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Workers dig a ditch during the $1.53 million renovation of the old Jessie Hill School building in 1995 for use as the Redmond branch of the Deschutes County Library.

100 years ago

Nov. 25, 1920 — Turkeys Are Higher This Year But All Redmond Has ‘Em

Thanksgiving Day turkeys, geese and chickens are available in Redmond this year at prices averaging five cents above that paid last year, but there are few Redmond homes that are going to be without, in the estimation of local dealers yesterday.

Last night these men said that few birds had been sold through the shops, but that large numbers had been bought direct from the farm by Redmond families, and they felt that everyone was supplied.

One order, indicating what they expected to be the largest Thanksgiving festival of all contemplated today in Central Oregon, was placed yesterday for two turkeys, six chickens and four geese.

Where turkeys were sold last year for forty-five cents, the price this season has averaged fifty cents per pound, while chickens have advanced from thirty to thirty-five cents since last year. Geese last year sold for thirty cents and this year have advanced with chicken.

Redmond housewives can console themselves, however, in that in Portland they are paying sixty cents in retail shops for the national bird.

75 years ago

Nov. 29, 1945 — All Foods Free From Rationing Excepting Sugar

End of meat rationing brought no immediate marked increase in purchases locally, market owners said, one reason probably being that leftover Thanksgiving turkeys and chickens were being eaten. There was, however, a big gain in the sale of high-grade steaks and similar items which had required a number of red points.

All foods except sugar have been removed from ration control, but shortages of fats, oils and pork are expected to continue for some time. Tires are still rationed, it is pointed out.

50 years ago

Nov. 25, 1970 — Impact of power shortage told to co-op members

The impact of the national power shortage, namely higher rates, was brought home for some 250 persons who attended the annual general membership meeting of Central Electric Co-operative Monday at the Redmond National Guard Armory.

On the 30th anniversary of the co-op that serves rural users throughout Central Oregon, General Manager John Norlin told members, “We read about the power shortages and the brownouts in New York and other parts of the east. We have lived in the part of the county where we have enjoyed the blessing of the vast hydroelectric resources.”

But, Norlin continued, with sites for hydroelectric dams along rivers becoming scarce, the northwest must turn to a source of power generated by thermal plants.

Pointing out that co-ops, along with other utilities, have entered into an agreement to insure an adequate supply of electricity, Norlin predicted that “the cost of thermal generators will be blended with the cost of hydro, but it will raise the cost of wholesale power in future.”

Prior to predicting a general rate increase, the manager announced that, effective immediately, an added charge would be levied for service to customers beyond 1,000 feet, instead of the previous 5,000 feet.

Citing the wonders of developments in modern astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology and technology, Norlin contended “the greatest wonder of all has been the quite recent discovery and revolutionary uses of electricity with its invisible nature, its great power, yet extreme sensitivity.”

Pointing out that the resource is used to such abundance that “we come to regard it as we do fresh air and sunshine,” he emphasized that if lost, “our days would shrink to the limits of daylight,” communication by telephone would be lost to shouting and messenger, and the marvels of radio, television and movies would vanish.

State Representative Sam Johnson congratulated the co-op on its 30th anniversary, pointing to what the service had meant to the people of rural areas, and noting that such an undertaking could not have been possible through private investment.

Awarding door prizes, background organ music and a concluding luncheon, prepared by co-op members and their wives, culminated the meeting, which was well attended in spite of heavy snows and hazardous roads.

25 years ago

Nov. 29, 1995 — Cold Antarctic sky another first for hot air balloonist

Bill Arras is flying south for the summer.

Antarctica, the continent at the earth’s southern extreme, is on the verge of summertime. that means the hot air balloon pilot from Redmond will find round-the-clock sunshine on the December solstice — and temperatures that won’t top the freezing mark, but should stay above zero much of the time.

“It’s going to be the best time of the year” for flying, Arras said as he finished preparations this week for his expedition. Besides the midnight sun and tolerable temperatures, surface winds should be relatively calm about one-third of the time and marginal one-third of the time.

“The other third you’re holding onto your hat,” Arras said.

His quest to be the first hot air balloon pilot to sail above Antarctica and the first to make flights over all seven continents begins Thursday with a flight — via commercial airliner, not balloon — to Punta Arenas, Chile.

He’ll join up there with a group of mountain climbers traveling with Adventure Network International, and next Wednesday they’ll board a C-130 cargo plane for an eight-hour flight to ANI’s Antarctic base camp at Patriot Hills.

Some of the climbers will head to the Ellsworth Mountains to attempt an ascent of Vinson Massif, a peak more than 16,000 feet high and the highest point on the continent. Arras hopes to fly his hot air balloon over Vinson Massif, and possibly over the South Pole.

He make take some ANI clients or staff up, since the Canadian travel company is providing free transportation for him and his ballooning equipment to Antarctica. The rate for carrying cargo from the staging area in Chile to Antarctica is $30 per pound, which would make for an enormous freight bill for a guy packing two hot air balloons and hundreds of pounds of propane fuel canisters.

Even though his shipping charges are waived, Arras made his balloons ultralight so they’ll be easier to haul around over the remote continents forbidding terrain, and more efficient to fly. The fabric for each balloon’s inflatable “envelope” is ripstop nylon, and he built two new prototype chromoly baskets that he can disassemble and pack into a convenient carrying case.

Retrieving the balloon and passengers after landing will require a plane in Antarctica, which is much more costly than using snowmobiles as chase vehicles.

Arras, who plans to stay in Antarctica until mid-January, will carry survival gear to last a few days “in case I land in an inaccessible place,” he said. “I’ve got to be able to deal with whatever situation I put myself in.”

He likes to put his hot air balloon in challenging situations, like the risky unauthorized flight he made across the Bering Strait in 1990, landing on a frozen lake near Provideniya in the former Soviet Union.

His balloon, Arras said, is an effective means to promote understanding and better relations between cultures. During the days his tethered balloon hovered above Soviet tundra, he took reindeer herders and Eskimos up for a view of their homeland they’d never experienced.

He’d like someday to make another border-crossing flight, from South Korea to North Korea. Other future plans include a possible trans-Atlantic flight, and flying his balloon from Jerusalem to Jordan to highlight progress towards peace in the Middle East.

An accomplished photojournalist, Arras has shot covers for ballooning magazines showing the familiar, brightly colored spheres floating over the Great Wall of China, snake charmers in India, and the Three Sisters in Central Oregon.

“A balloon is the only aircraft that doesn’t fly through the air; it floats on the air,” said Arras, who was a hitchhiker in a hang glider the first time a hot air balloon took him up. He still loves hang gliding, but said ballooning “has created more opportunities than I ever imagined when I started” a decade ago.

He takes a Zen approach to piloting hot air balloons.

“You can fly a balloon mechanically,” he explained, “but you become a much better pilot if you can become one with the aircraft, really get a feel for it. You should listen to what you feel inside.

“Piloting a balloon requires much more of me than anything I’ve done.”

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