75 years ago

A reduction of 50 percent in production and 31 percent in personnel will be made at the government-owned and Dow Chemical Co. operated Dow Magnesium Corp. plant at Velasco in compliance with an order received this week from the War Production Board and announced by officials of the company.

The order, which, according to local company officials, if effective immediately, will result in the release of 680 employees out of a total force of around 1,850, including ofice personnel.

Plants of Dow Styrene, Dow Chemical co. and Ethyl-Dow Chemical Co. here will not be affected whatsoever, and will continue in full-production operation indefinitely, company officials said.

The curtailment at government owned magnesium plants is general and will affect all such plants through the country and result in the release of a total of 4,300 workers. The cutback at all plants will amount to 40 percent in primary ignot production.

Plants affected are government-owned facilities in Las Vegas and Gabbs, Nev., and at Austin, Texas, and Velasco. The curtailments are the results of decreasing military requirements and increasing stockpiles.

MPB said the cutbacks, scheduled to “take place over a period of time,” will reduce the current magnesium ignot output from 23,000,000 pounds to a level of about 14,000,000 pounds and will result in the eventual shutdown of the Basic Magnesium Inc. plants at Las Vegas and Gabbs, and the International Minerals plant at Austin, officials said.

The bulk of workers released will be at the Las Vegas and Gabbs plants, where 3,200 workers will be affected. WPB said that the release of workers will be gradual because the Las Vegas plant is scheduled to produce 12,000,000 pounds of magnesium during the remainder of the year.

The War Magnesium Commission, according to a United Press release, said tht all workers released from the two Nevada plants can be placed readily in West Coast war jobs in various localities.

It is likely that many who will leave employment at Dow Mag will be men living in other parts of this and other counties who have been traveling back and forth to work daily, and who for some time have been anxious to get back to the farms permanently.

50 years ago

Brazosport voters went to the polls Saturday with obviously mixed emotions about a city sales tax.

Clute voters defeated the proposal 190-92 and Lake Jackson residents defeated the measure by a vote of 778-356. Freeport voters, however, okayed the one cent sales tax by a vote of 532-375.

Freeport estimates it will receive some $150,000 in revenue from sales within the city. Of this estimated figure, 60 percent will go toward financing street and drainage improvements. The remaining 40 percent will go into the city’s General Fund for financing other city operations.

Clute city officials had anticipated the use of its sales tax revenue in three areas — streets and drainage, recreational improvements and salary increases for city employees.

Officials there had anticipated a tax revenue amounting to about $65,000.

City officials in Lake Jackson had planned to earmark its anticipated $50,000 income for capital improvements, but would not otherwise tie the revenue down.

Alvin’s Mayor Ted Hermann told a group in Clute recently that the tax had been a large factor in getting street improvements at a more economical rate.

Alvin has had the sales tax for over a year with all revenue from it earmarked for street programs.

He said that the city had been carrying out its construction program on a “cash basis” rather than by bond issue financing. Hermann estimated that the sales tax saved the city money by that method.

“We went out and bid $128,000 worth of work rather than sell bonds. If we had sold bonds we would have ended up paying about $256,000 for the same work,” Hermann said.

The proposal drew a light turnout throughout the area. Voting heaviest, Freeport’s vote was about two-thirds that of the city election in April, when the mayor’s race and one-way streets was on the ballot.

In Lake Jackson, the draw was barely more than half that of the city election, while in Clule, the 282 votes cast compared with 643 in April’s city judge election.

15 years ago

Organizers have raised $110,000 to build a giant statute of Stephen F. Austin in Angleton, and the work already has started on the sculpture.

Sehon Warneke, who is leading the effort to erect the statue of the father of Texas, said he’s “tickled pink” by the progress.

“We’re where we need to be to get the contract signed,” Warneke said. “I think it will get easier from here.”

The group, called the Stephen F. Austin 500, gets its name from Warneke’s goal of getting 500 people to donate $1,000 each to the project. Once completed, the site on Highway 288, just north of CR 290, will feature a visitor’s center and a reflecting pool.

On Thursday, Warneke received a $1,000 donation from the Descendants of the Austin 300, a group whose members can trace their ancestry directly back to one of the 300 people who came to Texas with Austin to form the first Anglo settlement.

The project was inspired by the giant statue of Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas, that stands along Interstate 45 in Huntsville.

The statute will bring more attention to Austin’s legacy, said Donna Johnson of Bay City, a past president of Descendants of the Austin 300.

“It means that we’re going to get some publicity for our organization,” she said. “I know the one of Sam Houston has brought a lot of publicity to Huntsville.”

Warneke said there have been some complaints from people West of the Brazos that the statue should be in West Columbia, where Texas’ first capital was and where Austin was buried for a time before being exhumed and moved to the city that bears his name. He noted the Brazoria Chamber of Commerce and the Brazoria Lions Club have made donations. Warneke said the Angleton site guarantees maximum exposure from Highway 288.

“This is a project for the entire county,” he said. “It’s not a project for just Angleton.”

The 70-foot statute should be completed by May, Warneke said. He met Wednesday in Houston with the sculptor, David Adickes, to review plans and take a look at a life-size model of Austin that Adickes has completed.

As for Thursday’s check, Warneke said it was symbolically perfect.

“The 300 is meeting the 500,” he said.

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