This Week in Dayton History: Search for ‘world’s worst weather,’ Jerry Lucas honored and more stories to remember

Throughout this year, we’ll be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Dayton Daily News with stories, photos, videos and more.

Each week, we’ll being you a selection of notable stories that happened this week in Dayton history, chronicled by the same newspaper that continues to serve the community today.

Here’s a look at some stories happening the week of March 26-April 1.

March 26, 1938: 8 Daytonians are nabbed in numbers raid

Three men and five women were arrested during a raid on an alleged “numbers” establishment at Tecumseh park, near Medway.

The arresting officers confiscated a safe, seven adding machines, a lock box and a quantity of alleged “numbers” slips.

The operation was seen as one of the largest of its kind in Ohio and to be a clearing house for Dayton, Springfield and perhaps other cities. It’s estimated daily “take” by the house was approximately $2500.

Officers said about 40 people fled when they arrived. All of them were thought to be “runners” of the game who sold the tickets and contacted the winners to pay them off when they “hit.”

March 26, 1946: Flyers end search for ‘World’s Worst Weather’

A group of 10 Air Materiel Command and Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. personnel took a 73-day round-the-world flight in a B-17 in search of terrible weather. The trip began and ended at Wright Field in Dayton.

Their object was to test the most severe electrical and static conditions that interfere with radio and other flight apparatus.

The specially equipped B-17 was named “Two Kind Words” and was built for storm chasing. It ranged from the Arctic to the sub-tropics in search of storms. They traveled 34,000 miles during the journey. The only time they were grounded was during good weather. They waited until the worst weather hit and then would take off again.

March 27, 1954: Mother, son reunited after three-year separation

Ourania Karras had waited for three years and then three days of delays at Cox Municipal airport to be reunited with her son Panayiotes,

The son was the last member of the Karras family to arrive in America and it took a special act of Congress introduced by Rep. Paul Schenck to get him to Ellis Island.

The Karras family had left Greece before Panayiotes was released from the army. Two sisters and a brother were arrived in America three years prior.

Once out of the army, Panayiotes stayed on the family farm for three years until quotas were opened to include him.

To prove he wanted to waste no time in being identified as an American, he told his uncle to translate his name into English. So he immediately went from Panayiotes to “Pete.”

“Pete” Karras and his family opened and ran the Wilmington Heights IGA for almost 40 years, according to his obituary

March 27, 1962: Jerry Lucas chokes up in humble thanks during OSU tribute

Basketball legend Jerry Lucas, from Middletown, got emotional while making his final public appearance as a member of the Ohio State basketball team at the annual appreciation banquet.

Years of emotion and feeling swelled up to crack the dead-pan mask that had protected Lucas on and off the court, but which has caused him to be called a robot, an emotionless basketball player.

“I’ve never had trouble getting up to talk in front of people,” said the three-time All-American, “but I’m not sure how to say this. I’m so thankful for so many things.”

Player of the year awards from both the United States Basketball Writers association and United Press International were presented to Lucas for the second successive year.

Lucas went on to play eight season in the NBA and in 2021 was placed on the NBA 75th Anniversary Team as one of the greatest players in history.

March 28, 1980: Fairborn won’t forget hostages

From November, 1979 to January, 1981, 52 American diplomats were being held in Iran in what was known as the Iran hostage crises. People all over the United States placed American Flags in their windows and yellow ribbons on trees during this time.

On this date, 10 girl scout troops gathered in front of the Fairborn Public Library to tie large yellow ribbons on the trees along Main Street and Central Avenue.

“These ribbons symbolize the American hostages and they will not be taken down until each one is back home again,” said ten-year-old Kim Kelly of Troop 657.

Dorothy Taylor, leader of Troop 409 said the idea of using the yellow ribbons came from Penny Laingen, wife of Bruce Laingen, who was one of the hostages. The troop had met Mrs. Laingen during a trip to Washington and found out the same thing was being done there.

The idea was then presented to Fairborn City Council who approved the project.

“Our purpose in doing this is to keep the hostages in the minds, hearts and prayers of the American people,” Taylor said.

March 26, 1993: Teacher strike wreaks havoc in Dayton schools

Widespread reports of disruptions inside marked the first day of the Dayton teachers’ strike. Officials estimated that 85 percent of the district’s 1,900 teachers honored the strike. About half of the district’s 28,000 students stayed home. Students who did arrive for school reported virtually no teaching in most high school and middle school classrooms.

Teachers were upset over a proposal that their raises be tied to student test scores.

”You have no control over how your kids do on tests if they don’t come to school,” said Colonel White High School teacher Margaret Peters.

In addition to the salary-test score issue, the two sides did not agree on health insurance, voluntary transfers by seniority and retroactive pay issues. Teachers had voted more than 4 to 1 to reject what the school board called its final offer.

The strike lasted 16 days after a new four-year contract was overwhelmingly ratified.

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