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In 1968, Southern Indiana Life Goes On Despite Stresses Of Vietnam War

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NEW ALBANY — Southern Indiana residents had plenty to pay attention to during the summer of 1968. The United States was at war and on the homefront there was a presidential campaign that grabbed the nation's attention.

The Vietnam War dominated the front page headlines across the country, including community newspapers such as New Albany's Tribune and Jeffersonville's Evening News.

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Here is a look at some other interesting stories in both newspapers during July, August and September of 1968. 

FLOYD COUNTY

There was plenty happening in Floyd County, including an interesting meeting between the Floyd County Commissioners and a group of World War I veterans.

In July of 1968, the two groups met. The veterans were speaking on behalf of the County Home on Grant Line Road which would later become the Floyd County Youth Shelter. While there was debate on what to do with the structure, the group told the commissioners it would be more affordable to rehabilitate the County Home instead of building a new one.

The "Barracks Boys" as they were known must have made a strong argument. The old County Home is still standing.

Other highlights:

JULY

• Bobby G. Brown, a 1965 New Albany High School graduate, was awarded a Bronze Star Medal by the Air Force for his valor.

• The Koehler property, off of State Street, is still awaiting a shopping center, which would be known as the New Albany Plaza. The 22 acres sold for $210,000.

• Plans were underway for the New Albany High School class of 1923 reunion at the home of Charlie Condra. More than 60 reservations were made for the festive event and more were expected.

• July proved to be a dangerous month on Indiana roadways. The month got off to a bad start as five people were killed July 1.

• Georgetown's Charlie Glotzbach won the pole position for NASCAR's Firecracker 400 at Daytona Beach.

• Fuzzy Zoeller, a 16-year-old New Albany High School student, shot a 77 in the third round of the Valley View Club Championship. He shot a 36 on the front side and 41 on the back nine. Paul Wilcox would go on to win while Zoeller tied for fourth.

• Local businessman E.M. Cummings died on July 16 at age 76.

• New Albany firefighters battled a large fire at Breece Plywood, located at 13th and McBeth streets.

• Jamey Aebersold was preparing to play a free concert at Community Park. Fifty years later, Aebersold is still entertaining residents at free concerts around Floyd County.

• Libby Paul, a student at New Albany High School, was crowned 4-H Fair queen.

• For those looking for a good price on grills, Fashion Fair had them for $7.88 each. Swimsuits were $4.99 and a pair of matching saddles were priced at $1.37 a pair.

AUGUST

• Indiana University Southeast Dean Edwin Crooks announced plans to construct six buildings at the new campus site off Grant Line Road in New Albany. Construction was scheduled to begin in 1969. The new campus planned to open in 1972 and enrollment was expected to be around 3,000.

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1968 - Floyd and Clark-1

This is a copy of an architectural drawing of the campus of Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana. 

• James Milliner was charged in the murder of Frederick Messenbrink on Water Street in New Albany.

• County Commissioner Richard Knable died.

• Employment rate in Floyd County hit the highest mark since 1944.

• The New Albany City Council approved a 28 percent tax rate for 1969.

• Fuzzy Zoeller defends his Valley View Junior Invitational title.

• Bev Zoeller wins the Ladies Valley View Club Championship.

• Richard Nixon gets the Republican nomination for president, while Hubert Humphrey is the Democratic nominee.

• Floyd Central High School was preparing for its second year of operation. School began on Sept. 4 in 1968.

SEPTEMBER

• The Floyd County Council approved a $1.5 million budget for 1969.

• Pillsbury workers voted to strike. The workers, making $2.87 an hour, were wanting a pay increase. The company was offering a 20-cent raise.

• A celebrity spent the day in New Albany. Davey Jones of the Monkees served as best man at the wedding of Charlotte Brown of New Albany and Ken Douglas of Louisville. The wedding was at Holy Family Catholic Church. Jones would later return to be grand marshal of the Harvest Homecoming parade.

• Floyd County was expecting a bumper tobacco crop in 1968. There were 203 farms in the county that produced the crop.

• The high school football season received plenty of attention during September. New Albany's offensive line was expected to be its strength. Rick Warren, D.J. Hines and Rick McCaffrey were voted team captains. The Bulldogs lost their season opener.

• Despite the play of Kevin Hornung, Providence also lost its season opener 27-13. Floyd Central didn't fare much better, losing as well.

CLARK COUNTY

An August plane crash that killed four people topped the headlines for the months of July, August and September 1968 in Clark County.

The private plane crashed and burned shortly after takeoff from Hap's Airport on Aug. 19, according to the Evening News. The victims were Carl William Haub, Calvin H. Haub and Calvin's two daughters, Debra Jean, 4, and Marsha Kaye, 5.

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1968 - Floyd and Clark-3

A historic photograph shows the remains of private plane that crashed shortly after takeoff from Hap's Airport on August 19 in Clark County. The crash killed all 4 passengers on board. 

Flames which destroyed the craft, an Aeronea Champ, were extinguished by the McCulloch Volunteer Firemen, the Evening News reported. A McCulloch Department spokesman told the paper that a wrist watch worn by one of the victims stopped precisely at 8:35 p.m.

"The position of the badly-charred bodies indicated that the two men attempted to use their bodies as impact protective shields for the two children," The Evening News reported.

Other highlights:

JULY

• July 1: U.S. Army Capt. Wayne A. Warner, Jeffersonville, received his second award of the Distinguished Flying Cross from Col. Lawrence J. Pickett for aerial combat in Vietnam.

• July 8: A chase by law enforcement authorities from two states at 2 a.m. featured a collision between two police cars, the wrecking of a convertible being chased and the theft of another car by the two fugitives involved.

• July 9: Clark County's spring tax collections totaled more than $5 million, county treasurer Julia Love reported.

• July 11: Ralph Baird was named principal of Northhaven School, which was to be completed in early 1969.

• July 12: Wayne Boling, a 44-year-old farmer and father of nine children, was fatally injured in a tractor accident.

• July 13: Tex's Barbeque, 202 E. 14th St., Jeffersonville, was slightly damaged by a fire-bomb shortly after a black Louisville woman, described by her sponsors as a former undercover agent for the FBI, spoke there.

Two other incidents were reported in the Claysburg area where only minimal damage occurred as a result of the "fire missiles." Sites of the other incidents were Tomlin's Market and Frederick's Lumber Company, both on 14th Street.

Miss Lola Belle Holmes, Louisville, had spoken at the restaurant on the threat of communism and the importance of creating harmony between the races, and she was sponsored by TACT (Truth About Civil Turmoil), the Evening News reported. A curfew was imposed from 11:30 p.m. to dawn shortly after the incident.

• July 14: Former Charlestown High School principal Robert Myers was named Clark County Schools superintendent.

• July 17: Gilbert L. Himmelhauer, Jeffersonville, was named "Outstanding Amateur Radio Operator of Indiana" by the Indiana Radio Council, another highlight of Himmelhauer's 42-year career as a ham radio operator. He was instrumental in creating the Civil Air Patrol in Indiana. Mayor Richard L. Vissing named him an Ambassador of Goodwill.

• July 26: Plans to start a nearly $500,000 "site improvement" program in the Riverside Central urban renewal area in Jeffersonville were disclosed by the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Department. Among the program's plans were "a pedestrian overlook" to be built at the foot of Spring Street, where it intersects with Riverside Drive. This structure would afford persons an opportunity to view the Ohio River and its aquatic activities.

AUGUST

• Aug. 5: The annual Clark County Fair got underway.

•Aug. 8: A 39-year-old man was hospitalized after his vehicle overturned while swerving to avoid hitting a Clark County 4-H steer. The mishap occurred in front of the fairgrounds as the steer broke free from its handlers and decided to stroll across the busy highway. The truck was carrying cakes, which resulted in sweet treats being spilled across the highway. The steer was unharmed.

• Aug. 9: Ten people were hurt after a two-car collision on Ind. 62 in front of the Clark County Fairgrounds.

• Aug. 17: Army Capt. William Steinhauer, Jeffersonville, received his first award of the Bronze Star medal for outstanding meritorious service in combat operations against hostile forces in Vietnam. Steinhauer also holds two awards of the Army Commendation medal.

• Aug. 21: A resolution of intent to merge with the Jeffersonville-Utica Community Schools was formally approved by the Charlestown Metropolitan School Board. The Charlestown school system is the latest of the area educational units to express a desire to merge with the Jeffersonville-Utica system, following by one week a similar move by Owen, Washington, Oregon and Bethlehem townships, the Evening News reported. Popular arguments against the proposal were loss of local control and a tax increase.

• Aug. 27: Mark Morris, Jeffersonville, competed in the Kentucky state weightlifting meet, and won the 15-year-old, 145-pound class.

• Aug. 28: Clark County's valuation increased more than $5 million, to $109,175,625. The biggest gainer over 1967 year was Clarksville, which increased $3.6 million to $24,254,410.

SEPTEMBER

• Sept. 4: Clarksville Junior High School on Ettels Lane was occupied by students for the first time. Principal Max Spaulding was pictured issuing instructions to students during an orientation session.

• Sept. 6: More than 17,000 students are attending public schools in Clark County's five educational systems, according to figures released Sept. 6. A total of 17,130 is enrolled in classes in Clarksville Schools, Jeffersonville-Utica Community Schools, Clark County Schools, the Charlestown Metropolitan School District, West Clark Community Schools and the Clark County school system. It was a decrease of 43 students from 1967.

• Sept. 12: A contract was awarded for a planned seven-story high-rise apartment complex on West Market Street in Jeffersonville for elderly, low-income residents. Cox & Crawley, Inc., of Louisville, was awarded the $1.2 million contract. The construction of the apartment building, between Spring and Pearl streets, comprised one phase of the Riverside Central urban renewal program.

• Sept. 12: Jeffersonville Police Chief Marion Deckard and detective Claude Hardy checked out some of the 15 stolen bicycles which were recovered by local authorities after breaking up what they termed a "professional-type" bike theft ring. Three boys, ages 13, 14 and 15, were arrested and are in the custody of the probation department, the Evening News reported. Some of the bicycles were of the "highly-expensive type," valued at up to $90.

• Sept. 16: Cpl. Richard Bartley, a 21-year-old Jeffersonville Marine who was killed in combat in Vietnam while attempting to save the lives of his comrades, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

• Sept. 17: Is indecent literature being sold openly and in quantity in Clark County? That was a question posed by the Evening News after Edgar Day, Floyd County, a leader in the Committee For Decent Literature, reportedly said that the situation in Clark County is "bad." Clark County Prosecutor Robert Schnatter said that he had no recent complaints on the matter.

• Sept. 17: George Garrett, 80, Jeffersonville, was recognized for his vast sea shell collection. As a result of wintering 24 years in Florida, Garrett has collected an incalculable number of shells: "large, small, and in-between; as vari-colored as the hues of a rainbow; and as many shapes as can be visioned in the hallucinations of an LSD-addicted surrealist artist," the Evening News Reported.

• Sept. 30: The Jeffersonville Post Office was burglarized by two or more thieves who used an acetylene torch to slice out a small section of the vault's door and loot cash boxes of money and stamps, but they left their tools at the scene after they apparently thought they had been detected.


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