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100 years ago,

July 11, 1919

MATTOON -- Local grain dealers report that a number of threshing machines will not be started until next week, most of the farmers being too busy at other work to push wheat threshing. Only a small amount of wheat is coming in. Ernest Orndorff of the Big Four Elevator and Milling Co. reports that threshing was begun this morning on the George Elliott and Ed Waltrip farms west of Mattoon. At the J.S. Ashbrook plant wheat is coming from the T.M. Lynch, W.H. Bates and A.D. Chism farms and one or two other places. Elevator men are screening the wheat bought before shipping it to market, thus improving the grade. The screenings are to be used for chicken feed and other purposes... MATTOON -- Wayne Stephenson, who resumed work at the Illinois Central Railroad shops in Mattoon recently in the capacity of timekeeper, has been confined to his home for several days on account of illness and is under orders from the attending physician not to return before the first of next week. He is suffering from fever, which is said to be much like the trench fever experienced by the soldiers while in France during the war.

50 years ago, 1969

TOLEDO -- A group of Cumberland County residents has requested that Illinois Attorney General William Scott send a representative to a special meeting of the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors next week. A letter to Scott indicates the group feels "that circumstances which caused the resignation of (Sheriff Pat Thomas) should be investigated immediately." On Monday, the Cumberland board will meet to consider Thomas' resignation as Cumberland County sheriff, effective Aug. 1. Thomas, in submitting his resignation, to which he was elected in 1966, said his action was precipitated by the failure of the board to provide additional staffing in the office... CHARLESTON -- The City of Charleston held a special dinner last night honoring John Craft, Eastern Illinois University's standout triple jumper. Mayor Max Cougill presented Craft with a plaque commending him for his athletic achievements and the part he played in representing the citizens of Charleston at a national event. Craft recently completed appearances in the NAIA, NCAA College Division and NCAA University Division national track meets placing among the top three place winners in each contest. EIU track coaches Maynard "Pat" O'Brien and Bob Eudeikis attended with Craft. Scheduled to graduate this summer, Craft said he plans to teach in the Kankakee school system.

25 years ago, 1994

DOWNERS GROVE – Gov. Jim Edgar waved to reporters from his fourth-floor hospital room window yesterday, and physicians said he was recovering rapidly from quadruple-bypass surgery. Edgar’s wife, Brenda, was on hand to spike what she said were untrue reports that she had asked her 47-year-old husband to withdraw from his re-election campaign. “That is not correct,” the first lady said. “As a matter of fact, our whole family met with Jim last night, and we decided it would be more stress for Jim Edgar to withdraw from this race than to run for another four years,” she said… ARTHUR – RCA recording star Martina McBride and the world-famed Marshall Tucker Band will headline the entertainment at this year’s Moultrie-Douglas fair. The fair is July 18-23 at the fairgrounds in Arthur. The Marshall Tucker Band has been performing for two decades. Their hits include “Fire on the Mountain” and “Heard it in a Love Song.” Marshall Tucker Band will perform July 22 with McBride on stage July 23.

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100 years ago,

July 12, 1919

ARCOLA -- Mrs. W. H. Dulgar received a letter from her mother, Mrs. J.C. Beckwirth of Newton in which she stated that one day last week she was preparing to be away for the day and hung her bird cage out on the porch. On arriving home in the evening she was taking the bird inside when she noticed the cage was unusually heavy. On taking a look, she was very much frightened to find coiled inside the cage a snake that was 42 inches long. The snake had entered the cage and swallowed the bird but was then too wide to get outside the cage. The bird was 14 years old and was a present from the daughter, Mrs. Dulgar... CHARLESTON -- A pleasing freak of nature is to be seen in the rear yard of D.H. Dowling, Adams and Fifth streets, in the way of a tree growing a blooming sunflower stalk. The strange combination has been the subject of much discussion for some days. The big tornado of 1917 first destroyed the top of the tree, leaving nothing but a mutilated trunk 10 feet high. At the same time the high wind filled the side of the almost-destroyed tree with dirt. Either the wind or birds deposited the sunflower seeds. This spring the seeds began to sprout and soon grew into tall stalks. A few days ago the stalks burst into bloom. The tree trunk is badly weather beaten, and the only green growth is to be seen in the sunflower stalks.

50 years ago, 1969

MATTOON -- The towering smokestack at the IOOF Old Folks Home was toppled yesterday but things didn't go according to script. The smokestack was to have fallen to the southwest. Instead, it fell straight west and bent a utility pole. It also demolished a small building, knocked off part of a garage punctured a truck's gasoline tank and threw chunks of brick in every direction, some more than 100 yards. The smokestack, which dated to the latter part of the last century, was to be toppled shortly after 1 p.m. by the Fulk Construction Co. of Olney. Cable pulled by a truck and small bulldozer snapped twice and the smokestack surprised all by falling in the wrong direction... CHARLESTON -- Tilford Dudley, director of national affairs for the United Church of Christ, said he was kidding when he boarded an American Airlines flight and asked the stewardess how long it would take to fly to Cuba. But he was convicted yesterday in a Boston court on a charge of disturbing the peace and was ordered to pay a $200 fine. The judge told Dudley he was "absolutely amazed that a man of your education and a member of the bar would make a crack like that." Dudley, 62, a native of Charleston and a Harvard Law School graduate, was headed home to Washington, D.C., from his church's biennial meeting when he boarded the plane. State Police took him off the plane after the pilot refused to take off.

25 years ago, 1994

MATTOON -- Although enrollment is at a near all-time high, Lake Land College trustees last night expressed concern that enrollment among a certain group of students is down. Enrollment is at its second-highest number ever – 2,239 students – but enrollment among new students and transfer students is down. Larvick said it is good that the college continues to work on non-traditional student areas such as the John Deere training program. Enrollment for continuing students is up 7.7 percent and readmitted students is up by 44 percent, Larvick said. New student enrollment is down 25.9 percent while transfer student enrollment is down 19.1 percent. Trustee Mike Sullivan said one factor in the increased enrollment is more students at Danville Correctional Center… CHARLESTON -- Unanticipated payouts associated with an early retirement package sent Eastern Illinois University’s 1994 personal payouts sky high. EIU’s total personal payouts for Fiscal Year 1994 -- including early retirement, accrued sick leave and unused vacation time -- totaled $1.3 million. By comparison, 1993 payouts were $595,000. EIU officials said the increased is caused by the state’s early retirement program… CHARLESTON -- The Sporting News magazine’s preseason football report could make Eastern Illinois University running back Willie High complacent. In the magazine, the junior from Mattoon is the No. 2 running back on the NCAA I-AA’s All-America list, the Gateway Conference preseason Offensive Player of the Year and recognized as I-AA’s top returning rusher at 135.2 yards a game last season.

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