Fifty years have passed since the estimated population of Greene County numbered 188,108.
As the New Year began in 1967, one of the highlights of the New Year was the first birth in the county, this year; Jimmy Puckett had the honor of being the first baby of the year. His parents, who were residents of Fairborn, had chosen Greene Memorial Hospital for the arrival.
The hospital, which opened in 1951, was making plans for an addition. Room rates in January ranged from $20 to $31 per day and then in the fall, the rates were increased to $23 to $36 per day.
In addition to the added space and increased room rates, the hospital was experiencing another major change. Herman Menapace became the new hospital administrator.
Delmer Bone resigned his position as office manager of the Greene County Agricultural Stabilization and Conversation Committee to devote more time to his floral business. In later years he served the County for several terms as a Greene County Commissioner.
Mrs. Jesse Fuller of Xenia was very pleased when she was selected to be a finalist in the Pillsbury Bake-Off contest.
In Bellbrook, William Pennewit was selected as the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Township “Citizen of the year for 1966”.
Miss Pam Robinson of Beavercreek was chosen to be Miss Ohio, competing later in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.
William (Bill) Eichman received the Torrence Award and Joe Kennedy had been in the grocery business for 50 years. Others who made news were Reuben Holcomb, president of the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Irvin Hyman, president of The Greene County Historical Society.
That year a new County 4-H Agent was hired. Jerry Mahan came from Champaign County to accept the position. Over the years, he continued to work with the 4-H as well as other aspects of agriculture in the county. At the time of his retirement he was the Greene County Agent for The Ohio State University Extension Office
When summer rolled around the 4-H kids showed their animals at the Greene County Fair. That year the champion steer brought $1.15 per pound.
A new concept in education was planned for the county. The Greene Joint Vocational School Board accepted construction bids for the school which would open in September. The Foundation was seeking private donations in the amount of $260,000 to meet the deficit and then the first teachers were hired in June for the fall term. Today the scope of that school has broadened and is known as Greene Vocational School.
In Beavercreek, the school board presented a bond issue for a new junior high school. The voters approved the request for $1,385,000 in May. This would also provide funding to renovate Main Elementary School and acquire land for two new schools. This was the year Wright Elementary School in Fairborn opened for students.
Cedarville University was celebrating its 80th anniversary. Wright State University had been granted university status and Antioch College received a grant in the amount of $150,000 from the Kettering Foundation. The Charles H. Wesley Hall of Arts and Sciences at Central State University was dedicated in June.
The Xenia City Commission voted to impose a one percent income tax that year while the city employees agreed to accept a ten percent increase in salary.
Farmers and Merchants Bank of Jamestown celebrated 100 years of service and the Xenia Jaycees were trying to raise $10,500 to build an enclosed shelter house at the county park on Dayton-Xenia Road.
The end of the railroad in Xenia was near. The last mail was sent by rail in September and then the Pennsylvania Railroad approved the abandonment of the tracks. Later, the property on which those tracks had been laid became a network of bicycle trails.
In May, someone filed suit in Common Pleas Court to block construction of the Greene County Regional Airport to no avail. In June the airport authorities were accepting bids for runways. The anticipated amount for the construction was $121,642.85. Since then changes have been made to allow larger planes access to the landing strips.
A campaign was begun to improve US Route 35 between Xenia and Interstate 71.
This year marked the beginning of the end of the village of New Burlington. A garage and grocery closed in the fall, as residents considered other options for their village. Caesarscreek Lake would soon be covering much of village and they would be forced to move.
The occasional rising water was considered an inconvenience, but when the Corps of Engineers decreed that residents would no longer be able to live there, alternative plans were made. Today, there is a small sign on Highway 380 which shows the site of the village.
The Ohio Industrialization Center acquired the Bordon Company building on Hill Street in Xenia and the Vibra-Grip Corporation opened a new business in Jamestown.
Not all the news was good. The county recorded a total of 38 traffic fatalities during the year; a new record for the county. And, saddest of all, Greene County residents were mourning the deaths of local soldiers who had been serving in Vietnam.
Joan Baxter is a local resident and weekly historical columnist.
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