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Looking back: Former superintendent missing, car found in river and mom, kids escape burning car

Looking Back

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IDAHO FALLS — is looking back at what life was like during the week of June 13 to June 19 in east Idaho history.


POCATELLO — A Pocatello woman and former superintendent of schools of Bannock County was missing, the Blackfoot Idaho Republican reported on June 16, 1911.

“Mystery surrounds the disappearance of Miss Grace Loughren,” the article reads. “Current press reports state that many small sums of school money have been drawn by her through forgeries of the name William Watts, a school trustee and former employee in her office.”

The small sums ranged from $15 to $65 and amounted to over $1,000 total. The governor offered a reward of $300 for information leading to her arrest.

“Altogether the situation looks bad for Miss Loughren, but we are disposed to give her the benefit of the doubt and hope her good name will be vindicated,” the Blackfoot Idaho Republican said.

The “next most liberal construction that is being put upon the case” is if Loughren did commit the thefts, it must have been under the influence of someone else and to try to save somebody from embarrassment.

“The fact remains that for many years she has been teaching and superintending school work in that county in a most satisfactory manner,” the paper added.


RIGBY — A boy had to have his finger amputated after getting it caught in an automatic press, according to The Rigby Star’s June 18, 1931, newspaper.

Robert Parker, the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Wood D. Parker, of St. Anthony, “absent-mindedly” reached in under the press to remove a sheet of paper that had fallen under the platten.

“(It caught) his right hand and mashed all fingers and disconnecting the third finger, which had to be amputated,” the local paper explained. “The jam caused by his hand stopped the press, and he had to use his left to back up the press and release himself.”

The paper said “he displayed considerable nerve” when he left the shop without notifying anyone. Instead, he rushed to the headquarters of the city physicians, where he found Dr. Kelley in his office. Kelley “immediately took charge” and “properly dressed the injured hand.”

“The wound has caused much suffering but is doing very nicely, and the boy will have a good hand, less one finger, when it heals up,” the article stated.


SALMON — A car found in the Salmon River belonged to a man who was being held by police at the time the discovery was made.

The Salmon Recorder Herald said on June 18, 1970, Idaho Falls Police were holding a man who told them he had gone into the river near Salmon and didn’t know how he had gotten out of the car or back to Idaho Falls.

Lemhi County Sheriff William Baker said he received a call from a man who identified himself and said he was from Blackfoot. The caller told the sheriff he was following a car on U.S. Highway 93 roughly seven miles north of Salmon.

“The caller said that he lost sight of the vehicle on a curve and when he rounded the curve, (he) could not see any car ahead. He drove on to North Fork where he called the sheriff,” the article said.

Baker said he felt the car may have been pushed off the highway over a 15-foot embankment because those fitting the description of the man being held in Idaho Falls and the man who called the sheriff were both seen at North Fork.

“The car went into the river and floated a quarter mile or so downstream, lodging on its wheels facing upstream with the water up to its windshield,” the local paper mentioned.

Baker and Coroner Del Jones used a boat to check the vehicle and found it was empty. Plans had been made to hook a cable onto the car to move it and get the license plate number, but Baker said “with the new developments of his office,” he would not go to the expense of gathering men and equipment.

“As far as I’m concerned the vehicle was run into the river on purpose, and both men, after going to North Fork, went back to Idaho Falls,” Baker said.

Baker added the man being held by police had “voiced threats” while in Salmon that he’d run his car into the river. The car was discovered the following day.


POCATELLO — A mom and her three children “fled their burning auto just before flames spread to the passenger compartment,” the Idaho State Journal said.

The paper wrote on June 13, 1977, the family was driving northbound along South Bannock Highway to return the car for service at Herzog Auto. That’s when the mother, Lela Scholes, noticed smoke coming from beneath the hood.

Scholes stopped the car, removed her children and waited for the Pocatello Fire Department to arrive.

“Damage to the ‘65 Ford was extensive,” the paper noted.