75 YEARS AGO - 1943
July 17 - July 23
- Announcement of the opening of The Food Shoppe, 270 Broad St., formerly Knowles' Grocery, is made in The Sumter Daily Item. The store has been completely renovated and has a new stock of groceries. E. B. Johnson Jr. is manager of the store.
- In impressive ceremonies at the Calvin Roth YMCA, the Silver Star award won by First Lt. Ben G. McKnight, Elkin's first casualty of the present war, for gallantry in action in New Guinea in December, was presented posthumously to the parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. C. McKnight, the former being general secretary of the "Y." Gen. Kennedy paid tribute to Lt. McKnight as one of the sturdy type of Carolina's young men, who answers when duty calls and the possessor of the attributes of the noble Americans who gave us our country and as one whose work lives on. "We on the home front are also soldiers of America, who are going to see it through," he said.
- Allied Headquarters in North Africa, July 20, described the shattering aerial assault on Rome as an "outstanding successful operation" and disclosed officially that more than 500 American bombers carried out the raid with a loss of five planes. Aerial reconnaissance showed heavy damage to all targets and a 9th U.S. Air Force communique from Cairo said that the Littoria railroad yards "were completely destroyed."
- Total contributions needed for the purchase of the fluoroscope for the County Health Department was reduced to $45 with $5 being donated yesterday. Three hundred and fifty-five dollars were needed to complete the purchase of the machine, and all but $45 has been contributed. Donations were sent to Miss Minnie McBride, Camp Alice, Sumter.
- Santee-Cooper said that $149,000 in federal funds had been made available for clearing snags from a 44-mile stretch of the Congaree River between Columbia and the river's junction with the Wateree. The clearance work would be part of the task of opening up an inland navigation route. A big part of the waterway would be through lakes and canals of the state-owned $57,000,000 hydro-electric project. A hearing was scheduled at Charleston on elevating a Seaboard Airline Railroad bridge at Strawberry Landing over the proposed water route. The state ports authority has said the bridge was too low for navigation.
- St. Julien Barnwell, seaman, first class, United States Naval Reserve, son of Mr. and Mrs. St. Julien Barnwell of Stateburg, is safe and sound despite a dunking in the Pacific Ocean on July 4. He is a survivor of the sinking, presumably by a Japanese submarine, of the U.S.S. Strong, which went down in action just prior to the battle of Kula Gulf. After announcement of the ship's loss, the Barnwells were informed by the Navy Department that their son's fate was unknown, and they spent an anxious two weeks without word of him.
- J. Eugene White, Aviation Machinist Mate, USNR, has been reported by the Navy Department as missing in action, his parents informed the Item today. The wire from Washington was received Monday. Seaman White volunteered for Naval duty a little more than a year ago, on July 7, 1942. He completed boot training at Norfolk, Virginia, then took an aviation mechanics course at Jacksonville. Following completion of that training, he volunteered for aerial gunnery. He finished his gunnery course in May of this year then came home for furlough.
- The new program for school lunches in Sumter County is rapidly being organized. Under the WPA a somewhat limited lunch program was operated in the county schools. With the passing of that agency the acute need of the lunches was felt, resulting in the appreciation by the state Legislature of funds for supervision of this work. The new program became effective July 1.
- "Up to July 1, 40,259 farms in the state had enrolled in the Better Farm Living and Food and Feed for Victory campaign," Director D. W. Watkins of the Clemson extension service announced today. These enrollees come by the hundreds from every county in the state. Orangeburg leads with 2,125, and Sumter County is second with 1,778 farms enrolled. This year's total enrollment more than doubles that of last year.
- Jasper M. Wilburn, who arrived at Shaw Field on July 4, has been promoted to rank of major in the United States Army Air Forces. Maj. Wilburn's assignment at Shaw Field will be that of executive officer of the Aviation Cadet Detachment. Before coming to Shaw Field, he was stationed at Bush Field, Alabama, where he served as personnel officer from April 14, 1941, until his transfer here.
- Technical Sgt. Herman C. Wheeler, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Wheeler, of New Zion, has been awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action while on a mission against enemy shipping. Sgt. Wheeler is at his parents' home on furlough after serving for some months in the South Pacific. He served as an aerial engineer and first gunner on a bomber.
- Two training plane crashes took the lives of a flying instructor and two aviation cadets from Shaw Field during the past two days, the Public Relations office stated this morning. The killed were listed as Second Lt. Larry T. Shane, 27, a flying instructor, Cadet Stanley P. Truchan, 21 from Ludlow, Massachusetts, and Cadet James H. Hornback, 24, said to reside in Springfield, Illinois. The Public Relations office said Lt. Shane and Cadet Truchan were killed in a crash near the field, and Cadet Hornback was killed near Lane in Williamsburg County.
50 YEARS AGO - 1968
March 18 - 23
- Howard J. Parnell, a licensed embalmer and funeral director, announced today he will be a candidate for the office of Sumter County coroner. "I feel that my past and present experience in dealing with bereaved families, the special schooling required of my profession, the knowledge of proper and respectful care and handling of the deceased and the training to recognize probable conditions and causes of death lend themselves to efficient performance of the official duties of a coroner," said Parnell.
- The Sumter Horseman's Association announced today it will sponsor a Double-A horse show here. The show will be sanctioned by the South Carolina Horse Show Association Pat Marsh, publicity chairman for the event, said, "With the ever-increasing interest in horse shows throughout the state, this should be the best show Sumter has ever had." The show is expected to attract show horses and spectators from South Carolina and adjoining states.
- Hard-luck lefthander Billy Ardis hurled a one-hitter against A.C. Flora, but the Sumter pitcher's effort was not enough as the Falcons eked out a 2-1 decision in the baseball opener for both schools. Ardis, a star for Sumter's Legion team last summer, issued five walks but struck out nine and allowed a lone hit, a bunt single, in the third inning.
- Sumter's tennis team rolled to its second-straight victory of the season by blanking Myrtle Beach, 9-0, at Memorial Park. The Gamecocks, who defeated Orangeburg by the same score in the season opener last week, lost only one set in recording the triumph. No. 1 man Gene Gupton easily disposed of his foe, Paul Beckley, 6-2, 6-4. Best match of the day came in the No. 3 singles where Gamecock sophomore Sammy Kiser defeated Myrtle Beach senior Ernie Hunter, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
- The Tactical Air Command Wrestling Tournament came to a thundering climax at Shaw last week with crowns resting more comfortably on some heads and tottering with newness on others. Final day activities started with the 125 -pound group taking to the mats first. Miguel DeJesus from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, who placed in the top bracket of the "free style," battled Charles Cash of McDill Air Force Base, Florida, to a 1:13 pin, and defending champion in this Greco Roman style Ed Gilbert was spared the trouble as Mike Musser from Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas, forfeited.
- A magic phone number for home-delivered voter registration service has been published thanks to the Sumter Jaycees. Persons wanting to re-register to vote should call that number between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday of the next two weeks. A Sumter Jaycee, qualified as a notary public, will answer the request between 6 and 9 p.m. with an in-person visit to the caller's home.
- Sophomore lefthander Perry Johnson got the baseball season underway in a brilliant fashion for Lincoln High by hurling a no-hit, no-run game to pace the Bulldogs to a 2-0 victory over Butler. Johnson, his curve ball working to perfection, fanned 16 enemy batters and walked only four while recording his season-opening gem.
- The Junior Class of the Manning Christian Academy sponsored a "Spring Medley" at the National Guard Armory in Manning. Chosen as Junior Class Mascots from the kindergarten and first groups were Tammy Flemming, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Flemming Jr., and Lee Martin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Martin. Awarded second place in the competition were Penny Holliday and Sammy Harvin.
- The Sumter Iris Festival and the Sun Fun Festival at Myrtle Beach have been selected as "Top Twenty" travel events in the nation by the National Association of Travel Organizations. The Sumter Iris Festival, which will be held at Sumter on May 24-31, was selected as one of the best festivals to be held in the nation during May.
25 YEARS AGO - 1992
Dec. 18 - 24
- City of Sumter officials broke ground on a new fire department substation on Stadium Road. Construction on the station is set to begin in January, and Sumter City Manager Talmadge Tobias said he expects the facility to be finished by late summer. The fire department substation will be the city's third. The city already operates a substation on Alice Drive and U.S. 521 South in addition to the main fire station on Hampton Avenue. The city employs 65 full-time firefighters at the three stations.
- The Furman High School gymnasium looked like the meeting place for bricklayers' convention for the first half of the Indians' basketball game against Lamar. The two teams threw up enough bricks in the first 15 minutes to build a nice-sized home as Furman held a 25-18 halftime lead. The second half was a different matter as the Indians seldom threw up a bad shot on the way to 60 points and an 85-55 victory.
- Sumter High School's boys kept their record unblemished with a 67-60 basketball win over Summerville. The Gamecocks fell behind 19-15 after one quarter then pulled into a 31-31 tie at the half. Sumter led 52-50 at the end of three quarters before outscoring the Green Wave 15-10 over the final eight minutes to run their record to 9-0.
- Delcia Harper-Baxter knows now that she can't save all of the children. That's one of the adjustments she's made since August when she became the principal of the Program for Alternative Learning Academy on Hasell Street. Most of the other adjustments have been good ones, like the construction of new counseling offices, and the way the students stand up straight and proud, instead of slumping, at morning assemblies in the cafeteria. PAL Academy, a joint experimental effort by Sumter School Districts 2 and 17, has introduced middle school students into its alternative environment a handful at a time since classes started. District administrators recommend student to PAL Academy before - or even after - they are expelled. The school has room for 64 students, 32 from each district.
- The Morris College Hornet Company Army ROTC Unit recently commissioned its 30th officer, 2nd Lt. John H. Shepherd Jr. Shepherd, a native of Florence and son of Mr. and Mrs. Johnnie M. Shepherd, enrolled at Morris College in 1988 and in Morris College's Army ROTC Program in 1990. Presently a senior mathematics major, Shepherd has received his commission in the Infantry Corps. He will report to Fort Benning, Georgia, later in December to begin his Officer Basic Course and his Active Duty Tour.
- 'Twas the week before Christmas, and out on the farm soybeans and cotton were now in the barn. Farmers delighted at the year's coming end except those planting pine trees, whose work now begins. Since its inception in 1986, the USDA's Conservation Reserve Program has attracted 107 landowners in Sumter who have planted 5,437 acres of genetically improved loblollies. In addition, wildlife plantings for quail, turkey and deer have also been included as an option for landowners.
- When Hillcrest football coach Curtis Threatt was asked his feelings on being named The Item Area Coach of the Year, he talked about everything but that. Why? "It took an effort far more than one individual to accomplish what we've done this year," he said. "You've got all of the coaches - Artie Baker, Robert Mood, Tim Garifalon, Keith Crolley, Mark Wade, Clarence Jones, Randy Stogner and DeWayne Edward - to thank too. I wish there was an award we could get together."
- Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country that was once capitalism's worst enemy may well become one of the United States' biggest customers. "Because the 11 independent republics that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States are eager to buy into American technology and products, proficiency in the Russian language is becoming a 'must' among the movers and shakers in business and industry," said Betty Harvey, UAC Sumter's director of continuing education and telecommunications.
- When you travel down Sumter's Snowden Street, you can't help but notice the festive glow. The sparkle of red and gold Christmas lights shines on small evergreen trees in every yard. Snowden Street residents throw their switches at 5:30 p.m. each evening to illuminate the trees. Each holiday season since 1969, residents have brightened their holidays by lighting their trees. And they take pride in the project. Frank Parkin Thomas initiated the light legacy after seeing a similar decorating project during a holiday visit to his sister.
- An anxious crowd carrying banners, flowers and balloons endured drizzling rain and cold temperatures to welcome the return home of Shaw Air Force Base's 19th Fighter Squadron from the Middle East. The return of more than 200 airmen came just in time for Christmas, making the day even more special. "All I wanted for Christmas was for him to come back," said Shirley Gagle, who drove from Garden City to see her grandson, Tim Gagle, arrive.