Battle Creek

100 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 19, 1918

Private Lawton A. Reiling, Co. C., 131st Inf., A. E. F., writes to his parents as follows:  France, Nov. 18

Dear Folks:

Will drop you a few lines to let you know that I am still alive and am feeling fine.  Received quite a bunch of letters and one newspaper and surely was glad to hear from home.  Well, you wouldn’t know there was a war over here the last few days, for there has not been a gun fired since the 11th.  However, it was plenty noisy up to eleven o’clock that day.  Guess every gunner in France was trying to get rid of all the ammunition on hand.  We were in the trenches at the time and the first thing we knew the Germans were coming over and shaking hands with us fellows.  It may not be long until we will be wending our way homeward to a real country and that will be a happy day for all of us.  I will let you know in plenty of time, so that you can have plenty of eats prepared.  We have been having some dark and gloomy weather and some pretty heavy frosts.  The “flu” must be pretty severe over there the way people are dying.  It hasn’t bothered us so far and hope it don’t.  I received the Chicago papers you sent and saw an article about the very battle we were in.  I cut it out and am sending it with this letter.  You know I am with the Chicago boys over here.  When I get back I can tell you all about the gay times we have had since we arrived over here.  Am glad you got the handkerchiefs and expect to get some more souvenirs before I leave this country.  Well folks, I guess this will be all for this time.  Write soon.  

Your Loving Son, Lawton.

90 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 20, 1928

Columbia Hall on Fifth Street in this city was completely destroyed by fire this afternoon.  The fire broke out at two o’clock and was caused from an over-heated stove, the basketball boys trying to get the building warm for practice.  A stock company organized by Rev. Father Bies in 1905 erected the building.  Later he bought it from the company and turned it over to the parish.  It was built by Louis Bittner.  The building was 40x90 of frame construction with metal sheeting and the loss is estimated at $5,000, partly covered by insurance.  The fire ladies fought valiantly, but the odds were against them from the beginning.  The building is a complete wreck.

80 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 20, 1938

Cornerstone laying ceremonies, marking a major step toward the completion of Bellevue’s new town hall will take place next Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 27, at 2 o’clock.  Mayor G. J. Bittner, representatives of the public library and others will speak and R. A. Bradford, PWA director of region No. 4, Omaha, Nebraska, has been invited to come to Bellevue to take part in the ceremonies.  Members of the town council and businessmen will also be present to take part.  Mayor Bittner will deposit copies of the Bellevue Herald and Leader and the agreement between the town of Bellevue and the PWA for construction of the local project in the cornerstone.  Construction of the $27, 892.00 building was made possible by a Public Works administration outright grant of $12, 551.00, the remainder of the cost being met locally.  The cornerstone laying ceremonies will take place earlier than originally planned as the building is going up ahead of schedule, meeting Administrator Harold L. Ickes’ demands for a fast-moving program.  

70 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 16, 1948

With all reports threatening real winter weather the temperatures continue mild.  The cold wave predicted for this week, passed us by and instead we had rain, fog and cloudy days, but the skies cleared Wednesday evening and today is bright and sunny with only a light frost this morning.  Wednesday was an Ember day as will be Friday and Saturday of this week and if these days (in which a great many people have faith) turn out to be as true as the last three.  January will be a gloomy wet month.  It remains to be seen what Friday and Saturday will forecast for February and March.

60 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 18, 1958

I am devoting this column to a proposition that we meet together next Monday evening in the public school gymnasium to honor with a Christmas party a most worthy man.  Right now I am thinking of Wally Keil, our “Small Appliance” repairman.  I am thinking of a fellow who was born in 1913, and in 1918, five years later contracted polio.  Since that time Wally has put up one of the most brilliant and courageous fights against a physical handicap that can be found anywhere.  Now in their fourth year in sponsoring worthy persons to be honored by the Christmas party, the Bellevue Rotarians have selected Wally as the person to be the party’s guest this year.  The form this year is an amateur show, and some of the locality’s best talent has been signed up, and new entrants appear every day.  Just now a 16-year old from Dubuque with a superb act is on the agenda, and two entertainers from East Dubuque have been selected.  These two will not be contestants.  They will simply entertain to honor Wally.  Red Henton, Shields, Doty and gang of “String-Cut-Ups” are on for intermission music.

50 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 19, 1968

A corporation was formed Tuesday night for the erection of a retirement home in Bellevue.  Riverview Development Corp. was formed at a meeting of approximately 40 interested persons in the basement of Bellevue State Bank.  The new corporation will plan a $900,000 venture for erection of a nursing home of 110 or 120 beds.  An option is held on the William Gotteber property in the 200 block of North Riverview along the riverbank and the organization has a commitment from Paul Weyhgandt for purchase of his adjoining property to the north.  At the Tuesday night meeting those present subscribed the balance of $75,000 in common stock needed to start the corporation.  Debentures and private financing will be used to raise the remainder of the $900,000.  Contemplated is a building of five to seven stories, which would overlook the river.  To initiate the incorporation, the group Tuesday night elected a board of five members to carry out the first steps.  Named to the board were Greg Welsch, Dell Pooler, Virgil Rule, Tom Bates and Wesley C. Hodges, Atty, E. E. Stamp was named counsel for the corporation.  

40 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 21, 1978

In a split vote Thursday, Bellevue City Council took the initial step towards rezoning a parcel of land on the city’s west edge to be used for a new medical clinic.  Bellevue attorney Ronald Besch presented an application to the council to rezone the lot at the southwest corner of Park and Twelfth Streets, across the street from Mill Valley Care Center, from R-1 residential to E-2 highway commercial.  Medical Associates of Dubuque if rezoned would use the land, currently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Achen, for the construction of a clinic.  Under Bellevue zoning regulations, a medical clinic would be build there only if the property was rezoned for commercial use or if the zoning ordinance was amended to allow medical offices in a R-1 district.

30 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 22, 1988

Rockwell International will expand their Bellevue avionics operation, more than doubling the present plant space on Highway 62 West.  Rockwell’s Donald Beall, chief executive officer for the California-based multinational, announcement the expansion proposal last week.  Rockwell’s Collins Air Transport Division based the former BX-100 building in April of this year and began operations in June with 10 employees.  Announcement of the expansion includes the prospect for 200 jobs at the satellite plant within the next few years.  The present 13,600 square foot manufacturing facility will be increased to 31,450 square feet with the 17,850 square foot addition.

20 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 17, 1998

We can’t get enough of trucks in Bellevue.  Everybody loves a truck these days, from a local bank president to the blue-collar factory commuter.  Bellevue, Jackson County and the rest of the country is infatuated with trucks.  At Tills, the 84-year old Bellevue General Motors dealership will end the year selling about as many Chevy pickups as they do Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick cars combined.  It is a trend that is being repeated at other county auto/truck dealerships this year.  In fact, if there was such a thing as the “official” Bellevue light truck it might well be a Chevrolet Z71 pickup, it has been one of the most popular models of light truck offered at the dealership. “Ninety percent of the Chevy trucks we sell are four-wheel drive, extended cab versions these days,” Steve Till explains.  This is the first year that light trucks (including vans and sport utilities) will out-sell cars.  Along with Chevy and GMC versions there are plenty of new Dodge and Ford light trucks in the community as well.  The market still has yet to satisfy demand say county dealers.

10 YEARS AGO

DECEMBER 18, 2008

Local authorities are withholding comment on the identity of a body recovered from inside a burned out second floor apartment inside the three-story red brick building on North Second Street that went up in flames Sunday night, Dec. 14.  The State Fire Marshall’s Office was called in immediately and the address soon became a focus of investigation after firemen discovered a body inside the charred apartment.  A report from the public at 9:40 p.m. of a vehicle on fire at the rear of 106 North Second Street was followed by the report of a fire inside an apartment located on the second floor.  Firefighters and police reported an explosion coming from the apartment as firemen worked to contain the blaze.  Bellevue Fire Chief Chris Roling said initial knock down efforts by firefighters to contain the fire in the apartment turned to controlling the fire in the building when flames got into the walls and then spread forcing firemen out.