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  • Austin College will celebrate the inauguration of its 16th president, Steven P. O'Day, with an investiture and installation ceremony Friday, March 23, at 5:00 Wynne Chapel. Members of the campus and surrounding communities are welcome to attend the ceremony and several accompanying events occurring throughout the week at no charge. Attendees are asked to register in advance on the Austin College website where a full listing of activities may be found.
  • Handicapped parking and wheelchair ramps are scarce at Fossil Creek Park on North Sulphur River. But with the help of a walking stick (not cane---STICK) and my three young grandchildren, I was able to hobble, scream, and scramble in and out of the "canyon" on a drizzly summer morning.
  • I grew up in an extended family household which included my maternal grandfather and a bachelor uncle. We also lived nearby my paternal grandparents and visited them often. Most of the children I grew up with also knew at least one or two of their grandparents and were in contact with them on a regular basis. There were very few nursing homes at that time because extended family could be counted on to take care of grandparents when they needed assistance. That is no longer the case, in part because the younger generation is less able and willing to take care of elderly relatives. Even visiting them on a regular basis is difficult in some cases.
  • The Southwest Information Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released, County Employment and Wages in Texas–Third Quarter 2017. The report shows national rankings for the 346 largest counties in the U.S., including 25 large counties in Texas. The report also provides September 2017 employment and wage levels for the 229 smaller Texas counties.
  • Bring a wagon or cart to fill with yard and garden purchases from local vendors. Speakers will present timely information on outdoor living in North Texas. Also tour the on-site research gardens. $2 donation per person to enter with proceeds benefitting Volunteer McKinney. At Myers Park & Event Center.
  • 1937 – The New London School explosion in New London, Texas, kills 300 people, mostly children. The New London School explosion occurred on March 18, 1937, when a natural gas leak caused an explosion, destroying the London School of New London, Texas, a community in Rusk County previously known as "London." The disaster killed more than 295 students and teachers, making it the deadliest school disaster in American history. As of 2017, the event is the third deadliest disaster in the history of Texas, after the 1900 Galveston hurricane, and the 1947 Texas City disaster. In the mid-1930s, the Great Depression was in full swing, but the London school district was one of the richest in America. A 1930 oil find in Rusk County had boosted the local economy and educational spending grew with it. The London School, a large structure of steel and concrete, was constructed in 1932 at a cost of $1 million (roughly $17.9 million today). The London Wildcats (a play on the term "wildcatter," for an oil prospector) played football in the first stadium in the state to have electric lights. The school was built on sloping ground and a large air space was enclosed beneath the structure. The school board had overridden the original architect's plans for a boiler and steam distribution system, instead opting to install 72 gas heaters throughout the building. Early in 1937, the school board canceled their natural gas contract and had plumbers install a tap into Parade Gasoline Company's residue gas line to save money. This practice—while not explicitly authorized by local oil companies—was widespread in the area. The natural gas extracted with the oil was considered a waste product and was flared off. As there was no value to the natural gas, the oil companies turned a blind eye. Untreated natural gas is both odorless and colorless, so leaks are difficult to detect and may go unnoticed. Gas had been leaking from the residue line tap and built up inside the enclosed crawlspace that ran the entire 253-foot length of the building's facade. Students had been complaining of headaches for some time, but little attention had been paid to the issue. At 3:17 p.m., Limmie R. Butler (an "instructor of manual training") turned on an electric sander. It is believed that the sander's switch caused a spark that ignited the gas-air mixture. Reports from witnesses state that the walls of the school bulged, the roof lifted from the building and then crashed back down, and the main wing of the structure collapsed. The force of the explosion was so great that a two-ton concrete block was thrown clear off the building and crushed a 1936 Chevrolet parked 200 feet away.