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In 1947, talk of moving the fairgrounds; in 1972 Bright Wood expands; in 1997 Ralph's TV changes hands


July 27, 1922

The State Highway Commission is making a determined effort to rid the highways of advertising matter, which is objectionable both because the signs are unsightly and because there is an increased hazard to travel because of the signs.

Travelers at night often mistake placards for standard signs. When they are not familiar with the roads the presence of these cards is a nuisance. In the daytime there is a real menace caused by drivers reading the signs instead of watching the roads.

In speaking of the value of signboard advertising, Resident Engineer R.L. Newland gave the following statistics to the Pioneer Monday:

"At the legal speed of 30 miles per hour, a traveler progresses 44 feet per second, or 2,640 feet per minute, the average reader will read about 180 words per minute, or three words per second. In other words, the average person, reading a sign of only nine words, would travel a distance of 132 feet or more than eight times the width of the traveled roadway. I mention this only to show that there is a danger in reading signs along the road."

It is a felony to place a sign on a State Highway and also on private property without a written permit.


July 24, 1947

The Jefferson County fair board, composed of Gus Ramsey, Henry Thornton and L.M. Horney, have expressed belief that the matter of moving the fairgrounds from property now owned by the county in the southeast edge of Madras to a new site on the Madras airbase should be put up to a decision of the people, according to Mrs. B.N. Conroy, the fair secretary. It is proposed to hold a special election on the matter at the general election to be called for Oct. 7.

A substantial element of residents of the city, as well as county residents, it has been reported, has recently expressed approval of plans for removing the fairgrounds to the airbase. The county court has applied to Spokane land bank, which has charge of disposal of surplus lands of the airbase, for a 40-acre unit.

Some have proposed that this acreage should be doubled. A lead has been taken by the John Sloss Post of the American Legion on plans for a country recreational center on the airbase. The post has dedicated a new home on the airbase, the buildings formerly issued by officers as their clubhouse, mess hall and recreational quarters. The veterans have applied for 40 acres of land surrounding the new home to be used in development of a ballpark and other recreational features.

For the current year, however, with the 1947 fair dates set for Sept. 5, 6 and 7, the fair will be held at the old fairgrounds. Mrs. Conroy says that a bigger and better 4-H display is planned for this year. For the first time livestock exhibits will be included in the exhibits of the youngsters.


July 27, 1972

The Jefferson County Development Corporation Thursday noon gave Carl Peterson, president of the Bright Wood Corporation, the green light on an expansion program, which would allow reactivation of the old plant and the purchase of the building and the 12 acres on which it stands. Peterson explained to officers of the corporation that the building and land is owned by Jefferson Plywood. The Bright Wood Corporation owns the machinery in the building, which has 20,000 square feet of floor space.

Peterson said that since the machinery is already in place in the old plant it could be reactivated this fall or winter with a minimum of expense.

The development corporation worked with the Small Business Administration and the First National Bank in getting a $425,000 loan for Bright Wood for construction of a new plant.

Peterson explained that expenditures to date, plus anticipated outlays for late finishing portions of the new plant construction, amount to about $364,150. This leaves $60,850 out of the original $425,000.

The old plant can be acquired for $40,000. Peterson also suggested using another $20,000 of the remaining $60,850 to add 10,000 square feet of storage space to the moulding plant.

In a letter to the development corporation, Peterson said, "Our moulding plant hasn't the floor space efficiently to handle the increased inventory for its present volume. This division of our company could handle the material from our new cutting plant, but we have access to a great deal of toy stock at favorable prices from other cut up plants in the locality; and this is taxing our storage and handling facilities to the utmost and is causing a great deal of inefficiency."

Citing favorable circumstances in the current operation, Peterson said, "… the new cutting operation, on a one-shift basis, has been giving us earning double our last year's monthly earnings. We have just started a second shift, and by the end of August our earnings should be even better."

Sumner C. Rodriguez, legal counsel for the development corporation, said that while the directors had approved Peterson's proposal, approval of the SBA would also be sought.


July 30, 1997

With one looking for a career change, and the other hoping to retire, things couldn't have worked out better for the Hagedorn and Casady families of Madras.

Donna Hagedorn, who does the bookwork for her husband Ed's construction business, Hagedorn's Builders Inc., explained how it happened.

"Ed hurt his shoulder a year ago and the doctor advised him to slow down and possibly consider a job change. Then we found out Ralph Casady was hoping to retire within a year," she said.

Ralph's TV and Furniture, owned by Darlene and Ralph Casady, looked like a good prospect to the Hagedorns.

"We like people, it's in a great location, and it definitely would be easier on Ed physically," Donna pointed out.

Hagedorn's decided to purchase the business with the changeover set for Aug. 1, however, they will keep the name of Ralph's TV and Furniture.

"The Casadys have built such a good reputation, we didn't want to change the name," Donna said, noting they will continue to carry the same merchandise.

They will continue to operate a scaled-down version of Hagedorn's Builders, which they began 20 years ago while living in Idaho.

The Casadys started Round Butte TV Service in 1973, in what is now Busy Bee Market on Fourth Street. In 1975, they built the Kern Building on D Street and began selling Zenith TVs.

Affiliating with Radio Shack in 1977, the Casadys purchased and relocated on Fifth Street to the building which currently houses Art Adventure Gallery.

A move was made to the Erickson's Shopping Center building in 1985, and two years later Ralph began a rent-to-own policy to help customers purchase electrical appliances and TVs.

When Erickson's remodeled and expanded in 1994, the Casadys dropped their Radio Shack connection and moved across the street, purchasing the Violette building. Renaming the business to Ralph's TV and Furniture, they began selling furniture, along with TVs, VCRs, and stereos.

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