Mail Tribune 100: Dec. 11, 1918

    News from 100 years ago

    The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

    Dec. 11, 1918


    Five Medford citizens were arrested yesterday for disregarding the flu mask ordinance passed at a special session of the City Council Monday. They were all fined five dollars and paid their fines. A soldier on furlough in the city was also arrested but explaining that he had just arrived and was not familiar with the law was dismissed with a reminder. J.A. Westerlund who was arrested for carrying his mask on his chin, while smoking, after a second warning, gave notice that he would engage a lawyer and fight the question in the courts. The trial was set for 3 o’clock this afternoon. No verdict had been reached at press time. The other local offenders were Gus Laius, N.B. Thompson, J.M. Pletcher and Edgar Wight.

    City officials were much incensed at Mr. Westerlund’s action. “This is no time,” said Mayor Gates, “for our leading citizens to oppose a measure designed for the protection of the people of this city. The only possible objection to the flu ordinance is based upon technical grounds. I don’t care about the strictly legal phase of the matter and no other loyal citizen should call up such a question at this time. What we want is to spare as many lives in this city from this frightful plague as possible and the mask regulation is conceded by all experts to be the best preventive known. I earnestly appeal to all citizens to aid us in our work at this time.”

    “The flu situation is better today,” said City Health Officer E. B. Pickel this afternoon “as far as new cases reported is concerned, but it is still bad and the people are urged to observe every care and precaution. Four cases were taken to the Sacred Heart hospital today, which brings the total in that institution to 50. Only two of these cases are serious.

    “There is apparently some objection to the fly mask ordinance. I have heard it reported some business men are circulating a petition asking that the measure be repealed. If this is true the business men are injuring their own cause. With flu masks the individual can shop downtown without danger; without them there would be danger on every side. The flu mask has been used in many cities with excellent results. It is an absolute protection to the individual and a check to the spread of the disease. The business men of Medford should support this measure not only for their own selfish interest but for the welfare of the city as a whole. Masks help business and alone make normal business possible.

    “I have instructed every physician to report every case of flu to my office every day. Mayor Gates is supporting me in this and said today that any doctor not following these instructions would be arrested at once. This is no time to take chances. Medford faces a serious situation and the public health and safety demands the assistance of every man, woman and child.”


    There was one man in the city yesterday that believed in obeying the law, as he had a mask on himself and one on his horse. Unfortunately he got out of town without giving his address.

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