The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Good Old Days 02-14-14


Compiled By The Sidney Sun-Telegraph Staff

These stories from the past first appeared in The Sidney Telegraph. Original writing is preserved, though some stories were shortened for space reasons.

100 Years Ago

'Didn't Know His Own Brother - Man Who

Lost His Memory Identified At Omaha'

February 14, 1914

Omaha, Feb. 11-Frank L. Finch, editor of a weekly paper at Littleton, Colo., who has been held by the police here since Sunday last, was identified by his brother, Clarence S. Finch, editor of a newspaper at Julesburg, and member of the Colorado legislature. Frank L. Finch is suffering from loss of memory, and failed entirely to recognize his brother.

The unfortunate man left home Oct. 1, and no trace of him had been obtained until his arrival here. He gave the name of S. F. Odell, but told the police he could remember nothing else about himself. He appears sound mentally on all matters except his own identity.

75 Years Ago

'Nine Below Zero

Is Low Sidney Reading As Cold Wave Hits - Entire Nation Slated

For Sever Weather'

February 10, 1939

Business Has Sharp Relapse As Mercury Skids; Arctic Attack Scheduled To Continue To Eastern Seaboard

The first severe cold snap of the winter sent the mercury topling to nine degrees below zero in Sidney early Wednesday morning-lowest reading of 1939.

Thursday morning's low mark was four degrees below zero. The mercury had not gone above 16 at any time Wednesday or Thursday.

Some relief may be received in Nebraska this week end, although the weather bureau sees no important break in the cold spell, The sudden change paralyzed business in Cheyenne county. Car owners had difficulty starting their machines Wednesday and garages were kept busy all day. Coal dealers also were rushed as dwindling supplies of coal were replenished.

The mercury was skidding fast Thursday afternoon, threatening to bring a new low for the winter Thursday night. At one p.m. yesterday the official reading was two below zero and a two p.m. the mercury had dropped three degrees to five below zero. A chilling north wind added to the suffering.

Farmers were taking every possible precaution to guard their livestock against temperatures which might reach fifteen below zero.

A wave of Arctic cold moved eastward Wednesday along a trail marked by subzero temperatures.

The mass of chilling air extended from Alaska to Illinois. In nine states readings under the zero level were recorded. An official low of 38 below was registered at Dickinson, N. Dak., while an unofficial 44 below was reported in Westhope, N. Dak., near the Canadian border.

Forecasters predicted the cold wave would push to the Atlantic seaboard but would lose force gradually as it advanced.

Farther east a sharp drop was in prospect. A 30 degree plunge was forecast in Pittsburgh after the mercury had climbed to the 50's. Louisville prepared for a fall to 10 degrees above zero. Milwaukeeans stoked their furnaces for a 5 below snap while 20 to 25 below frigidity was in store for other parts of Wisconsin. Subzero warnings were issued for Utah and Idaho whole a snow storm sweeping north from southern Utah closed schools in Cedar City. Eastern Washington experienced the coldest spell in two years. A two day snow drifted over roads.


'Oil Search Returns

To Its Cradle'

February 14, 1964

Oil exploring is being resumed within a mile of the spot where the Mary Egging discovery in 1948 set off all the fireworks in the Denver-Julesburg Basin.

Winslow and Hayes and Ozark Corp. announced they will drill the No. 1 Egging (C SE NWSec.13-15-49) in an abandoned producing area once known as the West Fell Field. Toltek Drilling Co. is the contractor for the job.

The site is about a mile southeast of the Mary Egging No. 1, the most famous of the thousands of wells which have been drilled in the basin since Marathon (Ohio) Oil Co. made its electrifying discovery in May, 1949.

The operators, in applying for a drilling permit with the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said they will go the 'J' sand.

Two other wells are scheduled for drilling in Cheyenne County-the No. 1 Offerson and the No. 1 Karnik-both in the west end of the county, but they had not been started as of this morning.


'Sander Cites

Insanity In Plea'

February 15, 1989

Michael L. Sander pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Tuesday morning.

Sander, 34, of Lodgepole, charged with felony murder in the death of Eva Omel, had received a psychiatric evaluation as part of the defense's for his trial on felony murder charges.

He appeared at 10:05 a.m. before Judge John D. Knapp in Cheyenne County District Court and entered the plea through his court appointed Bill Luben of Sidney and George Clough of North Platte. A notice of 'Intent to rely upon the insanity plea' was filed Tuesday with the District Court's Clerk's office.

A jury trial was scheduled by Judge Knapp for 9 a.m. February 14, in Cheyenne County District Court. The State, according to statute, will file a motion for evaluation through Robert P. Goodwin, former Cheyenne County Attorney. He represents the State in his capacity as Assistant County Attorney.

Omel, who died Oct. 6 at West Nebraska General Hospital in Scottsbluff, had been found in serious condition in her home Sept. 21at Lodgepole by Cheyenne County Sheriff Darrell Johnson.

The sheriff had been called by a Superior, NE, police department to find out if Sander and Martin Fraass, 27, also of Lodgepole, had been given permission to have Omel's car. Both men were being held in Superior.

After the call from Superior,, Johnson wasn't able to contact Omel by telephone, so he drove to her home in Lodgepole. After Johnson found her, she was rushed to Memorial Hospital in Sidney for emergency treatment, then transferred to Scottsbluff where she had been listed in critical condition at West Nebraska General Hospital.

Both men were being detained at Superior. They were transported back to Sidney by the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Department Sept. 21. Sander and Fraass were originally charged with burglary, first degree assault and theft. Fraass, charged with manslaughter for his part in the death, pleaded guilty Febr. 7.

Fraass appeared for arraignment before Cheyenne County District Court Judge John D. Knapp. He was represented by Sidney attorney Steve Mattoon.

Goodwin, asked by Judge Knapp, whether a plea agreement had been reached, revealed, "The state has agreed, for a plea of guilty and the defendant's agreement to cooperate truthfully with regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, that the state will agree not to file additional charges."

Manslaughter is a Class III felony and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and $25,000 fine. The minimum penalty is one year in prison. Felony murder is a Class I or 1A felony punishable by death or life imprisonment.


'Lottery Director

Won't Face Charges'

February 13, 2004

The head of the Nebraska Lottery will not face charges over a trip he and his wife took to Greece that was paid for by a lottery vendor, Attorney General Jon Bruning said Thursday.

Bruning said a State Patrol investigation concluded that Quinn always intended to repay the $5,000 it cost to send his wife on the trip.

Quinn and his wife Kathy traveled to Greece in September after Intralot was awarded the new contract with the Nebraska Lottery so Quinn could inspect Intralot's operations.

But state laws prohibit public officials from accepting gifts of travel or lodging for their spouses while on state business,

Intralot is one of three companies owned by Greek tycoon Socrates Kokkalis.

"The mistake Jim Quinn made was not paying for his wife's ticket at the outset," Bruning said.

"It's my judgment that he intended to pay."

Bruning said that a routine audit in December showed that Quinn had not yet reimbursed Intralot for his wife's trip.

Quinn e-mailed the company Dec. 17 and asked for an invoice for his wife's travel. It arrived at the lottery offices Dec. 23.

He said Quinn did not immediately pay it, mainly because he was getting ready for the Christmas holiday and he was swamped at work.

The invoice was misplaced and the company sent another on Jan. 26. Quinn paid the invoice on Jan. 29, and the check was cashed on Feb. 3, Bruning said.

Bruning said Quinn had told several people long before the audit that he was going to repay the money.

"For me, it came down to intent," Bruning said.


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