buffered (he most and the government found it necessary to step in with an emergency hay program so that growers might feed their herds. No. 3 — Bank robberies: A total of S100.3L2.63 was stolon in the worst outbreak of banditry in Arkansas since 1934. The holdups occurred at Chidester, Franklin. Van Buren. Marmaduke, Weiner, Kingston and Swifton—all in North Arkansas. The biggest robbery was the S5V.070.50 stickup of the Marmaduke Branch of the Security .Bank and Trust Company of ara- 1 gould on Sept. 24. The robber re[ mains at liberty and no trace of any of the money has been found. The second largest robbery was the §19,750.13 taken from the Citizens Bank and Trust Company of Van Buren July i. This money was recovered when two men were cap- uired the next day. In addition, there were four unsuccessful attempts to rob Arkansas banks this year. No, 4 — The Head murder case: Bnital Murder Five-year-old Alsry Wolfe was beaten, wrapped in bailing wire and anchored to the bottom of a rain barrel at the farm home of her foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. James W. Head, near Dos Arc on Dec. 23. 1952. The body was found Dec. 30. Mrs. Head was arrested in Arkansas and later, on Jan. 22, 1953, Head was nabbed in Kansas. Mrs. Head was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 12 years i n prison. Head, charged with first degree murder, was found to be insane and now is an inmate of the State Hosp No. 5 — The release and homecoming of prisoners of war: Arkansas families, like those elsewhere in the world, stayed close to their telephones and radios and hawked their newspapers for weeks as the Communists released Allied prisoners they had captured in Korea. Among Uie freed Arkansans was Lt. James Stone of Hot Springs and ine Bluff, who received the Congressional Medal o (Honor upon his return. No. 6 — The new, "non-political" Arkansas Highway Commission; The commission consists of five members appointed under authority of a constitutional amendment adopted at the 152 general election. Shortly after taking office, the commissioners established a policy ol giving priority to construction where right-of-way was donat- County Judges Association opposed this policy vigorously, holding that the state should share In right-of- way costs, especially for removing fences, dwellings, barns and other obstructions. Both sides held their ground and now the controversy seems to have died out. Numerous jobs have been contracted under the policy, which the commission says will save enough money to pave many move miles of roads. Legislature Ranked No. ,7 — Conclusion of the Highway Audit Commission's investigation: The year 1953 saw the windup of the probe of past ivregvilav- ities In Highway Department operations. The investigation was started by the HAG early in 1952. Five men were charged in the courts. The count against one was RADIATOR WORK • Boiled Out • Repaired • Flo Tested • Re-cored ALL WORK Guaranteed Grovers Body & Radiator Shop 508 Cl. Lake Ave PUo. 6981 "<0 come all pe faiti&fuL" In the sanctuary of our hearts let us give thanks for the blessings of the past year. Let us find in the spirit of Christmas the true spirit of American democracy that lives in the precept of freedom to worship, freedom to enjoy this Great Day! To Our Customers and Friends WADE FURNITURE CO. "Trade V/itk Wade and Save" dlsmissd by the jnctec before coming to trial. The four other defendants were tried. One was convicted and received u suspended sentence; the others were acquitted. No. 8 — The 1953 Legislature, rlncipal actions of this biennial session were: Adoption of Gov. Francis Cherry's Fiscal Code: referral to the 154 general election of Cherry's proposed nonstituiional amendment for full Vi\Uu: assessment of property for tax purposes; tightening of welfare laws; makinp compulsory [he 30-day wailing period before issuance of divorce decrees and the three-day waiting period prior to issuance of mar- rlftiie license; enactment ol a law requiring a pre-marital examination for communieabl syphilis. No. 9 — The Army-Nnvy Hospital at Hoi Springs. In October, the Defense Department issued an order thai the land-mark hospital be closed next March 1. Gov. Cherry, Senators McClcllan and Fulbrif-lit and others met with government officials in Washington and persuaded them to reconsider the fate of Ihe iustiluiinn. The original order was withdrawn und the matter still is under slody. No. 10 — Fiscal Code: This comprehensive ItYvislution, proposed by Cherry and adopted by the Legislature, revises stale financ-in;;, purchasing and acconnliii!\ procedures. It yivps extensive power to a finance director. Veteran state career employe Frank Storey was named u> that job by the uovc-rnor. The Fiscal Code provides, annul:; other things, for a slate mutur pool and p<m-auduuv,.-. ot SUMO es\M'iuli- lures uiicier dircciion of a le^ Mve committee. The code w.e^ vvlm- Mcd down Kfuncwiiat by attoi-ncy general's opinions and a Supreme Court niliim that (he job of awa^d- iim slate priiiTini: con!facts must remain with the secretary of Mate, instead of beiiiK shifted to (ho finance director. Cherry has expressed satisfaction with the wav the c'ode is \vovkin<i' and snys iv \vili save money for the state. Two bit; Hot Springs stories were .surprisingly over looked b y the news experts in ihe votmu,. One of these was the case of I Mis. Velum Lorene Swafford, 36- •,ye;\r-oUl reiiislercd nurse who ad[muted killing her children, Mike, j«i. niKl Donna Ruth 2VI', in Novcm- | ber with injections of chloride of mercury and uucmpttng unsuccessfully to take her own life with dnn:s. she explained, that Mike [had the incurable disease, muscu- !br dystrophy, and that she didn't want the little «irl to go through lif*' alone. Mrs. Swafford Was charged with murder and com- imtied to the State Hospital for pre-trial mental examination. Onlv one editor named this story and. then, placed it ninth. I The oilier was the controversy i over Hoi Springs' attempt to break jtlnwn the racial barrier in the Class ; C. Cotton States Baseball League. TURKEYS Vdiinff Fresh Dressed 5(lc to 70c !h. H. E. Hcssie I'lione 6(iB2 or 6439 Hot Springs signed Iwo Ncsro pitchers, brothers James and l.c- andcr TtiRerson, but never used them in a game and finally farmed Ihem out. James sued th« letgu* for damages but dropped the suit when he was sold this fill to [HUM of the Texas League. erru \^nri6tma6 0 To All CLOSED ALL DAY FRIDAY & SATURDAY BE5TWAY CLEANERS Phone 2408 merry... ty of Coke 6 Bottle Carton 25c UNDER A U T H O » 1 t V Of THE COCA-COl* COMPANY IT COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY OF BLYTHEVILLE REFRIGERATORS FREEZERS WASHERS DRYERS F R I 6 I D A I X I PHONE 6096 RANGES AIR CONDITIONERS HALSELL & WHITE NITURE CO. OPEN TIL 9 P.M. DAILY UNTIL CHRISTMAS MAIN & DIVISION

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