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January Almanac: On this day in our city’s history …



Jan. 1, 1982: In “a rare coincidence,” Sally Palmer, 29, gives birth to the first local baby of the year, five seconds after midnight, a feat she accomplished the year before, in 1981, one second after midnight.

Jan. 2, 1982: Despite an 8.2 unemployment rate, Clark County’s population, up 9 percent from 1980, hits 500,000 for the first time.

Jan. 3, 1945: Residents of Henderson Township flee their homes as chlorine gas escapes from the BMI plant.

Jan. 4, 2006: Boyd Gaming Corp. is planning the $4 billion Echelon Place resort, scheduled for completion in 2010 on the site occupied by the Stardust.

Jan. 5, 1939: Eleven years after a brief visit to Las Vegas and saying she would like to live here someday, aviatrix Amelia Earhart is declared legally dead, two years after going missing in the south Pacific.

Jan. 6, 1960: National advice columnist Abigail Van Burn, “Dear Abby,” speaks to Las Vegas High and Rancho High School students about “going steady, courting in automobiles, teen marriages and girls in slacks.”

Jan. 7, 1955: Sophie Tucker is appearing at the El Rancho Vegas.

Jan. 8, 2009: Pledging not to raise taxes, Gov. Jim Gibbons proposes that state workers, schoolteachers and university employees take a 6 percent pay cut.

Jan. 9, 1909: “Hobo tourist” Walter Smith is run out of town after “enticing and leading a (local) 5-year-old girl among the bushes near the creek.”

Jan. 10. 1983: In a debate at UNLV, Conservative pundit William F. Buckley calls for “the elimination of all taxes on corporations,” and liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith argues against “cuts to programs for the poor.”

Jan. 11, 1924: Industrial engineer H.E. Davis from Los Angeles predicts the Vegas valley may become one of the world’s “garden spots”— with an estimated population of more than 25,000.

Jan. 12. 2002: U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, identifying “the most significant aspect of his political life the past year,” reportedly says, “Honestly, my warm feelings about (U.S. Sen.) John Ensign.”

Jan. 13, 1983: William Sipsas, 28, is convicted of beating and killing his live-in girlfriend’s daughter, 5-year-old Jennelle Rahja — and sentenced to life in prison.

Jan. 14, 1939: At Ethel’s two liquor stores — 28 Fremont and 411 Fremont — a half-pint of “good whiskey” costs 30 cents.

Jan. 15, 1982: Former busboy Philip Cline, 24, is convicted of setting the Las Vegas Hilton fire that killed eight people.

Jan. 16, 1932: Movie actor Rex Bell, husband of movie star Clara Bow, is robbed of $800 on Fremont Street by “two Las Vegas thugs.”

Jan. 17, 1952: Local school enrollment is 6,663 students and for the first time is higher than that of Reno’s, at 5,587 students.

Jan. 18, 1982: Four jets from Nellis Air Force Base’s Thunderbirds crash while training at the Indian Springs Auxiliary Base, killing all four pilots.

Jan. 19, 1952: Key figure “Big Rockey,” a 19-year-old marijuana pusher, has been fingered by area youths after “some 50 youngsters in Vegas (regularly) were ‘getting high’ on marijuana joints.”

Jan. 20, 1969: District Attorney George Franklin announces that “a ‘Mod Squad’ of teenagers will be formed to help uncover narcotics peddlers in our schools.”

Jan. 21, 1974: The District Health Department is allowed to remain open after “12 persons outside the clinic have been arrested for selling heroin and methadone.”

Jan. 22, 1952: Another suspected pusher, a 23-year-old going by the name “Chinta,” in the teen drug story involving “Big Rockey,” says he gets his supply of marijuana “from a noncommissioned officer at the air base.”

Jan. 23, 1992: Dana Plato, one-time child star on the TV series Diff’rent Strokes, and who once robbed a local video store with a pellet gun, is back in jail on a parole violation.

Jan. 24, 1930: At the Tower Market, navel oranges are 25 cents per dozen; three rolls of 1,000-sheet toilet paper, 25 cents.

Jan. 25, 1992: Controversial band Guns N’ Roses, at the Thomas and Mack Center, breaks all local attendance records for an arena concert.

Jan. 26, 1960: Mayor Oran Gragson proposes to regulate the town’s 17 massage parlors by “prohibiting masseurs from massaging the opposite sex,” and disallowing “operations behind locked doors.”

Jan. 27, 1932: Four area children have been stricken with infectious spinal meningitis in the past week.

Jan. 28, 1992: The County Commission announces that “15 supervisors and staffers with the Clark County Fire Department no longer will receive triple pay for holidays they don’t work.”

Jan. 29, 1981: Amid controversy over lack of community representation, the sex education panel of the Clark County School District agrees to appoint “a black person” to the panel.

Jan. 30, 1944: Three childhood polio cases have recently been reported in Las Vegas — adding to the growing national epidemic of 12,000 new cases in 1943.

Jan. 31, 1930: The first word on the first radio station in town, KGIX, is scheduled to be spoken in a trial broadcast at 6 p.m..

Sources: Las Vegas Age; Las Vegas Morning Tribune; Review-Journal; Sun.