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From The Signal Archives: WWII and reefer madness

Posted: July 30, 2009 9:53 p.m.
Updated: July 31, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 90 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the July 21 and July 28, 1944, issues of The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Women in the workplace
“Feminine U.S. firefighters make first Newhall run” was a front-page lead about a new addition to U.S. Forestry Department — women.

“Monday, startled citizens of Newhall saw a big green U.S. Forestry pumper barrelling north on Spruce Street.

“There was nothing unusual in this sight, but those who looked closer saw that it was driven by a very determined-looking lady.

“The citizens did not know it, but this was the first official local run of Newhall Suppression Crew No. 1, made up of firemen Zoe Willis, Mary Jane Brunton and Dawn Rourke.

“This crew of feminine smoke eaters is established at the U.S. Ranger Station, and is prepared and willing to meet smoke, fire ... and any other hazards or exertions on any fire line in the national forest.”

Talk about high-risk fire areas
“Oil fire fighting methods learned at Santa Fe Springs not so long ago enabled County firefighters to suppress a dangerous blaze at a Western Gulf oil well in the Oak Canyon field early Tuesday morning, and save drilling equipment valued at $75,000 from destruction.

“Two members of crew on duty, Thomas Stokes and Harold Potter, were severely burned and were brought to the Community Hospital for treatment.”

War bonds beat quota by 250 percent
With the war effort in full swing, Soledad Township received a letter from Lynn Walker of the war bond fundraising efforts in Los Angeles County congratulating the community on its patriotic efforts.

The total sales of war bonds had hit $330,085, while the expected quota had been $125,000.

A separate column in that week’s issue asked for help for a local librarian who was assembling a map identifying where all of the SCV’s servicemen on active duty were located.

A War Chest drive was being organized for September.

Ratcheting up the rationing
“Farmers and other non-highway-users are now being supplied with E-2 and R-2 gasoline coupons, the OPA announced today.

“In informing gasoline dealers and distributors that the new coupons are out, and good for bulk purchases of gasoline.

“The new R-2s for 5 gallons are printed in blue.”
SCV’s reefer madness
“Blames belligerence on vino-marihuana” could have been the SCV’s first reported case of reefer madness.

“After being chased out of a Newhall Cafe with a broom one night last week, Senor Julio Lopez Torres walked to Saugus and there tried to start a one-man riot by throwing rocks at the S.P. (Southern Pacific) trains, and offering to battle the train crews.

“Arrested and brought to the Sheriff’s Station, Torres said that he had been drinking and smoking marihuana.

“Since no ‘reefer’ cigarettes were found in his possession, he was slated as a plain 1735, or common drunk.”
Vets seek jobs
“Visits of returning servicemen and women to the San Fernando U.S. Employment office have increased each month, according to an announcement today by Francis H. Ledbury,” a veterans employment representative for the War Manpower Commission. He pointed out that most of these veterans were applicants for jobs.



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