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Harrington news

Mayor resigns, summer reading continues, historic canines


Last updated 8/1/2018 at 6:35pm

Mayor of Harrington resigns

A special City Council meeting was called Monday, July 23, at 7:30 p.m. with one item on the agenda, the mayor’s resignation letter. Mayor Dillon Haas called the meeting to order with five council members present: Davenport, Slack, Schenk, Cronrath and Tipton. Bunny Haugan, city clerk; Scott McGowan, maintenance man and 10 visitors attended: Paul Gilliland, Richard and Priscilla Derr, Cherie MacClellan, Marge Womach, Jean and Ted Axelson, Dave Michaelson, Chris Neeley and Darrel Connerly. Haas began his comments, “With heavy heart I tendered my resignation in executive session at the last council meeting.” He went on to state that due to his loss of employment in the computer field, he would be doing more travel and training, and possibly move, all of which would “hinder me from doing an optimum job.” He is preparing a calendar of activities for the upcoming mayor to have as a guide for when issues need to be handled. Davenport remarked that the mayor’s letter was most gracious, that it was a real pleasure to work with him these two and a half years and that the mayor could leave his position with his head held high. Slack stated that the date for the final work by Haas as mayor should be July 31. Haas’ letter of resignation contained an offer to relinquish his pay from May, June and July. The Council rejected that portion of his letter, voting 5-0-0 to accept his resignation. They discussed the need to advertise the position of mayor, deciding that letters of interest must be received prior to the next council meeting on August 8. Former mayor Paul Gilliland offered to fill the position and stated that he has presented the city clerk with his letter of interest. Haas’ final comment before adjourning the meeting was “I appreciate the honor it was to serve.”

Summer Reading Program

Thursday, July 19, Victoria Rice led the Summer Reading Program, Libraries Rock, with two students. During Storytime, they reviewed the book on percussion instruments, since these two children had not attended during that presentation. Soon a third child joined in and the group learned about xylophones and fractions. Using six glass jars, and measured amounts of water with food coloring, each jar rang with a different tone based on the 1/3 cup difference from the jar next to it. The children put on a skit, “Bark, George” which was performed for the librarian, the city clerk and library patrons. Two additional children came as they were released from Vacation Bible School at the Nazarene church. The children made animal cut-outs with three distinct body parts, head, torso and legs. When a recognizable animal had his body parts separated and added to another animal, the children roared with the mismatched animals they created. The children played “Stalking Prey” where one child is the prey and stands in the corner. The other children attempt to sneak quietly to get to him without being noticed. They seemed to enjoy the art of listening and recognizing distinct sounds, even when it seems they were being quiet.

Historic canines

As early as 1888, news items made mention of dogs and how they were involved in the lives of the early pioneers. Many of the pioneers brought the family dog or a hunting dog with them from their former home. The Cormanas, Markwick, O’Neil and Reid came from Missouri in 1899 and among their many possessions was one bull dog. The Gottlieb Knapps and the Cardwells each had dogs; George had his shepherd and Johnnie Cardwell had a bulldog. The boys would find considerable mischief with their pets. C.L. Snider at Mohler had brought his dog, Old Joe, from Minnesota. The Unbewust family reported the ownership of one dog on their homestead application. Quite often, a loose dog “ran out and frightened the horses” causing them to stampede. Such was the case in the summer of 1888 when a stockman was driving a band of horses through the lane at Wm. Yarwood’s place. This resulted in the horses becoming entangled in barbed wire fence which had been put up by Mr. Haynes. One horse died instantly, while another was so severely cut it was predicted to die. In December 1899, Mr. and Mrs. Berry Luper were in Davenport in their horse-drawn buggy which was frightened by a dog and their horse broke into a run. The Lupers were bruised a bit by the violent thrust into a telephone pole, which caused them both to be thrown on the ground. Similarly in the spring of 1905, ex-mayor G.K. Birge, the jeweler, was driving down the hill near Kirchan’s place. A dog came out and frightened the horses. One of the horses was so upset by the dog that he kicked over and broke the tongue which pierced into the earth and caused the buggy to flip over. Birge was badly scratched and bruised, but picked himself up and carried on. In 1917, young John Miller was riding his horse to school at Bluestem when a dog frightened his horse at the edge of town. The eight-year-old boy’s neck was broken and his skull fractured.

Dogs were not often seen as the culprit that caused disaster; more often than not they were praised for the houses, barns and families that were saved by the alert sent out by the barking dog. W.B. Armstrong lost his $4500 residence and its contents four miles west of Harrington. The house had been built about five years previous to the fire. Had the dog not been so persistent in rousing the Armstrongs, the family would have perished in 1909. In 1939 in Bluestem, Mrs. C.P. Merry was awakened by her dog, Skippy, who was alerting her to three intruders who fled. In 1945, the Lawrence Timm home caught fire, and Mrs. Emma Dobson was disturbed by the Kloster dog. She finally rose to see what was wrong and discovered the fire next door. The insistent alarm by the dog saved the house, the only loss being furniture which had been dragged out of the house, a rug and the floor below the rug.

While most of the people that were bitten by dogs did not get recorded in the paper, quite a number did. Some of these items may be of interest. “Master Joe Talkington, the second son of W.E. Talkington, was severely bitten by the family dog, the latter part of last week. The dog, which was considered perfectly safe and was the playmate of the children, without cause jumped onto the boy, biting and lacerating his arm in a most ugly way, and but for the boy’s defending himself would have bitten his face and throat. The canine was sent to dog Hades without loss of time.” (Citizen: 9-15-1905) In 1916, Florence, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Hayman, received serious scalp wounds from a neighboring dog. Myrtle, nine-year-old daughter of C.J. Hildebrand, was quite painfully bitten by a dog in 1918.

In 1908, Mohler had a group of hunters with their dogs called the Mohler Wolf Club. Members of the club were Bill Shields, Ed Shields, A.B. Schwab, Lou Ochs, John Ingalls, Joe Maurer, Charles Wood and Charles Harrison. “Schwab had Sailor and Trailer, Bill Shields with his dog Pup and John Ingalls with six dogs. Of all the dogs, Billie’s Pup took first prize. Sailor and Trailer started the first coyote. Pup came in and headed him off, knocked him down and the three stretched him out on short notice. The second one was caught by Sandy and Jack Ingall’s favorites, and the third one by Pup. After the chase, Mr. Ochs served a delicious dinner which they all enjoyed.

Rattlers arouse considerable interest in this area. In 1930, a valuable Chesapeake hunting dog that belonged to Jim Abbott received a severe rattlesnake bite at the Abbott farm 10 or 12 miles west of Harrington. The dog was rushed to veterinarian George Unbewust who gave the dog a $10 shot of anti-snakebite serum. After three days Unbewust proclaimed that the dog would recover. “This serum is used for human beings, and was used the first time on a Harrington human when ’Sport’ Tinner was bitten by a rattler a year or so ago.”

Five dogs were a good part of the patriotic group that attended the solemn daily ceremony for more than 37 years as Mrs. Jacob Ott raised the flag over the Irby Post Office. The other observers were chickens, a gray goose and cats. The post office was attached to her kitchen. She began this task in 1925.


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