Near drowning victim in June 1971, Melissa Pallin, 2½, is the center of attention when she gets together with the girls who saved her life, 7-year-old sister Dorie and babysitter, Sheela Nordman, an eighth grader at John Tuck School.

100 years ago

June 9, 1921 — Lit Match To Find Trouble; Tractor Is Nearly Burned

One of two tractors used by nightshift workers in the potato fields of D. Mustard and the Deschutes Valley Seed company at Powell Butte was nearly destroyed Monday night when Floyd Smith of Redmond lit a match to look under the motor to locate trouble.

As Smith struck the match, blazes swept over the tractor hood and threatened explosion and destruction. Smith, Clifford Will, who is also employed in operating the tractor, and other employees on the farm, used a wagon sheet to smother the flames and put out the blaze before any considerable damage was done.

Two tractors are now being run night and day under the direction of Mustard, who is planting about 200 acres of potatoes for the Deschutes Seed company and twenty acres on his own farm. The tractors plow at night while the day crews plant seed.

Two hundred additional acres of grain crop will this year be seeded on the company’s farm, it is planned.

75 years ago

June 13, 1946 — Town Building Efforts Weaken As Materials Become Scarcer

People in Redmond are still trying to build, but their efforts are getting weaker, according to the decreasing volume of building permits, issued through the city recorder’s office.

Only nine permits for new homes totaling $26,700 in stated values have been taken out since April 1, while during the three previous months of the year 19 permits totaling $61,600 were issued. No permits at all have been cleared thus far in June.

To building material men and construction contractors the decline in volume of permits in the recorder’s office is only a minor reflection of the actual building situation here. They point out that not only are materials getting more scarce, but that the prospect of any immediate improvement in the local supply is getting dimmer.

Among the principal items that they list as becoming slower and slower to arrive or have become almost impossible to obtain, are nails, cement, glass, doors, sash, roofing, sheet metal, shingles, plumbing, plywood, plaster and lathes.

Increasing numbers of stories are going the rounds in the building trade of the variety of deals, swaps and arrangements that have had to be made in obtaining materials in central Oregon. In several instances cement has been obtained at fancy figures. In one case a set of cast iron plumbing fixtures were foundered to order. Things like GI priorities are referred to in the trade merely as “hunting licenses.”

Among permits that have been approved for houses since April 1, including structures designated as “garage dwellings,” are those issued to E.W. and E.F. Endicott, stated value $4000; M.F. Sandoz, $3700; Richard Moorman, $2000; Carl Fore, $1500; Alex Kauski, $3500; Albert and Ruby Miller, $3000; J.B. Bozarth $1000; Ray Dempsey, $3000; M.D. Armbruster, $5000; J.J. Campoli $4000; Christian church $1000.

Business structures approved since April 1 include five new cabins for Redmond camp ground at South Sixth street, $4000; kennels for Dr. R.L. Lewis, $400; and shop and apartments for Victor and Harold Povey, $7000.

50 years ago

June 9, 1971 — Melissa Pallin saved by sister, babysitter

Tragedy was averted recently in Terrebonne, thanks to the quick action of two young girls.

Bouncy 2 1/2 year old Melissa Pallin was returning to the house from the barn with her seven-year-old sister Dorie, when she slipped and fell into an irrigation ditch. Head first she was plunged into a 14-inch culvert going under the driveway by the two feet of water in the lateral.

Quick thinking Dorie jumped in, grabbed her sister by the feet, and began yelling for help. On the second call, their babysitter, Sheela Nordman, came hurdling across the fence to the rescue.

An eighth grader at John Tuck School, Sheela speedily got Melissa out of the canal, only to find her face distorted and breathing stopped. Quickly she hit Melissa on the back to force the water out of her lungs, began mouth to mouth resuscitation, found it didn’t work, hit her again, and on the second attempt of mouth to mouth, was able to revive the child.

Thanks to the instruction Sheela had learned in seventh grade health from Al Christenson and lessons in responsibility from her mother, Melissa suffered only shock and scratches from the edge of the metal culvert.

By the time a neighbor, Mrs. Judy Bender, arrived on the scene, all that the young girls needed was some help in coping with the shock. And by the time parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dale Pallin of Route 1, Terrebonne, arrived from their Sunday fishing trip, the near tragedy was history.

25 years ago

June 12, 1996 — Retired FBI agent still contemplates fate of D.B. Cooper

Ralph P. Himmelsbach sits in his light, open home near the Cline Falls Airpark and contemplates the fate of one of the nation’s most intriguing criminals — D.B. Cooper.

It’s been 25 years since the man in the sunglasses bailed out of a Boeing 727 over southwest Washington and disappeared.

But the mystery and the fascination linger on.

Although Himmelsbach, 70, retired in 1980 from the FBI, where he was the case agent, or lead investigator, on the Cooper case for nine years, he receives letters and phone leads on the case to this day.

With silvery hair, silver bolo tie and a small handlebar moustache, Himmelsbach doesn’t look like a special agent with the investigative arm of the U.S Department of Justice.

But that’s before he trains his light-blue eyes on his subject and rattles off the names of everybody involved in the case from the boarding agent to the parachute loft operator’s landlord.

And before long he admits his long-time interest in the Cooper case may stem from a small but itchy hole in a long and successful career.

“He lowered my batting average,” Himmelsbach says with a chuckle.

Himmelsbach admits he “can’t leave it alone,” but denies he’s obsessed with the case. “I forget about it until it comes up again.”

But it comes up fairly often.

Himmelsbach has been the subject of numerous television, radio and print interviews. He’s been on “Good Morning America” twice; last year he was a guest on “Oprah!” and next Wednesday he appears on the program “20th Century” on the A&E network at 7 p.m. to discuss the case.

For D.B. Cooper fans, Himmelsbach also has copies of his 1980 book available for $8.95. “*Norjack: the Investigation of D.B. Cooper,” is the only truly inside story of the investigation, according to the introduction.

Himmelsbach and his wife, Joyce, moved to Central Oregon four years ago when a friend suggested they check out the area. A pilot since he joined the Air Force in 1943, Himmelsbach finds Central Oregon’s climate great for continuing his passion for flying.

It was Himmelsbach’s experience as a pilot that landed him the lead assignment on the Cooper case.

And a combination of aviation background, his consultations with medical experts on hypothermia, and his intimate knowledge of each and every detail — and mistake — of the case lead him to a personal belief that Cooper is dead.

When the skyjacker parachuted out of the airplane that stormy November night, he appeared to be wearing only street clothes and carried no wilderness survival gear.

Even though no body has ever been found, Himmelsbach notes the area is so rugged it took a year to find an entire airplane that crashed there.

The only evidence ever uncovered on the ground was a bundle of packets of rotting bills found along the Columbia River by an 8-year-old boy.

Today, the crumbling remains of one of those bills rests in a frame on Himmelsbach’s wall.

But if Cooper is still alive, Himmelsbach may yet have the last laugh.

On the last day of the statute of limitations on the case, Himmelsbach succeeded in brining a grand jury indictment against Cooper effectively canceling the time limit on the case.

With satisfaction, he says, “Cooper can still be tried.”


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