Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 8, 2012

Fun facts about the ’40s

The 1940 Census has been released and is all over the news. 1940 really isn’t so long ago. In another year the U.S. would be at war.

In 1940, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s visited South Charleston to inspect a naval ordnance plant. Photos of Roosevelt riding in his open car give us the mistaken impression that presidential security was lax in those days. However there were some elaborate plans to insure his safety. Roosevelt arrived by train. The president’s arrival was made secure by 400 national guardsmen from the Charleston and Huntington detachments, all available uniformed men of the Charleston and South Charleston police departments, state police, deputy sheriffs, naval reserves, marines, reserve officers and the usual number of secret service agents.

The president’s motorcade consisted of more than 25 automobiles and was escorted by 16 state motorcycle police. Gov. Homer Holt greeted Roosevelt and was invited to accompany the president to White Sulphur Springs aboard his special train.

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A presidential election was also held in 1940. Roosevelt received 57 percent of the popular vote in West Virginia and 68 percent of the popular vote in Virginia.

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Some other interesting things happened in 1940. The Commonwealth of Virginia renumbered several of its state highways to provide continuous numbers across state lines. West Virginia cooperated with the Commonwealth by renumbering some of its highways to match those in Virginia. Route 102 between Pocahontas and Bluefield, Va., passes through West Virginia. State Route 16 is the number assigned to the road between Tazewell, Va., and War.  

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Oops. I incorrectly identified one of the three local students who served as pages in the West Virginia Legislature for the last day of the 2011 regular session. Abigail Hamer of PikeView High School was the page. Her mother is Tracy Hamer.

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On the Virginia side both the Republican and Democratic parties will select Senate candidates through primaries on June 12, assuming that two or more candidates qualify for the respective ballots. Former Commonwealth governor and Democrat Tim Kaine has declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Former governor and senator George Allen has declared his candidacy for the Republican ticket. Both are seeking the seat that Sen. Jim Webb will be vacating. Webb is not seeking re-election. One third of the U.S. Senate seats are being decided this year.

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A great show is coming to town. Don’t miss it. The performers in “Hitsville USA,” a 4PALS Production, promise “you’ll be so glad you came.” The first show will be Thursday, April 12, and the proceeds from that show go to benefit the Cancer Society. Call 304-589-0339 for more information and reservations for this show and for other dates the show will be performed. Performers include Bob Campion, Vain Colby, Shawn Williams, Jack and Katy Goins, Julie Hurley and Angie Shar

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The Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce is busy and that is a good thing. It’s welcoming three new businesses to the area. Grand opening ceremonies for Accelerando will be held April 10. A grand opening ceremony for Bluefield Regional Medical Center’s new endoscopy unit, lobby renovations and gift store will be held on April 17. Then, on April 24, there will be a grand opening ceremony for Flowers by Liz. We join in welcoming these new businesses and services to Bluefield.

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Wait until you see what happens to (the price) of electricity,” says Ed Morrissey at HotAir, a conservative blog. This is all part of Obama’s plan to “drive up energy costs in order to make his favored alternatives somewhat competitive.” But alternative energy can never match the “production scope of hydrocarbon sources.” Don’t be surprised to find people “lighting candles rather than flipping on the light switch.”

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The National Archives issued an apology for the problems that were encountered with the 1940 census website. After the release, their website had more that 37 million hits on the first two days.

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Where is former Virginia Congressman Rick Boucher? Boucher has joined Sidley Austin LLP, a global law firm. The former congressman is heading up the firm’s government group. Boucher still has his finger on the pulse of Congress. He is now helping his clients develop and implement strategies, which protect and further their business interests.

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There you have it, a few comments on items of interest to the area. Please have a happy Easter and a blue sky day ... and one more thing. Bluefield has lost a great dance teacher and good friend. A lot of folks in the area will miss Pat Adkins.

Wilson Butt, a resident of Bluefield, is a retired Department of Highways official.

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