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HISTORY IS COOL: 70 years ago

Sept. 28, 1951

Polio epidemic

One Essex County school has not reopened this fall and two others have closed due to an outbreak of poliomyelitis.

John Carr of Elizabethtown, chairman of the Essex County Chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, said there are at least 30 cases of polio in the county with Westport, Elizabethtown, Essex and Keeseville being hardest hit. Only about 25% of the cases are children.

The Elizabethtown Central School has not reopened for fall sessions and the Westport and Willsboro schools have been closed. They will probably not be opened until Oct. 1.

Carr said there are nine cases of infantile paralysis in Elizabethtown, seven in Essex, five in Westport, five in Keeseville, two in Willsboro and one Lake Placid child, 2 years old, is stricken, although he contracted the disease out of state. Carr said 76% of the people ill with the disease are over 18 years of age.

The great majority of the cases are “mild,” Carr said, although a small boy and girl are receiving treatment in iron lungs in the Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh. Some other cases are termed “severe,” but not critical.

There has been one fatality from polio in the county. Sherman Mather, 42, of Whallonsburg, superintendent of schools for the second supervisory district, died of the disease in the Physicians Hospital two weeks ago.

Santas in Syracuse

Two men who said they were “Santa’s helpers” and came from the North Pole flew into Syracuse last week to rent about 6,000 square feet of floor space at the new War Memorial Auditorium.

The pair, when not wearing their beards and red suits, answer to the names of Harold Fortune and Julian Reiss, both members of a three-man corporation which sponsors North Pole, N.Y., a Santa Claus village on the side of Whiteface Mountain in the town of Wilmington.

Reiss said North Pole, Inc., plans to spend $30,000 erecting an exact miniature of the fairyland village during the Syracuse Sports and Vacations Show from April 12 to 20.

The model of the actual village will measure about 100 feet by 60 feet, Reiss said. The North Pole community, now in its third year, is an attraction.

Heartbreak Ridge

Sgt. Norman McCasland Jr. has been on the front lines at “Heartbreak Ridge” in eastern Korea for the past two weeks, according to word received here by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Norman McCasland Sr. McCasland is a member of the Second Division.

(The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported on Aug. 8, 1952 that McCasland spent his 21st birthday on Heartbreak Ridge in 1951 — one of only 19 men in his outfit to get to the top. He also fought at Bloody Hill, Mundoung Valley and other battles. The news report said he was spending time at home on a 30-day furlough, arriving in Lake Placid on Aug. 6 after 10 months of frontline fighting in Korea. He served on Koje Island for several weeks before his rotation home and was to report to Fort Devens, Massachusetts, at the end of his leave.)