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Looking back 50 years


Auto Thieves Play Give And Take In Three Counties- A pair of bandits played a weird game of “musical chairs” Monday night, stealing and abandoning autos in three counties.

A 1959 auto was found abandoned at the Jack Weber residence in Fremont, in Steuben County. The auto thieves left the car, out of gas, to steal Weber’s 1958 model auto.

The Weber vehicle was found abandoned on the Cable Line Road, just east of Woodruff. Running low on gas, either diesel fuel or fuel oil had been substituted and the car had quit running. LaGrange County Sheriff’s officers located tracks of another vehicle leaving the scene.

A 1960 auto, Owned by Robert Day, of Angola route 1, was also reported stolen and later found at Adams Lake, also containing diesel oil.

A 1957 auto, owned by Lowell Hardy, operator of the Hardy Store at Adam’s Lake was stolen Monday night. The auto was observed at Big Long Lake early Tuesday morning with two occupants sleeping inside.

Investigating a tip, the LaGrange and Elkhart Counties Sheriff Departments later located the Hardy auto.

A 1956 auto, owned by Melvin Bontrager, of Shipshewana was reported stolen later Monday night and has not been found.

County Uses Unified Fire Reporting System- During the past two years, ending December 1, there have been 83 fires just in LaGrange. National fire authorities conservatively estimate that a full 75 percent of the annual fire toll taken is attributable to either utter foolishness or tragic carelessness.

For the most part, fires that account for damage are those which have been improperly reported and have resulted in unnecessary delay by fire fighters.

In recent weeks, several improper and false alarms have been turned in to the LaGrange Fire Department. Responding to such alarms- although they can not go unheeded- is courting danger to closely. While firemen are utilizing time and equipment to “chase down fires” they are at the same time leaving an area unprotected. And fire runs, over a period of months, can become rather expensive.

Prairie Heights Plan Receives Unofficial Two County Okay- Certification of the petitions filed with the LaGrange County Clerk William U. Harris November 24, in approval of the Prairie Heights School Corporation proposal.

The petition, was filed in 32 counterparts, carried the signatures of 905 persons residing in the townships of Milford and Springfield in LaGrange County.

Clerk Harris, in the filing of the legal certification, stated that 898 of those 905 signatures were found to be those of properly registered voters in the two townships. Howard Yoder, chairman of the LaGrange County School Reorganization Committee, received a copy of the certification on the day it was completed by Harris.

Steuben County Clerk Kenneth Maugherman reports that the petition filed with his office November 20, has not been fully checked against registration records.

Maugherman disclosed that slightly over 70 percent of the signatures from Milgrove Township were found to be valid. A partial check of Salem Township indicates that 80 percent may be found valid. Maugherman expressed belief that perhaps 65 percent of the signatures from Jackson Township would be okayed in the course of examination.

The Steuben County clerk stated that thus far enough signatures had been properly checked to indicate beyond any doubt that the county would exceed the 55 percent required by state law.

Official certification from that county is not expected, however, until about the middle of the month.


25 Years Ago in the News

December 11, 1987


Spreuer and Son receives final tax abatement approval from Town- The LaGrange Town board gave its final approval of a three-year tax abatement plan for a new Spreuer and Sons manufacturing plant to be constructed in LaGrange. The company, which manufactures boat trailers and engine parts, is planning a $241,000 manufacturing plant at the corner of Spring and Walnut streets at the site of the old railroad freight depot. The company will equip the new plant with over $50,000 in new equipment.

Attorney Doug Atz appeared before the board representing Spreuer and Sons. Atz presented the board with Finding of Facts on the development plan, citing the positive aspects for the community, including a “long-lasting assessed valuation.” Spreuer and Sons has estimated 15 jobs will be retained and 10 new employee positions will be created by the expansion of their business.
Rome City officer graduates from academy- Marshal William Warford, of the Rome City Police Department, will be among 106 officers who will graduate from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy on Friday, December 11. Indiana requires all non elected law enforcement officers to successfully complete basic training within their first year of police service. Failure to complete the training results in the officer losing the power to arrest.

Mr. Gerald L. Bepko, Vice President of Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis will be the principal speaker at the graduation ceremony. Colonel Arthur R. Raney, Jr., the Academy’s Executive Director, and Patrolman Michael L. Baker of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, the Class President, will also address the graduating officers, their families and guests.

PH High School mortgage goes “up in flames”- A large group of people who were instrumental in the building of Prairie Heights Jr.-Sr. High School gathered to watch the burning of the mortgage which began the construction of the school in late 1964. The mortgage burning ceremony was held in the high school library as part of the PH School Board meeting.

Former officers and member of the Prairie Heights Building Corporation and original trustees of the Prairie Heights School Board gathered to see the burning of the $1,670,000 mortgage. School Board attorney Bill Eberhard, a graduate of Prairie Heights High School, served as the honorary “mortgage burner.”

The school corporation paid off the mortgage bonds approximately seven years early. Eberhard appeared at the June 23 meeting this past summer to inform the school board that hey could close the original transaction and redeem the bonds. The board unanimously gave him approval to take the necessary steps, which culminated with the mortgage burning.