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Yesteryear with Sammy Way: 4 squadrons to compete in field meet; Finney becomes chief justice

Posted 12/7/19

75 YEARS AGO - 1945

June 29 - July 5

- The U.S. Army Engineers have sent an urgent call for able-bodied men for vital war work in Hawaii and the Central Pacific. In addition to unskilled labor jobs, which pay unusually good wages, there are …

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Yesteryear with Sammy Way: 4 squadrons to compete in field meet; Finney becomes chief justice


75 YEARS AGO - 1945

June 29 - July 5

- The U.S. Army Engineers have sent an urgent call for able-bodied men for vital war work in Hawaii and the Central Pacific. In addition to unskilled labor jobs, which pay unusually good wages, there are also jobs available for asphalt rakers, sheet metal workers and machinists. These overseas jobs pay good wages, and of course, time and a half for overtime. The engineers are also in urgent need of engineering (civil) aides for work in South Carolina and neighboring states.

- Roland Avins, aged 14, of Rt. 2, Sumter, is a member of the Pinewood 4-H club. He has been in the club for three years, and each year he has fed out a beef calf to show in the Florence Fat Stock Show, all three graded choice. In 1943, his calf placed third, in 1944, ninth, and in 1945, his entry won the grand championship. Roland fed out a home-raised calf every year.

- The first large-scale road-building program in South Carolina since Pearl Harbor has been authorized by the state highway department commission. The hard surfacing of some 400 miles of roads will begin immediately and should be completed by October, Chief Highway Engineer C.R. McMillan has said.

- Huge fires raged in Japan's great shipbuilding center of Sasebo and three other industrial cities after nearly 500 Superfortresses rained 3,000 tons of bombs on the home islands. The unrelenting war of annihilation from the skies caught the Japanese without a defense. Not a single enemy fighter plane rose to meet the intruders. The bombardiers singled out targets which never before had felt the full weight of the Superfortresses, designed by the American aerial command to rob Japan of the power to resist.

- Six 40-man teams representing four squadrons will compete for group and individual prizes in the all-Shaw Independence Day Field Meet next Wednesday. Although the Fourth of July will not be a holiday, participants and spectators will be excused from their jobs for the all-day affair. A heavy schedule of contests and events designed to keep both participants and non-participants engaged from early morning until twilight has been arranged. In the field meet, prizes will go to the individual winners, while the high-over-all squadron will receive an award still to be announced.

- Cadet A. B. Parsons Jr., of North Washington Street, Sumter, has been selected for appointment as staff sergeant in corps of cadets at The Citadel, in orders published by Col. C.M. McMurray, commandant, with the approval of General C.P. Summerall, president of the college. Qualities considered in making such appointments as have been given Cadet Parsons include those of leadership, character, personality, knowledge of military and academic subjects and the ability to "get along" with other people.

- Harold Moise, Cub chairman of the Boy Scout Committee of the Sumter District, announced plans for a training course for the present and prospective Cub leaders of Sumter. It is a six-session course and is slated to run each consecutive Thursday night beginning July 19 at the Trinity Methodist recreation room. Mr. Moise said that Mrs. R.D. Graham and Mrs. J.T. Buxton were working with him in planning the attendance and program. Cubbing is a home-centered program for boys 9 to 12 years of age which gives the whole family a chance to enjoy scouting.

- Logan Patton, daughter of Mrs. Aline S. Patton, Hendersonville Inn, Hendersonville, North Carolina, has arrived in India to serve the armed forces as an American Red Cross staff assistant. Before her Red Cross appointment, Miss Patton was manager of the dining room and kitchen at the Idaho Springs hotel, Clarksville, Tennessee, and previously was hostess at the Officers' Guest House, Camp Campbell, Kentucky, and was assistant to the manager of the Fort Knox, Kentucky, Post Exchange Dress Shop. She is a graduate of Edmunds High School in Sumter and attended Converse College, Spartanburg.

- If a vote were taken to name the funniest man on Shaw Field, Master Sgt. Alphonse Ianotti would undoubtedly walk away with the title. His performance in the All-Shaw musical hit, "Back Stage Revue," stands out as one of the biggest laughs of the season. Long recognized as Shaw Field's "King of Corn," Ianotti's inimitable personality came over the footlights with the same rib-tickling effect it does off-stage. But it was his hidden talent - hillbilly songs with a Brooklyn accent - that rocked the Service Club. Dressed in a zoot suit and singing to the accompaniment of a banjo, the "Brooklyn Yodeler" stole what was probably the best locally produced show in Shaw Field history.

50 YEARS AGO - 1970

March 1 - 7

- With a strong finish, including a sweep of the novice division in the evening session, Sumter Optimist Club boxers scored 13 victories on a 25-bout card at the 18th-Annual Sumter Boxing Show. After only four winners in the 10-bout matinee and two losses to begin the 7:30 bouts, Sumter won nine of the next 10 fights. Six victories came in the novice division (ages 16-17), which featured two of the most colorful fights of the night.

- Three incumbent members of the Sumter County Commission have announced for re-election. All three will run in the June Democratic Primary. They are Robert D. Palmer, completing his first service on the Commission; J.T. "Bud" Rivers, who has served for eight years; and Lauren P. Booth, also an eight-year member. While relatively new to county government, Palmer served for eight years on city council prior to his election in 1968 to the county commission.

- Several historic churches in Sumter County will be included on the Tri-centennial Historic Tour along with 12 homes in the Sumter and Stateburg area. The Salem Black River Church, better known as "Old Brick Church," The Church of the Holy Cross and High Hills Baptist Church are among the churches on the tour. Histories of the churches will be provided during the tours.

- The State AAAA, Region III basketball tournament was spiced with upsets until Saturday night when Lancaster and Edmunds squared off. Lancaster, winless against region opponents during the regular season, had knocked off Rock Hill in the opening round and eliminated Hartsville, 51-41. The Saturday night game went the way it was expected, however, as the champion Gamecocks turned back the Hurricane, 55-46. The victory earns Coach Jimmy Boykin's Birds top seed for the region in the state playoffs. Edmunds also won the regular season title with an 8-2 record, so Lancaster will represent the family in the state tournament as the runner-up.

- Cecil Walters, director of Technical Education Center at Sumter, told members of the Altrusa Club how the development of the programs in technical education was closely related to the surge of economic development in the state and county. He described the programs offered as ways to provide better opportunities, as well as train more efficient workmen for new or established industries. He pointed out the close relationship of the center with the Chamber of Commerce and the Development Board.

- USO activities for the first week in March for military personnel and their dependents include movies, meals and a pool tournament. These activities are spread throughout the week. Grace Baptist Church will sponsor a Java Hour on Sunday with refreshments.

- For the first time since 1952, a woman is announcing her candidacy for a public office for the city of Sumter. Mrs. Colleen Yates, who is active in various community activities, announced today that she would seek a seat on city council in the Democratic Primary. It will be the first time a woman has run for city council. Miss Priscilla Shaw ran for mayor in 1952 and won a two-year term.

- The annual YMCA Church League Basketball Banquet will be held at the American Legion Home, Artillery Drive. The banquet will be a covered dish affair. Each family is asked to bring enough food to accommodate its own needs. Due to limited facilities, only the boys and girls participating in the leagues and their parents are invited. Speaker for the banquet will be Dick Campbell, head basketball coach at The Citadel.

- Can Edmunds High produce state champions in two major sports in the same year? The answer will be known no later than Saturday. The state champion EHS footballers remain the topic of many conversations and will for years to come. If the EHS basketballers pull it off, Sumterites will have to stay up late and rise early to say all the deserving things about Edmunds' pair of South Carolina kings.

- The Furman Singers, an 80-voice choir from Furman University, will present a sacred service of music Friday evening at First Baptist Church, Liberty Street, during revival services. The singers are currently on their annual spring tour, visiting cities in both Carolinas, Maryland, Virginia and New York. It is the third appearance of the singers at First Baptist Church within five years, and their presentation is always a great experience.

- A Shaw Air Force Base pilot died yesterday afternoon in the crash of his RF-101 reconnaissance aircraft near Batesburg. He was identified as Maj. Charles P. Fields, assigned to the 18th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Shaw. His wife and four children live at the base. Witnesses to the crash said the plane exploded in the air.

- A show of force by South Carolina highway patrolmen and the issuance of citations by U.S. marshals to seven persons kept this troubled community quiet and calm today in the aftermath of violence by opponents of racial integration. The citations ordered seven men accused of participating in Tuesday's clash with highway patrolmen to appear for a court hearing in Columbia to show cause why they should not be restrained from further action.

- The old 39th Tactical Reconnaissance Training Squadron is going through many changes. The squadron is under new leadership, and the unit's designation has been changed for the second time in four months. Lt. Col. Alvin B. Richards is the man who took over the command reins for the new 39th Tactical Electronic Warfare Training Squadron. The squadron's mission is "To train aircrew members including pilots, navigators and electronic warfare officers for worldwide assignments and to train maintenance personnel to keep the heavy RB-66s flying trouble-free."

25 YEARS AGO - 1994

Dec. 1 - 7

- Ernest Finney became a lawyer 40 years ago because he thought the judicial system could improve the average person's life. That belief still stands as he prepares to become South Carolina's first black chief justice. "To me, the system was the way to change," Finney, a 30-year Sumter resident, said in his office across the street from the Statehouse. Finney, 63, was to take the office today as chief justice, a post he officially assumes Dec. 16 when current Chief Justice A. Lee Chandler reaches the mandatory retirement age of 72.

- Amateur historians lend a personal perspective to local history with a collection of essays on prominent Sumterites of yore. The book, "Reflections II," is the second batch of papers put out by the Fortnightly Club and was published by the Sumter County Historical Commission. The club was founded in 1914 to broaden "interest and knowledge through discussion of any phase of thought; religion and partisan politics alone excepted." The club's 25 members gather every two weeks to hear a paper presented by a member on Sumter history or related topics. "Reflections II" is a compilation of 31 papers delivered from 1977-1994.

- It was, perhaps, the lone tense moment felt by anyone in attendance at Sumter High School's gymnasium. Guard Josh Rively poised at the free throw line in the final seconds with a chance to put the Gamecocks over the 100 mark. The score at that point: Sumter 98, Mayewood 52. For the record, Rively converted his first free throw but missed the second. Sumter's Glenn Mack grabbed the rebound and scored the final points of the Gamecocks' 101-52 win in the second round of the Sumter High/H&R Block tipoff Tournament.

- The third-annual Sumter Singing Christmas Tree will be presented this weekend at First Baptist Church, 107 E. Liberty St. Eighty-five singers mount the 30-foot Christmas tree, with children's choir joining in several selections. The musical is accompanied by a 27-piece orchestra, with the stringed instruments from Columbia and most others from the Sumter High School Band.

- Sumter celebrates 100 years of a beloved landmark with the 1994 Opera House Christmas ornament. It is the first in a series anticipating and leading up to the bicentennial of Sumter on Jan.1, 2000. The drawing of the Opera House used for this ornament is the work of noted Sumter artist Ray Davenport.

- Mount Olive defeated Morris College 107-87 in the first round of the Mount Olive Holiday Tournament. The Hornets, who fell to 4-5, were led in scoring by James Matthews with 20 points. Allen McGill followed with 18 points, and Victor McCall had 13.

- An up-tempo basketball game is usually to the liking of the Furman Indians. However, head coach Marty Jacobs wanted to try to slow things down a little against Sumter High School. The only problem with that strategy was the Gamecocks wouldn't let him. SHS grabbed a big lead early and forced Furman to play catch-up. The Indians never could as they dropped an 86-67 decision in the teams' final game of the Sumter Tipoff Classic.

- Wilson Hall's boys basketball team took their coach on an emotional roller coaster ride in the home opener against Thomas Sumter. The Barons looked sharp for a quarter, confused in another, but they somehow managed to hold on for a 61-50 win over the Generals. Wilson Hall, which improved to 1-1, led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter but held a 28-19 advantage at intermission.

- For the 45th consecutive year, the Council of Garden Clubs will present its annual Holiday House Tour and Tea. The tour will be held Dec. 7. It features three Sumter homes done up in their best holiday finery and a tea at the Alice Boyle Garden Center at Swan Lake from 4-6 p.m. The Council of Garden Clubs will break out its silver teapots and white gloves or the equivalent thereof, said Theresa Woodrum, president of the Azalea Garden Club. The council uses proceeds from the tour to sponsor two horticultural scholarships and to maintain the garden center.

- As the football teams from Greer and Manning waited to rush on the field just before the start of the 3A state title game, the Greer cheerleaders held high a sign showing supreme confidence in their 14-0 Yellow Jackets. The sign Greer would ultimately run through said, "We're only here to make it official." And that they did. The Jackets showed they are the best 3A team in the state as they held the Monarchs to 48 yards of total offense in a 22-7 win at Williams-Brice Stadium. The victory gave Greer its second state title, the other coming in 1989.

- There's nothing like the Festival of Choirs to focus on the religious significance of the Christmas holiday. Sunday's edition - the 25th annual - was a forceful reminder that - as those lapel buttons say - "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." Eight church choirs from throughout Sumter County - plus the voices of the Shaw Air Force Base Skylarks directed by Teresa Hancock, and the Sumter Civic Chorale led by Patrick Veltre - combined talents to achieve a propulsive and purposive whole.

- Sumter County Council will discuss financial arrangements of the new regional jail system at its meeting. The meeting will be held in Room 211 of the Sumter County Court House. Sumter County Administrator Bill Noonan said that Sumter County will handle the finances for the first phase of the regional jail system, which is slated to begin in January. The system will distribute inmates between county jails in Sumter, Lee, Clarendon and Kershaw counties to reduce overcrowding in several of the facilities, including Sumter's.

- Sumter Christian's boys basketball team split two games to place second in the Sumter Christian Christmas Tournament held at the Bears' gymnasium. The Bears beat Maranatha Christian 65-37 in the first game. Jerrod Ragins scored 19 points, Chris Meldrim, Dan Caraway and Jeff Wilson each added 12 for the Bears. Ron Davis finished with 20 rebounds and Wilson 19. In the championship game, Garden City handed Sumter Christian its first loss of the season, taking a 62-55 victory.