Cumberland Times-News

Jan Alderton - Opinion

November 21, 2010

Talking turkey (and more)

— While researching Cumberland Evening Times files for some information on local historical sites, I ran across several items that gave a glimpse of local Thanksgiving observances 90 or so years ago.

A South Cumberland column of Nov. 25, 1912, talked about railroad salaries and mentioned that the railroaders were especially upset about the price of turkeys at 34 cents per pound.

The same edition featured a “Thanksgiving Sale” ad for the Boston Shoe Store, 40 N. Centre St., Cumberland, for a pair of ladies’ gun metal button and patent leather shoes with low heels or high heels and good toe short vamp, valued at $2.50 but on sale for $1.69.

The Nov. 18, 1919, Evening Times told readers the South End Athletic Club in Cumberland was arranging a boxing match for Thanksgiving Day. Matchmaker “Funny” Neuman said the principals in the main bout would be middleweights and the match would be held in the New Theatre on Virginia Avenue.

In Keyser, W.Va., the Nov. 22, 1914 Evening Times reported: “Thanksgiving Day passed quietly and uneventfully. In some of the churches Thanksgiving services were held, and in most of the homes of spirit of the day was observed. The motion picture houses gave a special matinee. A matinee dance was held in the armory in connection with the fair being held there by the Catholic Church, and in South Keyser at 2 p.m. a special demonstration of the new fire truck was given....”

In another story on the same page, it was noted that a masquerade Thanksgiving party was given Thanksgiving eve in the Keyser High School auditorium by the teachers of the seventh and eighth grades. Refreshments were served by the department of domestic science connected with the school....

Shoppers wanting to prepare for Black Friday will find plenty of local advertising in the Thanksgiving day edition of the Cumberland Times-News.

As this column was being written, about 25 advertising supplements were on the schedule for insertion in this coming Thursday’s paper.

The list includes Lowe’s, Big Lots, Bon-Ton, Super Shoes, JoAnn Fabric, Mor For Less, Sears, Kohl’s, Staples, Walmart, CVS, Dunham’s, Ollie’s, Radio Shack, U.S. Cellular, J.C. Penney, Food Lion and Rite Aid. Additionally, a Times-News Gift Guide will be part of the edition....

Last year’s hottest Christmas toy was Zhu Zhu pets. This year, Squinkies, Zoobles and Sing-A-Ma-Jigs seem to be grabbing the headlines.

Squinkies come in a bubble pack and are 16 cute, small characters. They are especially a hit with young girls. Zoobles are described by their manufacturer as cute little toy animals designed in bright colors and pretty patterns that pop open. They are placed in a “Happitat” which is magnetized and makes them spring open. Sing-A-Jigs toys are said to sing perfectly and form each note with their mouths open. They can also chatter away in their own language....

CSX received approval from the Surface Transportation Board recently to abandon 14.3 miles of track in Preston County, W.Va. The right-of-way is expected to become a walking and hiking trail.

The carrier is abandoning the railroad line extending from Rowlesburg to Albright....

The Maryland Opening Meetings Compliance Board held its annual meeting in Baltimore recently. It reported receiving 25 complaints, some alleging multiple violations, from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. Of the complaints, 11 were from citizens, 11 from the news media and one from a government official.

Seven complaints each were filed against the state, various counties and various municipalities. Two were filed against local school boards.

The board issued 17 opinions and in 13 cases found one or more violations of the state’s Open Meetings Act.....

The Farmers Insurance Group of Companies has issued a list of the nation’s safest places to live and Cumberland ranks 18th in the small town category.

Safest among small towns was St. George, Utah. First among large metro areas was Boise City-Nampa, Idaho.

Factors such as crime statistics, unemployment rates, risks of environmental hazards, terrorism threats, natural disasters and extreme weather conditions are among the criteria used to judge the safety of a community....

There will be fewer winter weather alerts in Allegany and Garrett counties this year, according to Frank Roylance, a weather reporter for the Baltimore Sun.

He said until now, the National Weather Service forecast for Allegany and Garrett counties, as well as the rest of the state, had to call for 2 inches of snow in 12 hours before a Winter Weather Advisory was issued. Now, the criterion for Allegany and Garrett, as well as Grant, Mineral and Pendleton counties in West Virginia, will be 3 inches in 12 hours.

The threshold for a Winter Storm Watch also has changed from 6 inches over 12 hours (instead of 5 inches), or 8 inches over 24 hours (instead of 7 inches)....

Seen on the Internet — Amusing news reports:

• “Although as a rider and breeder she has won countless prizes, she says she enjoys an occasional beating,”  — from a New Zealand newspaper.

• “The driver involved in this incident asked that her gender not be revealed,”  — from a Sydney, Australia, newspaper.

• “As Phil De Glanville said, each game is unique, and this one is no different than any other,” — a sports network announcer.

• “The bodies could not be identified because they were found face down.” — A newspaper report on the discovery of two bodies in rural Missouri.

• “Correction: Due to a typing error, Gov. Dukakis was incorrectly identified in the third paragraph as Mike Tyson.” — from a Massachusetts newspaper.

Jan Alderton is managing editor of the Cumberland Times-News. His email address is

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