Looking Back: Franklin County’s history January 17th

Franklin County’s history

Take a look back at Franklin County’s history through news and photos that appeared in local newspapers 25, 50, and 100 years ago on January 17th.

25 Years Ago 

January17, 1996Wednesday

“Scientists- New Flu Virus Could Case Pandemic” 

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A flu virus no one has ever been exposed to, one that can move swiftly, causing illness and death, social chaos and political disaster around the globe, could be incubating right now in a remote part of China.  

The prospect of pandemic influenza has scientists stacking up the public health equivalent of sandbags in anticipation of the coming flood.   

A pandemic occurs when a novel virus spreads fast, making huge numbers of people sick over a wide geographic area.  It has happened before, “and there’s no reason to think we won’t have it again,” said Dominick Iacuzio of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  

Unlike many of the bugs that go around every winter, “pandemic influenza is not a trivial disease. It’s a major threat,” he said.  It “would wreak tremendous damage on the U.S. and around the world.”  

When that might happen is anybody’s guess.   

“It’s a chaotic occurrence, not something you can predict,” said W. Paul Glezen of Baylor College of Medicine’s Influenza Research Center.   “It’s like trying to say when an earthquake is to occur.  You know the circumstances are there to allow an earthquake, but don’t know when it will happen.”  

Some think we’re already overdue.  Through the middle of this century, flu pandemics occurred in cycles – 1946, 1957, 1968 and 1977.  The worst of those, the Hong Kong flu of 1968, killed 70,000 Americans.  

But it couldn’t compare with in influenza up of a go It is say are but this and the the monster of pandemics, the flu of 1918. That is the stuff of medical legend, when more than 550,000 Americans and at least 20 million worldwide died, many in the prime of life.  

To ward off just such a disaster, experts from federal agencies, universities and research centers are working on a final version of a plan called “Prevention and Control of Influenza in the United States: Preparing for the Next Pandemic.”  Scientists in other countries also are devising contingency plans.  

Their mission is to be ready.  “Based on everything we know . . . there’s nothing that indicates why we should be protected from a new pandemic,” said Iacuzio.  “As people in the public health science, it would be irresponsible not to at least try to increase preparedness.”  

Flu viruses are amazingly mutable, changing microbiologic form like images in a kaleidoscope.  To scientists trying to concoct next year’s vaccine, they’re moving targets.  

Flu detectives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study hundreds of virus samples from dozens of labs around the world each year to make their prediction of which subtype is likely to dominate the next season.  From that information, drug manufacturers prepare the appropriate flu vaccine.  

So far, predictions have been good. More than 90 of the isolates tested this winter have been of the type included in this year’s vaccine.  

The viruses that cause flu lurk in ducks and other waterfowl, said Robert Webster, an expert on avian viruses at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis.  “Wherever you look in the world, the aquatic birds have influenza viruses.”  

The birds don’t get sick but “frequently transmit the viruses to mammals, and there the trouble starts.” 

 Humans “don’t have the right receptors to be infected by avian viruses,” he said, “but pigs do.  Pigs get infected by avian and human viruses.  Pigs are the mixing vessel.” 

50 Years Ago   


“12-Year Old Winner of Model Car Derby “ 

Chambersburg – Bradley Hepfer, 12, 536 Rifel St.. won the city championship in the 20th annual Model Car Derby Saturday by defeating Doug Rebok, 11, 556 E. King St., in the best out of three heats. The event was held in the recreation center.   

Hepfer earned the right to advance to the city play-offs by winning the Class A title for hopped-up cars and those with slick tires by defeating Scott Finley, 15, R. R. 8, in the finals.  Hepfer had earlier defeated Mark Finley, 12, and brother of Scott Finley in the semi-finals, while Scott Finley had defeated Gene Farner, 16, R. l. 8, in the other semi-final.  City champion Hepfer was runner-up in Class A last year.  

Rebok won the Class B title for standard cars with conventional tires by defeating last year’s Class B champion Doug Niemond, 15, 2125 Lincoln Way East, in the finals.  Rebok had earlier defeated Robert Mason, 15, 301 E. Catherine St., in the semi-finals, while Niemond had defeated Steve Horton, 14, Chambersburg, in the other semi-final. 

A total of 90 boys and girls, eight through 16 years of age, participated in this year’s derby cosponsored by the Recreation Department, Rotary Club and Franklin County Sports Car Club. I  

In the other major event of the derby, the drag race where all cars are electrically timed for speed, Jeff Royce, 12, 250 S. Eighth St., won the event with the winning time of 2.061 seconds.  Last year’s winning time was 3.371 seconds.  Second place was won by Kevin Kraieski, 13, 357 Cumberland Ave., with the time of 2.193 seconds, while third place was won by Tom Houser, 15, Marion with the time of 2.198 seconds.  

The City Champion received a $15 gift certificate and the city runner-up a $10 gilt certificate.  Runners-up in each class were awarded $7.50 gift certificates.  Semi-finalists received $5 certificates, all supplied by Uptown Sales.  Winners of the drag race were awarded trophies furnished by the Franklin County Sports Car Club. 

100 Years Ago  


“Presidential losers will number six after March 4 “ 

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(N.E.A. Staff Special)

Presidential losers of the major parties will number six after March 4. Four are ex-candidates for the presidency. One is an ex-president and another will become one. They are:  

WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN, who has received more votes for president than any other man, but never landed the office because his votes were distributed over too many elections. Bryan may be addressed in Lincoln, Neb. He still edits the Commoner and lectures. 

ALTON B. PARKER, who ran on the Democratic ticket, in an off year. Parker went from politics back to law.  ‘Tis necessary to send guards with the messenger who carries his fee to the bank.’ Parker is in New York.  

WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT, who went to teaching law, delivering lectures and writing pieces for the papers after he left the White House.  Taft Is regarded by many as the nation’s soundest thinker on momentous problems.  Address, New Haven, Conn.  

CHARLES EVANS HUGHES, who was president-elect for 24 hours or thereabouts in 1916 and decided to go back to lawing after the returns from California came in.  Hughes may give up his million-a-year law practice to become secretary of state, but that job will not keep him busy all the time!  Write him in New York.  

JAMES M. COX, after the count last Nov. 2 went back to finish up his job as governor of Ohio, now is editing his Dayton and Springfield newspapers and working on the farm at Trail’s End between times.  On hotel registers he writes Dayton after his name.  

WOODROW WILSON, who goes from the White House to a $150,000 home.  On top of buying it, he refused $150,000 to write just one article.  Wilson, an author of world repute before he became president, will devote himself to authoring.  You’ll continue to address him in Washington. 


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