Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Britain's Prince Charles changes schools to 'toughen up'

The Nov. 15, 1963, East Oregonian ran a special story from London for Prince Charles’ 15th birthday. It seems that the powers that be in Great Britain were a little concerned about the future king’s interests at school and decided a little “manning up” was necessary.

The heir to the British throne has one of the longest official names and set of titles you’ve ever heard: His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, knight of the Garter, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Lord of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, the Great Steward of Scotland. Charles was described in the article as “shorter than the average boy of 15,” but was growing fast at Gordonstoun, a tough Scottish secondary school. Students there learned, among other things, to sail, navigate and rough it. The story claimed “It’s no institution for effete young men.”

Turns out young Charles had been showing more interest in the arts than in “manly” pursuits. At his previous school he excelled in painting, drawing and music, and took an interest in cooking, even baking several cakes. That was when his posh education at Eton was shelved and he was shipped off to the rough-and-tumble Gordonstoun, where he became a good horseman, an excellent sailor and a fine marksman.

Fifty years later, Prince Charles is a leading patron of the arts, children’s interests, education, business, leadership and global sustainability. The Prince’s Trust was established in the mid-1970s and now is the largest multi-case charitable enterprise in the UK. In a recent interview published on Canada’s National Post website (Oct. 27, 2013), Charles said “he feared becoming King would affect his role working with charities.”

“I feel more than anything else it’s my duty to worry about everybody and their lives in this country, to try to find a way of improving things if I possibly can,” he said.

Regardless of Gordonstoun’s role in Prince Charles’ development as a man, he has retained the humanity of his youth — and that can only be to the UK’s benefit.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Council chases off police chiefs

By November 15, 1976, six police chiefs in less than 12 months had said goodbye to the city of Echo, and trouble with the city council was the culprit most often named.

The revolving door began in February, when Bonnie Rogers, who had served for more than a year, left for a better job offer. Her replacement, Frank Batrell, stayed for several months but quit because he had “too many bosses.” His replacement, Alan Berg, quit soon after he was hired. In a Nov. 5 article in the East Oregonian, chief number 6, Antone Wasilk, said he was resigning for medical reasons; he had been on the job less than three months. He was hired to replace John Swartrauber, who resigned after only a week on the job. In the article, Echo Mayor Irvine Howard said the troubles had been exaggerated and that most of the chiefs left because “their wives didn’t like it here.”

A follow-up article on Nov. 15 interviewed Wasilk, who pointed the finger squarely at the Echo City Council, saying their “interference” was aggravating his blood pressure. Council members constantly called him, he said, asked him where he was going when he left town and questioned his decisions. He said Mayor Howard was “the only one who seemed to think I was doing a good job.”

David Milliken, a former Echo resident who also served as a reserve police officer there, supported Wasilk’s claims, saying he thought the resignations of Wasilk and some of his predecessors were precipitated by something other than “their wives not liking the city.” Milliken, a former Air Force security policeman, served as a reserve officer in Echo for two weeks before being removed following an alleged incident involving a councilman and Wasilk.

When John Rosenan was named Echo’s seventh police chief at a Nov. 17 city council meeting, the council also decided that Mayor Howard would be solely responsible for the police department. “If the chief is responsible to one person, it might work out better,” councilman Earl Green said. The expectations of the job, however, included that the chief must be able to take constructive criticism from the council and be on call 24 hours a day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Controversial painting causes no outrage in Pendleton

In October 1913 a downtown Pendleton store displayed a painting in one of its front windows that was embroiled in a nationwide controversy. The painting, entitled “September Morn,” showed a young woman demurely bathing nude by the edge of Lake Annecy in Haute-Savoie, France.

The East Oregonian’s coverage was brief, but pointed. “Chicago, with her puritan instincts, may judge that September Morn is not a proper sight for her morally sensitive populace and the United States navy may take an equally stern attitude toward the much criticized picture, but Pendleton is no prude. With true western breadth of mind she refuses to pattern her ideas of propriety after the fashion of some of the straight-laced eastern cities. All of which is preliminary to saying that pictures of the ‘gude little, nude little maid,’ shivering as she stands in a pool of water, are on exhibition today in a local store window and so far no disciple of Anthony Comstock has appeared — even to suggest that the pictures should be relegated to the back rooms or at least draped.”

“Matinée de Septembre” (September Morn) was painted by French artist Paul Émile Chabas over three summers ending in 1912. The painting was first exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1912, where it won a medal but didn’t cause a stir. In 1913 it was displayed in the window of Fred Jackson’s art gallery in Chicago, and when the painting was brought to the attention of Mayor Carter Harrison Jr., he charged Jackson with indecency, citing a violation of the municipal code that banned the exhibit of “any lewd picture or other thing whatever of an immoral or scandalous nature.”

The resulting court case was heard on March 20, 1913. Even with testimony from a local pastor and a schoolteacher, who worried about the painting’s effect on children, the jury acquitted Jackson after deliberating only thirty minutes. Chicago’s city council responded with an ordinance the next month banning “nude pictures in any window, except at art or educational exhibitions.”

Two months after the Jackson trial a self-appointed vice crusader, Anthony Comstock, tried to strongarm a New York City art dealer into removing the painting from the front window of his gallery. Store manager Philippe Ortiz stubbornly kept “September Morn” displayed until crowds wanting a peek began preventing his regular customers from entering the gallery. Comstock never followed up his threat with legal action, and Ortiz later claimed in the New York Times that Comstock had used the controversy to gain notoriety for himself.

Thanks to the controversy, the painting became one of the most famous images of the 20th century. Though it was originally lauded by the art world, critics would eventually label the painting as kitsch (a low-brow style of mass-produced art or design using popular or cultural icons). It is still a popular image, however, and reproductions continue to be sold on postcards and other collectible merchandise. The original painting hangs in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Heroism earns Pendleton man Carnegie medal

A Pendleton man who saved the life of his employer was recognized as a hero in October of 1934 by the Carnegie Foundation.

Alfred J. Beard, 22, was working on the Wallula cutoff job site March 31, 1933, about eight miles east of Umatilla with the Newport Company, which had contracted to do surfacing work at the site. Beard was off-shift but had stayed to watch the blast of a quarry tunnel and heard that two men had been overcome by carbon monoxide following the blast. Marshall Newport, son of the company’s owner, had helped to retrieve the men but was then overcome himself. An article in the Oct. 27, 1934, East Oregonian said “young Newport, contracting superintendent, went into the tunnel to investigate. He had gone 70 feet and Beard, who was watching him, saw him sink down, overcome by the gas. In falling Newport struck his head on an iron rail.”

Beard leapt into action and entered the tunnel to pull Newport out. The superintendent outweighed him by 75 pounds, and Beard had to come out of the tunnel once for air before the rescue was complete. Beard also collapsed after bringing Newport out, and both men were taken to the hospital in Hermiston. Beard remained in the hospital for a month, and was then treated for a week by a Portland heart specialist.

He was awarded a bronze medal for his act of heroism, and the inspector for the Carnegie Foundation also said a cash award ranging from $50 to $1,000 was a possibility.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Beard of Milton and son-in-law of County Judge C.S. Cheshire, Alfred Beard had attended McLoughlin High School and graduated from Enterprise in 1930.

The Carnegie Hero Fund was established in 1904 to recognize persons who perform extraordinary acts of heroism in civilian life in the United States and Canada. Established by Andrew Carnegie with a trust fund of $5 million, the fund has awarded 9,611 medals as of June 2013, including 148 to Oregonians. Other local awardees are Laurence S. Case, 16, of Heppner who attempted to save a drowning girl in the Columbia River near Brewster, Wash., in 1929 (both were drowned in the attempt); Leonard E. Swanson, 22, of Umatilla who helped save a 44-year-old man from drowning near Oxnard, Calif., in 1954 (both survived); Carlton Green, 40, of Milton-Freewater, who in 2007 saved a one-year-old boy from a burning building in Walla Walla (both survived); and Trevor Jordan Tally, 21, of La Grande who drowned in 2009 trying to save a 6-year-old boy and his 64-year-old grandmother who had fallen off a dock into Hells Canyon Reservoir in Idaho (the boy and his grandmother survived).