Everything old is new again

Editorial Gary MugI get a lot out of reading Clayton Emry’s Items of the Past column every other week. It serves not only as a reminder of what I was writing about 25 years ago, but how much of what was happening then is happening again. It is kind of bittersweet to think that Clayton stopped using back issues of the G-T from the late 1970s, some 10 years ago. My name won’t be showing up amongst the school news any more, but that means I’m another 10 years older that my class is looking at their 35 year reunion this year.

I don’t remember articles from 50 years ago (thank heavens) – some of the names yes, and stories from the old-timers, but I was unable to read them when they came out. Fifty years ago Oroville was electing Walter Hart to the city council, of course that was Walt Hart II, our current councilman’s, Walt Hart III’s, dad. Fifty years ago the Hornets were having a winning season on the basketball court, then it was the boys, this year it was the girls (for the first time ever).

Twenty-five years ago the International Cup Organizing Committee was having trouble scheduling a regatta and as then, the Apple Cup appears to be off for this year. And, 25 years ago the voters in the Tonasket School District voted down a major construction and renovation bond issue – falling just short of the 60 percent majority it needed. Sound familiar?

The 1989 Wayne Verbeck was president of the Tonasket Kiwanis. He was teasing Oroville about being “North Tonasket,” a jibe at the Oroville club which sponsored them 40 years earlier and gave them a “South Oroville” banner. Unfortunately the Oroville Kiwanis Club is no more, but it’s great to know the Tonasket club is still going strong and should be celebrating 65 years this year.

This year we might not have a powerboat race, but there are plans to hold jet ski races on Lake Osoyoos, which sounds exciting. Especially since local jet skiers and their craft are invited to compete. Our local powerboat racers, Scott Thorndike and Eric Jones, always had the most diehard fans when they raced, so it will probably be true of anyone from north county that competes.

Clayton’s column is a good way to keep in touch with our past – unfortunately the  100 year-old 1914 issues of the Oroville Weekly Gazette seem to be missing, so he’s been filling in with issues of the Molson Leader from 92 years ago. As you can see this week in 1922 there was a lot of competition between the Oroville and Molson Schools, especially in basketball. And, there was snow falling in the Highlands in March, just like Marianne Knight reports in her Hilltop Comments this week. According to the Leader back then there was over a foot. Much of the Molson news concerned crop and livestock prices, but some of the names from 92 years ago have a familiar ring.

Although there were no reports in this week’s Items from the Past, my favorite articles from the Leader are about law enforcement’s struggle against the bootleggers who took advantage of our proximity to Canada to smuggle booze into the states. A great source for stories about the sheriff’s battle against bootleggers is a little book called “Scraps form a Hellbox” written by Carl M. Cleveland. If you like reading about early day Okanogan County and ever get a chance to read this book by a former Okanogan Independent reporter I recommend you check it out.

Combing through the old back issues takes a lot of work and we’re lucky Clayton is willing to do so. Choosing what to include and what not to can also be hard. I know I have to be careful because once I crack open one of those yellowed “bound” copies it’s addictive and hard to stop reading and get back to researching what I was looking for in the first place. Whether you’re new to the area or an “old-timer” we hope you enjoy reading Clayton’s column as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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