Today In Salisbury’s History: Sunday, July 18, 1976

Sunday, July 18, 1976 —

  • Damages have been assessed at $225,000 in the blaze that consumed the Southern States Cooperative on Vine Street just off Salisbury Boulevard. The fire, which began Thursday at about 1 p.m., engulfed the property so fast that it was fully ablaze when fire trucks arrived just 5 minutes after the first call. Officials believe the fire started in a feed and storage area. Fire Chief Frederick Williams said the massive flames and summer weather made the firefighting especially difficult.
  • C&P Telephone officials announced their system changeover was a success, but phone users are still angry about the changes. For years, Salisbury-area residents have only had to dial five numbers — either a 2 or a 9, followed by four digits. Now callers have to dial the 7 and 4 as well, meaning seven numbers have to be used to complete a local call. People who fail to dial the 7 and 4 are now hearing a message explaining the new dialing procedures.
  • A review of inmate cases has revealed that only nine of the 48 people being housed in the county jail are there serving sentences and the rest are awaiting trial. One man, accused of assault, has been awaiting trial for 290 days. State’s Attorney Richard Warren said the blame for the trial delays can be attributed to several areas — defense attorneys, those accused, the judges and the police. Warren, who said anything more than 40 days is a long delay, said most delays occur when police investigators are trying to gather the info needed by prosecutors. 
  • Construction has begun on the Salisbury Indoor Racquet Club at Court Plaza. Owner/developer Bob Layton said the said the facility will offer four tennis courts but will be configured to accommodate up to six courts, depending on need. The plans call for two courts on either side of a center second-floor clubhouse. 
  • Sometime during the next week, NASA officials will launch a four-stage Javelin sounding rocket which is expected to release red, white and blue chemical clouds that will be visible up and down the East Coast. The clouds will be viewed and analyzed to measure electric and magnetic fields, as well as upper atmosphere winds.
  • The Salisbury City Council has approved a raise for itself and Mayor Elmer F. Ruark. The mayor’s salary will rise from the current $2,000 annually to $3,500. Council members will now be paid $2,500 from their current $1,500. Mayor Ruark wasn’t present for the raise vote — he and Mrs. Ruark are still on a three-week trip to Great Britain, which included an extended stop in Salisbury, England.
  • The City Council has agreed to use local and federal dollars to fund $16,000 in projects needed at the Poplar Hill Mansion in Newtown. The money will go for a burglar and fire alarm system, as well as for some chandeliers resembling those from the 1800s. Much of the local money is cash leftover from a $60,000 state grant that the city used to buy the historic property. After much discussion about whether nonresidents can serve on city-affiliated boards, the council agreed to name Mr. Phillip A. Insley Jr. of Old Mill Lane to a seat on the Friends of Poplar Hill Mansion.
  • Maryland State Police said they are baffled by a burglary that occurred at the Perdue Farms corporate offices on Old Ocean City Road. Troopers said a door had been broken open and several electric typewriters were found stacked on an office table — but only one typewriter was missing.

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