test #2

Prices Up at Pump: The Lords of Gasoline are jamming it to us again. The best price I could find for a fill-up last week was $1.43.9. This at a time when prices should be dropping a little. We’re out of the winter heating season and not into the summer driving season — and we should be getting a break at the pump.

You can count on excuses that the price of crude spiked, and the government will back that up. But I still think we’re getting it jammed to us, and getting a message at the same time: If you think this is bad, wait until summer and see what bad is.

Or maybe the Lords of Gasoline just wanted more of our money. How else would you explain price jumps of 25 to 30 cents in less than a single day? No, it’s the rich getting richer.

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Lightning at Home: The Rockford Lightning, who want a fan commitment for next season, are in the CBA playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the American Conference. That means two home games at the MetroCentre this week — 7:05 p.m. Thursday and 1:05 p.m. Saturday. The third game will be in Sioux Falls Sunday. Games four and five, if needed, will be in Sioux Falls and Rockford, respectively.

Will fans make the Big Orange Box the House of Blue?

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Kent, Patterson Bow: Ernie Kent’s Oregon Ducks got to the “final six” and then ran into a Kansas buzzsaw, losing Sunday in Madison, Wis., 104-86, as the Jayhawks controlled the boards 63-34. Kansas will play Maryland in Atlanta Saturday while Indiana and Oklahoma will battle in the other national semifinal game.

Oregon finished 26-9 as Rockford native Kent got the Ducks to a regional final for the first time in 42 years. Kansas beat Illinois earlier in the Midwest tourney as the Illini once again failed to show cohesiveness. It ended the Illinois career of Boylan’s Damir Krupalija, who showed grit in overcoming numerous injuries.

In the women’s NCAA tourney, Deb Patterson’s Kansas State team lost to Old Dominion 88-62 at Milwaukee. Patterson played at Rockford College and is starting her coaching career at Rockton Hononegah.

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Local Trivia: The movie theater question — following on the heels of Sunday’s Oscars — was a tight battle with “Postcard” Terry Small and Lewis Moore tying for the top spot with 18 correct names and locations on State and Main Streets.

Chuck Newburg was close behind with 16, followed by Bud Willsey 13, Marion Stenholm 13, Henry “The Bird” Wilson 13, Randy Kirchner 10, Patricia Taphorn 10, Marion Ekblad 10, Jim Samorian 7, Sandra Lucas 7 and Donald A. Anderson 6.

Here are the answers from my “team” of researchers (numbers following the names are addresses):

West State Street — Dreamland 112, Palm 105, State and New State 105, Colonial 307, Princess 322, Rockford Moving Picture Parlor 106 and Robin Drive-in 6903.

East State Street — Star (also Bijou) 213-215, Storefront, Ascher’s Midway (also Midway) 725-727, Belford Drive-in 8301 and Showplace 16 — 8301.

South Main Street — Columbia 1007, Rialto 1104 and Capitol 1124.

North Main Street — Orpheum 118, Palace 1151, Times 226, Coronado 312, Storefront 711 and North Towne Cinemas 3600.

You’re positive you’ve heard of others? Very likely because Rockford has had a ton of movie theaters. Remember these? Auburn on Auburn, Airdrome on Charles, Lyric on 7th, Majestic on Church, Family on 11th, Rockford on Park, Park on North 2nd, and Royal, Strand, Roxy and Rex, all on 7th. Plus, the River Lane outdoor and the Lin’s Air (also Sunset) outdoor.

I had some of these, but Mary Lou Liebich Yankaitis pored through old, dusty and falling-apart city directories to pin them down. Then she visited Lyle Baie in the hospital to get his thoughts — and his list from his son. That’s my research team.

“Never ask an old German for statistics — we are sticklers for detail,” said Mary Lou. Being of German extraction myself, I will attest to that.

In the 1902 directory, she found a listing for the Rockford Opera House at 115 N. Wyman. “I seem to be the only one who ever heard of an Opera House in Rockford, so I had to check this out,” said Mary Lou. “I don’t know about movies, but in one of those 1909 letters of my father, he wrote of going to a ‘girlie’ show at the Opera House during which one gentleman fell out of the ‘gallerie.’”

She said it was written up in a local paper.

Why is Terry Small nicknamed “Postcard”? Because for an earlier question on Rockford’s Harlem Park, he sent in his answer on a very old postcard of Harlem Park. This time he sent an early postcard showing an aerial view of the Northwest Tollway, “an ultramodern expressway linking South Beloit and Chicago.” I make it late 1950s or early 1960s because the photo is of a ribbon of highway cutting through farm fields and not much else.

The current question, No. 7 with a deadline of March 27, is what was the name of the former Five Points area drive-in that was well known for its waffle fries? It was a great spot for cruising.

For No. 8 (deadline April 3), we’re going back to the west side (that’s a clue) for a question suggested by Bill Simpson: Where did the Rockford Forest Citys of the National Association (forerunner of the National League) play their home games?

As always, fax, mail or e-mail your answers to me at The Rock River Times, and if you’re right, I’ll put your name in the paper.

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For What It’s Worth: I agree with those who are pushing for open primaries in Illinois. How I vote is no one’s business but mine, and I do not like the idea of asking for a Republican or Democratic ballot just to exercise my right.

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Are You Getting Old? According to an e-mail I received from a life long friend, you are getting old if you can remember:

l Candy cigarettes.

l Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.

l Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles.

l Coffee shops with tableside juke boxes.

l Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum, and of course, Beemon’s.

Call this Part I of Getting Old; there are other parts, and I’ll share more with you in the future.

If you wish to contact Phil Pash, you may e-mail him at frank@rockrivertimes.com or call and leave a message at 964-9767.

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