Friday, July 07, 2017

Fifty Years Ago This Week in West Rome - 7/10/1967 to 7/16/1967

Apparently Rome had a lot more crime than I remembered: in the early morning hours of July 10th, burglars broke into Owens Hardware, used heavy tools to “beat and rip open” the large double-door safe at the rear of the business, and stole an undetermined amount of cash and fifteen pistols with an estimated value of $800.00. The thieves left behind twelve rolls of pennies. On the same evening, burglars also broke into Enloe’s Drug Store at West End Shopping Center through a hole in the roof, and made off with $9.00. Yeah, nine bucks—and they didn’t take any merchandise or drugs, just the paltry amount of cash.

The next night, burglars broke into the Floyd County School Maintenance Center on US Highway 27, where they stole $60.00 in cash and some tools; Aristocrat Ice Cream Company, where they broke into a safe and stole $800.00 in cash; Rome Tool & Die Company, where they stole $30.00 in cash and about $500.00 worth of tools (and they apparently used the tools from Rome Tool & Die to break into the safe at Aristocrat Ice Cream); and Fred Lothridge Construction Company, where they stole $1500.00 worth of tools. This made six burglaries in two days—a Rome record, according to the police.

Two nights later, five service stations across Floyd County were hit by burglars The widely scattered locations—from Highway 27 South to Highway 27 North to West Rome to Kingston Highway—led the police to conclude that they weren’t dealing with a single set of thieves, but with a group of opportunistic burglars who may have been inspired by reports of local burglaries. 

On the evening of July 13th the Floyd County Board of Health gave Watson Street residents their say regarding their complaints against Minge Cement Company in a meeting that the Rome News-Tribune described as “one of the more active sessions of the year.” After hearing residents talk about heavy layers of dust, stagnant water, mosquitoes, noise, smells, and more, Rome City Commissioner Leroy Hancock (who was also a member of the Board of Health) said, “I think they have a very definite nuisance. Even though they now maybe do’t have pollution laws with teeth in them, they will have.” He went on to say that a mistake was made in granting a permit for the cement plant right next to residences, and that "it shouldn’t have ever been allowed there to start with." The situation got even more complicated when the Board of Health revealed that Judge Scoggin had requested that  residents not request the closing of the plant because it would slow down area construction projects—and then, a couple of weeks later, Judge Scoggin was assigned to hear the case after fellow judge Jerry Minge asked that the residents’ suit be thrown out. In spite of the conflict, Judge Scoggin failed to recuse himself and ruled against the residents. At the end of the meeting, County Board of Health Chairman  James Mehaffey told the residents, “I will do everything I can within my power to help you,” while Jerry Minge dismissed the residents and their complaints as “childish.”
Cities and counties were pushing for local option sales taxes in the mid-1960s, but Governor Lester Maddox was firmly opposed to the idea, “This tax would mean that when you have to go to Atlanta and purchase something you can’t find in Rome, your hard-earned money would stay in Atlanta, and would not benefit your home county or city at all,” Maddox said.

One thing that Rome City Schools and Floyd County Schools were NOT pushing for in 1967: year-round schools. Both system reported that there would be major problems if Georgia went to year-round schools. The problems were primarily financial: higher facilities maintenance costs, higher student transportation costs, higher salaries, and a maximum allowable school tax millage rate would cause problems for both the city and the county systems. If you really focused, you could probably hear students all over the city and the county cheering the news...

Heavy rain hit the Rome area on Monday, July 10th caused scattered flooding. Naturally, the creek on Paris Drive, which ran right behind Conn Street homes, flooded; residents reported that it was the worst flood in the Conn Street area since the city cleaned out the creek bed a couple of years before. The heavy rains pushed the Oostanaula Rover to 18.8 feet, which was more than ten feet above normal level. 

Piggly Wiggly had chuck roast for 35¢ a pound, Irvindale ice milk for 29¢ a half-gallon; and Castleberry beef stew for 49¢ a pound. Kroger had fresh fryers for 29¢ a pound, Morton’s frozen pot pies for 20¢ each, and Heinz barbecue sauce for a quarter a bottle. A&P had round steak for 79¢ a pound, Eight O’Clock coffee for 49¢ a pound, and a pound of Jane Parker potato chips for 59¢. Big Apple had Oscar Mayer hot dogs for 39¢ a pack, Wishbone salad dressing for 39¢ a bottle, and watermelons for 99¢ each. Couch’s had smoked ham for 39¢ a pound, tomatoes for 15¢ a pound, and Merita bread for 37¢ a loaf.

The cinematic week began with You Only Live Twice (starring Sean Connery as James Bond) at the DeSoto Theatre, Hawaii (starring Julie Andrews) at the DeSoto Theatre, and Hell on Wheels (starring Marty Robbins) at the West Rome Drive-In. (You Only Live Twice was the second James Bond film my parents allowed me to see in the theatre—the first was Thunderball. They had turned down my pleas to see Goldfinger because they thought it was too mature for a pre-adolescent because of the well-publicized gold-painted nekkid lady at the beginning. Having given me a set of Ian Fleming’s novels the Christmas afterwards, though, they decided to have faith in me and let me see Thunderball at the DeSoto. So by the time You Only Live Twice came out, there was no doubt I was going to see it—the only question was “how many times?” The answer was four. Hey, it was summer, I loved James Bond, and the DeSoto Theatre had great air conditioning as well as tasty popcorn!) The midweek switchout brought Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs to the DeSoto Theatre and Double Trouble (starring Elvis Presley) to the West Rome Drive-In, while Hawaii maintained a beachhead at the First Avenue for another week.

The Association’s “Windy” blew away the competition to hold onto the number one slot for third time this week in 1967. Other top ten hits included “Little Bit O’ Soul” by the  Music Explosion (#2); “Can’t Take My Eyes Off  You” by Frankie Valli (#3); “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie (#4); “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” by Petula Clark (#5); “Come On Down to My Boat” by Every Mother’s Son (#6); “Up—Up and Away” by the 5th Dimension (#7); “Light My Fire” by the Doors (#8); “C’Mon Marianne” by the 4 Seasons with Frankie Valli (#9); and “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum (#10). 

The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band climbed to the number one spot on the album charts this week in 1967, knocking the Monkees out of first place. And what a weird top ten albums chart it was—two Monkees album, a Herb Alpert album, a Bill Cosby album, an Andy Williams album, a Doors album, a Jefferson Airplane album, an Aretha Franklin album, and the soundtrack to Doctor Zhivago. Talk about something for all tastes!…

Adam Warlock made his first appearance in Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, & Joe Sinnott’s Fantastic Four #67, on sale this week in 1967. This was also the week that Avengers Annual #1 premiered, pitting the Avengers against the Mandarin in a 49-page feature-length tale by Roy Thomas & Don Heck.

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