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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 March 22nd.

25 Years Ago

March 22, 1995 – Wednesday

“POGS Kids are really flipping over fast-paced game”

Some Schools Won’t Allow It

Chambersburg — Pogs. It’s a game with an unusual name that has kids flipping for biker bugs, wise guys and wackoids.

“First the nerds started playing them at school,” said Jerry Miller, 13, who attends Chambersburg Area Middle School. “Then they asked me to play, and I thought it was OK.”

The cap-flipping game is quickly growing in popularity.

It lasts anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes: the perfect answer to recess boredom.

But pogs have also caused a bit of trouble, causing some schools to ban them.

In Fawn Grove in York County, school officials sent home a letter telling parents that pogs were causing fights. Slammers heavier discs were also being used as weapons, said South Eastern Middle School principal Benjamin Emenheiser.

The game also is discouraged or banned in schools in Windham, N.H.; Plano, Texas; and Spokane, Wash.

Yet many Franklin County administrators and principals have not heard of it.

“We used to flip baseball cards,” said Chambersburg Area School District Superintendent Edwin Sponseller. “Is it anything like that?”

The rules are simple: Each player has some pogs or caps — small thin discs, usually made of paper and a heavier disc, usually made of plastic — called a slammer. The pogs are stacked up high and a player whips the slammer on them. Pogs that flip over are “won.”

“An earthquake is when you flip them all over at one time,” Miller said. Bottle cap flipping games date at least to the 1930s, but the latest version started taking off in Hawaii in 1992. Children there called the game “pog” for the abbreviation P-O-G on the caps of a popular Hawaiian drink containing passion fruit, orange and guava.

Soon after, kids on the mainland started collecting caps and slammers, turning a sidewalk distraction into a multimillion-dollar industry.

The caps are now fancier, with designs from cartoon and movie characters to peace and animal symbols. They cost anywhere from a few pennies to about $7.

Slammers clear, opaque, with or without design, plastic or metal are often more expensive.

When playing for keeps, “you keep your good ones away,” said 12-year-old Donny Moats. “You don’t play with them, either, because you’ll beat them up.”

Although the pog phenomenon is new to most area school districts, Tuscarora elementary pupils have been finding decorated pogs on their school lunch trays for the past year.

Gertrude Giorgini, the food service director, introduced pogs to the schools after she visited Hawaii two years ago. Giorgini said her students enjoy collecting the caps and their popularity is growing.

“Some people are concerned about it being gambling,” she said. “But I don’t think it will ever be a problem here.” Area retailers are betting on growing pog interest.

After receiving several requests for the game, K mart received its first pog shipment three weeks ago.

The Chambersburg Kay-Bee Toy store is sold out of its supply.

But 11 -year-old Laura Sheaffer isn’t worried. Her 134-pog collection is the largest stash on her Starr Avenue block.

“I bought all of them,” she said Tuesday, stacking her pile high so her friend Aubrey Miller could knock them down.

50 Years Ago

March 22, 1970 – Sunday

“Phone Calls Cost More Next Week”

The United Telephone Company of Pennsylvania filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission March 15 seeking approval to add a 5.1 percent surcharge to customer’s bills effective March 25. It will apply to most telephone service and intrastate toll charges. Exclusion from the surcharges are toll calls to points outside the State and calls from public and semi-public telephones.

John G. Siemons, President, said the surcharge will recover part of the original cost from the following taxes capitol stock, corporate net income, public utility realty, and gross receipts taxes recently imposed by the Pennsylvania Legislature. The total of these increase taxes will amount to approximately $730,000 per year.

The surcharge, however, will not include any of the new or increased taxes between January 1 and March 25, 1970, nor will it include any taxes on coin telephone calls.

On July 1, 1967, the gross receipts tax was increased and on January 1, 1968, and January 1, 1969, the corporate net income tax was increased as a part of the 1967 tax package. The Company has absorbed all these taxes. In addition, the increased taxes on capital stock, corporate net income, gross receipts and the new public utility realty tax for the period January 1, 1970, to March 25, 1970, and the taxes on all coin telephone calls must be absorbed by the Company in the amount of $180,000.

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100 Years Ago

March 22, 1920 – Monday


Chambersburg – After being closed since July 22, 1918, the Western Maryland Railway freight warehouse will be reopened today or tomorrow with G. M. Conner of Lincoln Way East as freight and passenger agent. Mr. Conner will be assisted by D. A. Lutz, who will have charge of the passenger service at the local station. A new passenger schedule is being worked out at the Western Maryland offices at Hagerstown and likely will be announced within a few days.

Work was begun last week on making minor repairs to the warehouse preparatory to the resumption of operations here. Phone connections have been made and the offices made ready for use.

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