20 Years Ago | 1999
• Philip Morris has agreed not to pursue contract-grown tobacco, at least for this year. The cigarette maker’s proposal had angered tobacco growers, who in turn threatened to support President Clinton’s plan to add 55 cents to the excise tax on cigarettes if manufacturers tried to move away from the current auction buying system.
• Two of the nation’s giant tobacco companies say they are working on plans to remove a potentially carcinogenic compound from their products. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. is experimenting with a curing process developed by a small Richmond firm to remove some of the nitrosamines from tobacco. Nitrosamines, which are related to nicotine, cause cancer in laboratory animals.
• NASCAR Winston Cup points leader Jeff Burton, driver of the Roush Racing/Exide Batteries Ford Taurus, has captured first quarter voting for Driver of the Year. Burton collected 10 first-place votes and 102 points to outdistance defending and three-time Driver of the Year NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, who finished with 48 points. NHRA Funny Car drag racer John Force received the other two first-place votes and 41 points to finish third in balloting by a blue ribbon panel of 12 national motorsports media. Force was the 1996 Driver of the Year.
40 Years Ago | 1979
• R. H. Carter of the Rodden community is one of many county farmers who have begun planting their 1979 tobacco crop. Carter, along with his wife, Estelle, and friend Mary McDowell began their planting operation April 30 and planted approximately an acre of land before quitting time. Carter said he hoped to finish planting his crop sometime in the coming week and to start harvesting his 12-acre crop sometime around the first week of July. Carter is using Spaight G-28 tobacco this season.
• Gov. John Dalton painted a dreary energy picture May 1, 1979 and said it is up to state government to convince others a real emergency exists. “The average citizen is still not convinced that there is a legitimate and a growing energy shortage and that it will continue to get worse,” he said. “I think that as state employees, it is up to us to take the lead in conservation measures,” he added. The governor said despite all the official statements and all the publicity, energy use continues to rise.
• Grand National star Darrell Waltrip came and took South Boston by storm Sunday in winning the pole position in pre-race qualifying and then leading 110 laps in winning the Town and Country Motors 200 NASCAR late model sportsman race. The race marked the first time ever that a specially imported top notch driving star had come to South Boston Speedway, taken on some of the best late model sportsman drivers in the country and still came out on top.
60 Years Ago | 1959
• Virginia’s senior Senator, Harry F. Byrd, is scheduled to be the featured speaker during South Boston’s Diamond Anniversary celebration Aug. 2-7, 1959. Sen. Byrd will crown the festival queen at the fairgrounds Monday evening, Aug. 2, 1959, where the weeklong dramatization of South Boston’s 75-year history will be unfolded by a cast of hundreds.
• McAlister Construction Company of Roanoke was low bidder at $91,839.35 for reconstruction of a bridge over the Atlantic and Danville Railway at Virgilina and for lowering the railway grade under the bridge and some auxiliary street paving when bids were opened yesterday in Richmond. The narrow arching bridge on State Route 49 will be lowered to a level about even with the nearby intersection of Florence Avenue and Seventh Street. To lower the bridge level and widen it, the railway level will have to be lowered extensively.
• In the ad department: Hodges Jewel Box Inc. was advertising a Mother’s Day sale featuring a 24-piece stainless steel flatware set for $5.88. Faulkner and Lawson Drug Company announced its move into new headquarters three doors above its old location. Wilborn’s hardware was advertising special discounts to any Babe Ruth League, Little Boys Baseball Inc., County League or other organized baseball team as the season opens. Specials included McGregor gloves for $8.98 and baseball shoes for $4.95 with rubber spikes for $4.25, catcher’s masks for $7.65 and ball caps for $1.25. Edmondson Oil Company, a Richfield gasoline dealer, was giving away “the exciting new 1959 Richfield Baseball Guide featuring 44 action-packed pages of complete National and American League schedules.