From Our Files (Feb. 16, 2022)

Feb. 17, 1972

About 60 people crowded into the school district conference room for the school board meeting this week.

A number of parents voiced dissatisfaction with ungraded report cards from elementary and junior high schools. Most of the meeting involved discussions from parents, board members and school administrators of merits of various types of grading systems.

Parents said the ungraded cards – giving only S for “satisfactory,” and U for “needs improvement” – would remove students’ incentive to strive for higher grades, and it also gave the parents no idea what kind of work their child was doing in school.

It was brought to city officials’ attention that Sweet Home has an oil problem when a resident on 9th Avenue noticed oil in a small creek in the area, and a number of dead fish.

The source of the problem was traced to the high school. Two weeks ago, a pressure line feeding crude oil to the boilers in the heating plant burst over the weekend and leaked fuel on the floor.

Excess oil flowed through a drain and traveled the unnamed creek that flows behind the Plaza Shopping Center, dumping into the Santiam River about 100 yards above Ames Creek. A group of students armed with buckets and shovels worked an afternoon to clean up the area behind the shopping center.

Motorists in Sweet Home flocked to Truax Gas-For-Less Station, 890 Main St., to take advantage of a reduced price in fuel. There were so many cars lined up to buy gas that sometimes the line extended into the street. “I haven’t bought gas at this price since way back in the 1930s when I still had a Model A,” one customer said.

It began when the operator of the station, Cliff Cannon, dropped his price one-cent below his competitor across the street, Cheap Charley Station, at 12th and Main streets.

But Cheap Charley’s policy is to sell its gas a cent cheaper than any other station in the city. Owners Mr. and Mrs. Lonnie Krause had to drop their price from 24.9 cents for regular gas to conform to its policy when Truax lowered its price.

The price war continued. Within 30 minutes Cheap Charley’s price was at 18.9 cents, and they shut down for the day. The next morning they called Cannon to tell him they wouldn’t play his games, and they returned their price to 28.9 cents.

Cannon raised his price to 28.9 cents later that afternoon. The next day, they were both advertising at 27.9 cents.

Feb. 12, 1997

Sweet Home Police Chief Bob Burford said during a presentation that one of the best things a person can do to rid a neighborhood of a drug house is to let the residents involved in the illegal activity know they are being watched.

The presentation was among one of five being offered in a series of neighborhood meetings at around town.

Burford also shared crime patterns and statistics for neighborhoods, and indicated there is not a “bad” neighborhood anywhere in town because it’s usually just one family in a neighborhood that causes the problems.

Among the most troubling problems Sweet Home police have seen lately are gangs and graffiti. Fourteen gangs have been documented by police in Sweet Home: Crips, Bloods, Asian gangs, the Red Dragons, the Out for Action Kings, the West Side 13th Street Crips, the American Front Skinheads, the Black Jack Mafia, and the Mexican Mafia.

Forty-five years after Tommy Moore beat Paul Ingram in a community yo-yo contest, the two reunited at Hawthorne Elementary where Moore was giving a demonstration of the toy.

When they were boys, the two lived in small-town Haines in eastern Oregon. The community sponsored a yo-yo contest; Moore took first place and Ingram took second.

Moore went on to the state contest, but he intentionally flubbed a move so he could win fifth place. That’s because the first prizes were scholarships, but fifth place earned a bicycle.

Now Moore does 100 demonstrations of the craft cross-country, and he came to Sweet Home when he learned Ingram lived there.

District 55 Supt. Bill Hampton reported at the school board meeting that the dropout rate had fallen in 1995-96. The high school had 47 dropouts that year for a 6.28 percent rate, which was down from the previous year when the district experienced a 9.82 percent dropout rate. The average for the state in 1995-96 was 7.23 percent; for Linn County it was 8.63 percent.

Hampton credited the decreasing rate to programs like Fairview Alternative School and other programs aimed at keeping students in education. School staff determined that 12 of the 1995-96 dropouts were due to frequent discipline referrals. Working more than 15 hours a week and pregnancy each accounted for five reasons for dropout, and 20 students listed their reasons as the course work not being relevant.