75 YEARS AGO - 1943
June 12 - June 18
A Sumter man, Lt. E. W. Dabbs Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. E.W. Dabbs of Black River, came in for prominent mention in an Associated Press dispatch. AP reporter Don Whitehead, covering United States troops in Africa, wrote that Gen. Eisenhower, back from watching the Allied assault on Pantelleria, had inspected divisions of the Fifth U. S. Army headquarters in Africa and during his tour had watched Lt. Dabbs "dig out a mine while troops lay flat on the ground - just in case." Commenting on the mines, Eisenhower was quoted as saying that they are "the most dreaded weapon the enemy used in retreating."
- Olin G. Dorn Jr. has recently been promoted to first lieutenant, U.S. Infantry, at Fort McLellan, Alabama. Dorn graduated from Clemson in 1942 and was ordered to the Officer Candidate school at Fort Benning, Georgia, from which he graduated and received his commission as second lieutenant on Sept. 26, 1942. Since then he has been stationed at Fort McLellan and is executive officer and second in command in his company.
- A daylight air raid drill, something new for the populace of Sumter and civilian defense workers here, was forecast for the near future by Commander F.B. Creech. Commander Creech, who heads the local Office of Civilian Defense, gave no definite information about the test but cautioned workers and citizens to "be on the alert."
- The people of Sumter, out to use up the Number 17 ration stamp before it expires, kept local shoe merchants busy this past week. Owners of the shoe stores questioned declared that buyers were taking anything they could get. If white was not available, they would take brown or black. The Capitol reported that their customers were looking for shoes which have not been made recently and which are of a better class leather than shoes being put out today.
- The qualifying round in the annual Coca-Cola golf tournament ended with 19 local golfers qualifying. A meeting will be held at the Sunset Country Club, at which time pairings will be made. Play is scheduled to start tomorrow. Luther Wimberly shot a 76 in the qualifying round, four over par 72.
- Interest in aviation cadet training reached a new high among Shaw Field enlisted personnel last week when men from almost every squadron on the field applied for cadet appointment and took the mental and physical examinations. "We hope that at least 50 more enlisted men will qualify as cadets before our special 'Flyers for Victory' drive closes on the 4th of July," said Maj. Richard C. Fadeley, recorder of the cadet examining board. "A few more weeks like that one," stated the major, "and we will have no trouble reaching our goal."
- Sumter's up-and-coming American Legion Juniors defeated the Bennettsville city team at the Municipal Park, 4 to 2. Russell Timmons, ace of the Gamecock hurlers, pitched well and would have had a shutout but for some loose fielding in the second inning. Fine defensive work was contributed to the locals' cause by the play of Bill Tomlinson and Keith Phillips. Tommie Hughes with a booming triple and Emmett Tomlinson and Ercell Robinson, with two hits each, led the Sumter attack at the plate; Derrick secured two hits for Bennettsville.
- Douglas Youngblood representing radio station WFIG appeared before City Council stating that WFIG, under the sponsorship of the Carolina Coca-Cola Bottling Co., was planning a celebration for July 5, between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m., and that he would like to use Main Street between Bartlett and Canal for this purpose. He stated that bicycle races and other entertainment were being planned. After a consideration of the request, council decided to grant same.
- Having visited the American Army in training for invasion of Europe and sampled American field rations on the first two days of his North African tour, King George VI of England got around to inspecting units of the combined British and American fleet in the Mediterranean and meeting the war correspondents who covered the rout of the Axis in this theater. Leaving headquarters the king spent nearly a full day with the American Army. The Army cooks, supervised by Frazier Woodward, prepared a lunch for President Roosevelt and the king, and he was assisted by W.J.Cabbagestalk of Dalzell and Pvt. Gilbert Lattimore of High Point, North Carolina.
50 YEARS AGO - 1968
Feb. 11 - 17
- Mike Gallery has always had great fun with Sumter. Two years ago in his first start as a sophomore the 5'11" Florence guard scored 19 points against the Gamecocks while sparking his teammates to a victory. Since that time Sumter has not beaten Florence on the basketball court. In fact, the last time that happened was back in January 1965. Gallery was back this game again spearheading a second-half Florence rally that wiped out a 12-point Sumter lead and brought the Yellow Jackets a thrilling 72-69 triumph.
- South Carolina military construction projects estimated to cost $34,193,000 are among works given the go-ahead by the Defense Department when it lifted a four-month freeze on such building. The department announced that the release of individual projects, to cost an estimated $800 million, would be accomplished as soon as plans and specifications are ready for bids. The freeze was ordered last October because of the state of federal finances.
- Alva Locklair, an 18-year old, closed out his boxing career with the Sumter boxing team in fine style at the Carolinas' Golden Gloves held in Charlotte. Locklair, who leaves for Great Lakes, Illinois, for a stint in the Navy, became the second Sumter boy ever to win the Golden Gloves tourney twice.
- The Sumter County Mental Health Association at its annual meeting heard John Yeatts, South Carolina Mental Health Association executive director, say, "We can never hope to train enough professional people. We must rely on ministers, teachers, right down to the housewife in the mental health programs. There is much disagreement in ways or methods of treatment of the mental health cases," said Yeatts, "and the trend in this country is toward public health agencies and education instead of confinement."
- Sumter County's sparkling new $300,000 public library opened this morning in the Civic Center. Librarian Chapman J. Milling said the turnout of patrons and browsers was a little larger than normal. Hours will be the same as at the old library on West Liberty Street.
- City Council gave its unanimous approval to the temporary architectural plans and location of Sumter's new fire department, to be located on the northwest corner of North Magnolia Street and Hampton Avenue as part of the Civic Center complex.
- Detachment Nine of the Eastern Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Center at Shaw has been selected the outstanding Air Rescue Service Detachment of the year for 1967. Shaw's detachment competed against more than 90 other Air Rescue Detachments worldwide for the honor. The mission of the specialized 15-man group at Shaw is two-fold. One half of the mission is search and rescue, and the other is fire suppression.
- In World War II, when every available soldier was needed overseas, the U.S. Armed Forces, rather grudgingly, began to take in women for stateside duties "to free a man to fight." There were Army WACS, Navy WAVEs, Coast Guard SPARs and Women Marines. "The Marine Corps was the last to come around," recalls Col. Ruth Cheney Streeter, USMCWR, the first director of the Women Marines. "I don't think the men liked the idea very much. It took them a while to get used to it."
- Lt. David N. Green Jr., a Sumter native who was killed by grenade wounds at Rach Kien in Vietnam, has been awarded posthumously the National Order of Vietnam, Fifth Class. The award has already been delivered to his father, Maj. (Ret.) David N. Green Sr. of Sumter. It was the second honor to be accorded the Sumter man since his death. He has also been awarded The Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in ground operations against hostile forces in Vietnam.
25 YEARS AGO - 1992
Nov. 13 - 19
- Two-million-year-old fossils can provide an interesting look at the past. And the Sumter County Library has a collection of fossils from North Carolina that are worth looking at. The fossils - discovered by a Florence man in the Texas Gulf Phosphate Mine near Aurora, North Carolina - include teeth from four various kinds of sharks, a shark disc, porpoise and whale vertebras, coral, an oyster shell, a sperm whale tooth and petrified wood. Some of the fossils came from layers as deep as 130 feet beneath the surface of the earth.
- Pandemonium broke out at the county courthouse when the Sumter County Election Commission threw out the results of the Nov. 3 Sumter School District 2 board elections and ordered new ones. The four District 2 board candidates who won on Nov. 3 and several supporters rushed the four county election commissioners after the unanimous vote to hold new elections. Some loudly demanded to know why commissioners held the election in the first place if they knew the results might have to be thrown out.
- Hugh Betchman, who coached the Sumter P-15's to a state championship in 1977, will be inducted to the Sumter Sports Hall of Fame. Betchman was an assistant coach of the P-15's for five years including 1962 when the P-15's won a state championship under Bernie Jones. Other inductees are Art Baker, O.V. Player and Bill Noonan. Jay Parnell will receive the Ben Swinton award which is presented periodically to individuals who exhibit extraordinary perseverance and inspiration in athletics.
- Shaw Air Force Base has been assessed a $40,000 fine for failing to properly remove asbestos from 113 buildings on the base. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control fined Shaw for environmental violations discovered during an inspection in May 1991. Among the charges: work began before proper permits were obtained, and workers did not ensure materials containing asbestos remained wet.
- United Way contributions in South Carolina are down this year, but officials with the charity organization say the controversy that plagued the United Way of America earlier this year is not to blame. "Overall, what we see is that the campaign is slow," said Scott Badesch, president of the United Way of South Carolina. "And we're hearing other fund-raising organizations say the same thing."
- Widening U.S. 521 to four lanes from Interstate 20 near Camden to the coast of South Carolina would pave the way for Sumter County to attract more industries and tourism dollars, local officials say. And even though the state highway department plans to four-lane that stretch of road within the next 20 years, local government and business officials say that is too long to wait. They are especially in a hurry to get U.S. 521 widened from Sumter north to Interstate 20, saying access to the major interstate would entice more industries to locate here.
- Sumter High School football coach Tom Lewis had a lot on his mind as his Gamecocks prepared to battle Stratford in the opening round of the state 4A Division 1 playoffs. Lewis said he was curious to see how his team would play after a disappointing, 34-0 loss to Hillcrest last week. The Gamecocks answered with a 42-21 victory over the Stratford Knights. And the look of concern that was plastered on Lewis' face before the game disappeared.
- Hillcrest ripped through the Walterboro defense for 366 rushing yards en route to a 48-21 win over the Bulldogs in the first round of the 4A Division II state playoffs Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. The win advances Hillcrest, 8-4, to the second round, in which they will take to the road to play fellow Region IV-4A member Lancaster.
- The five Sullivan brothers weren't supposed to serve on the USS Juneau together. The Navy had rules against such things. But their anger over a friend who died at Pearl Harbor and their ability to argue their way past regulations put them all aboard the ship - the day a Japanese torpedo attack sank the Juneau. The 500 sailors who died included Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George Sullivan of Waterloo. "I can remember it like it was yesterday," said Frank Holmgren of Eatontown, N.J., a survivor of the attack.
- Central Carolina Technical College and the Criminal Justice Training Academy have signed as articulation agreement to facilitate the transfer of course credit awarded for the Law Enforcement Basic Training at the Criminal Justice Training Academy. The agreement will assist law enforcement personnel in beginning in the Criminal Justice Associate Degree Program at CCTC. Prospective students requesting to enroll in a credit course for recertification or transfer course credit approval for a degree will satisfy all normal admission requirements at the college and CCTC will accept for transfer course work approved by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council.
- More than 100 area elementary school teachers gathered in USC Sumter's Nettles Auditorium recently to participate in a workshop designed to enhance their classroom teaching skills. Sponsored by USC Sumter's Office of Continuing Education and Telecommunications in cooperation with the campus' Student Education Association, the six-hour, hands-on workshop was conducted by representatives of Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company of Greensboro, N.C.
- When Billy McLeod opens his newest Piggly Wiggly store, he'll be carrying on a tradition begun by his father nearly 50 years ago. McLeod, owner of the 12-store Piggly Wiggle Central franchise, will open his newest grocery store in Sumter - just in time for Thanksgiving. The Piggly Wiggly Superstore, a 39,000-square-foot, full-service store, has been under renovation and construction in the Sumter Square Plaza on Broad Street near Jessamine Mall. The building formerly housed a Bi-Lo grocery store.
- National environmental activists are targeting South Carolina and the hazardous-waste landfill in Sumter County as battlegrounds in the fight for "environmental equity," a civil rights leader said Sunday. Civil rights activist Dr. Ben Chavis, who spoke t a 3 p.m. rally on the Statehouse steps, charged that South Carolina is being used as the nation's dumping ground for waste because it is a poor, rural state with a large minority population.
- The state Election Commission could begin hearing testimony later this week from four Sumter School District 2 board candidates who appealed the county election commission's decision to throw out the results of the Nov. 3 board elections. State commission spokesman Gary Baum said that hearings on at least 14 appeals from across the state will begin, but a time has not been set for the Sumter County appeals. The four candidates who won seats on the District 2 Board of Trustees are appealing the county election commission's decision, and are asking that the results of the Nov. 3 board elections stand.
- Property owners have spent more than $3 million to renovate seven downtown buildings in the past five years. But despite those efforts, the rebuilding of downtown will take years to complete - if it ever happens at all. The Item has looked at 19 buildings - renovated and empty over the past two months to see who owns them, why some remain empty, and why some have become success stories. Owners of empty, decaying buildings said a lack of money and interested tenants have kept them from spending the thousands of dollars it would take to renovate, while owners of renovated buildings with thriving businesses said the money was well spent and that there is hope for downtown.
- Having barely recovered from a lopsided loss to Hillcrest, Sumter High School's Gamecocks find themselves faced with another stern test. The Gamecocks bounced back from a devastating, 34-0 loss to the Wildcats in their regular-season finale with a blowout of their own, clubbing Stratford 42-21 in the opening round of the 4A Division 1 state playoffs at Memorial Stadium.
- The state House has purchased a security system to prevent "phantom" votes from being cast for members who aren't in the chamber. The $7,500 system will require representatives to use a key to activate the electronic voting consoles at their desks to cast their votes, Speaker Bob Sheheen, D-Camden, told The State newspaper of Columbia. The system will be installed in response to the brouhaha that erupted following a May vote in which votes were cast for three representatives who were not in the chambers at the time.
Reach Sumter Item Archivist Sammy Way at email@example.com or (803) 774-1294.