Looking Back for April 17, 1958

New factories in prospect for Routt County


From the Thursday, April 17, 1958, edition of The Steamboat Pilot:

Prospects for development of the many natural resources of Routt County are looking brighter.

Utilization of the beetle-killed spruce in the southern end of the county appears to be the No. 1 project. However, also in the offing are plans to use the aspen wood that is so abundant in this area.

The coal deposits also are in for much investigation this summer, and oil development definitely is in the cards.

A small assembly factory to make parts for the defense efforts is not beyond the realm of possibility.

The original plan for establishment of a particleboard plant in the Phippsburg-Oak Creek area was touched off by the Southern Routt County Chamber of Commerce. Now it is thought that a sheath board offers a better market and would not take as extensive an investment for a plant.

Arthur Maijala, veteran lumberman from Yampa, will visit the government experimental plant in Wisconsin to make further study of the possibilities of use of the long fibered spruce that is abundant on the Routt and White River National Forests.

Bill Roope, member of the Chamber of Commerce Committee, has been in Grand Junction and Montrose this week investigating other possibilities of manufacturing from the forest. Montrose has a new factory costing more than $1 million that uses aspen wood for manufacturing doors and cores for furniture. This has proven a successful operation.

Harold R. Smethillis and Milton G. Danielson, representing the Small Business Administration, were in Steamboat last week and conferred with the Southern Routt County committee and Forest Service officials.

They gave assurance that the SBA is ready and willing to assist in financing any enterprise that can be shown to be feasible.

Kindergarten will open next fall

Steamboat will have a kindergarten next fall was the unanimous judgment for the School Board at its meeting Monday night.

Twenty-four people, headed by Everett Bristol, who presented a survey of favorable opinion to the board, attended the meeting.

Also highlighting the meeting was the offer of teacher's contracts, accepted by 29 out of 34 teachers, with Mr. and Mrs. Miller Stewart among those accepting after turning down a job offer to teach in Canada.

In other business the board decided to make its final payment on the new school building, set plans for recontinuation of driver's education next fall and approved a program whereby speech correction would be taught in Craig, Meeker and Steamboat high schools with one teacher employed by the three schools. (The state pays one half of the cost of the program.)

All except two families contacted by the survey committee on the kindergarten, which soon will be a reality in Steamboat, were in favor of this early preparation of their children. Only four children out of 100 would not be able to attend, mainly because of transportation difficulties.

The kindergarten will not be compulsory when it opens next fall. It will operate in half-day sessions and buses now available for school transportation in established routes can be used for one-way passage. Parents would have to provide a trip back or to school, according to their child's hours.

Space is available and the necessary funds (about $5,000) are on hand without any need to raise the school levy.

Pearl Michaels sentenced to serve 12 to 14 years in pen

Found guilty of murder in the second degree, Pearl Gates Michaels was sentenced Saturday to serve not less than 12 and not more than 14 years in the state penitentiary.

The second-degree murder verdict was returned at 11 p.m. Thursday by a jury that deliberated six hours. She was found guilty of the hammer murder of John H. Austin, Oak Creek barber, who was killed Feb. 26.

Following her conviction, Nicholas Magill, court-appointed defense attorney, was given 10 days to file motion for a new trial. Saturday morning he informed the court that such a motion would not be filed and District Judge A.M. Gooding announced the sentence. In second-degree murder the minimum penalty is 10 years and the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

District Attorney Worth Shrimpton called 18 witnesses during the three-day trial in district court here. It was his contention that Mrs. Michaels threatened Austin's life and that the hammer beating she administered was willful and premeditated.

Defense Attorney Magill sought to show that Mrs. Michaels acted in self-defense and that she felt that Austin would kill her if she did not act first.

The defendant admittedly struck Austin repeated blows on the head with a hammer and this was the cause of his death.

One of the most damaging pieces of evidence that was dwelt upon at length by District Attorney Shrimpton was the assertion by Mary Brubich, waitress in an Oak Creek bar, who said she heard Pearl say several hours before his death she would "cut his throat."

Shrimpton in his closing statement pointed to the signed statement made by Mrs. Michaels in the Sheriff's Office, three days after the death of Austin, in which she gave a vivid description of hammering repeatedly on his head.

Mrs. Michaels testified she did not remember making the statement in the Colorado Bar and that she could not recall the statement given in the Sheriff's Office.


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