Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


January 4, 2007

Mines on the Interurban to Mystic


In 1936 Clarence Arnaman, 42 years of age, was killed instantly by electrocution from a machine while handling a 220 volt cable, He was head man and the two other workers were Victor and Eddie Blazovich.

The large, modern Sunshine mines that operated well into the 1940’s and 1950’s utilized some of the latest techniques. In addition to electric powered mining machines to undercut the coal, blasting was more common to help bring down the coal. In preparing his “shots”, he would bore deep holes with an auger to accept a large amount of powder. The shot would be inspected by a shot examiner to certify that the shots were properly placed. The miner then inserted the blasting powder and placed fuses at the front. He used dirt to seal the openings and direct the main force of the explosion back into the coal seam. In early days, the miners fired their own shots, about three per day. Later a special shot firer was used for this dangerous work.

Of all the mining operations, this required the greatest skill. The miner had to be knowledgeable about the composition of the coal seam, the drilling process and the use of blasting powder. Proper placement of the shots was critical. If the blast was too great, it blew coal all over the room and might dislodge some of the props.

Some of the other positions needed to keep a large mine running smoothly were the timbermen, the track layers, wiremen, mule drivers, the hoisting engineer, the check weighman, and finally the mine foreman.

As the miners worked ever more deeply into the mine, the support system had to be extended to the outermost locations. The trackmen followed the timbermen and extended the rails to the coal faces. Whenever there was a turnoff, they had to install switches. They also had to keep extending the track. The wiremen constantly extended the electricity for the mining machines. Doors had to be built to the various, new air shafts.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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