21 WFMJ archives / February 12, 1953 | Vindicator columnist Esther Hamilton was among the first to greet the World’s Championship Rodeo Exhibition when it came to the Youngstown Arena 71 years ago.  From left, Lou Iroff, arena manager; Esther; Tucson, the trick horse; and A.J. Tansor, Montana rodeo impresario. The show featured 40 cowboys and cowgirls and 100 steers and horses.

February 12

1999: A coffee pot left on in the basement of the Bethel Life Church on Sheakley Avenue in Hempfield Township, Pa., sparked a fire that destroyed the church and damaged the attached parsonage. 

The Columbiana School Board votes unanimously to continue the tradition of a three-day senior class trip to New York City. Superintendent Joseph Rottenborn said the company that organizes the tour has a $1 million insurance policy to protect the district and that past experience has shown that whatever problems arose were handled professionally. 

Struthers Mayor Daniel Mamula says it would cost $7.3 million to renovate the former Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. office building and less than $500,000 to raze it. The mayor says despite the building's historical value, refurbishing is not economically feasible. 

1984: Robert Wilthew, general manager of Copperweld Steel Co. in Warren, says the short-term prospects for the company are good, but long-term viability depends on investment in new technology. The company has 1,900 employees, 400 of whom are on layoff.   

Former Trumbull County Commissioner Walter Pestrak says he is coming out of retirement and will run for the seat held by Anthony Latell, who won the seat in 1980 when Pestrak retired. Pestrak says when he left office, the county had a $400,000 budget surplus. 

The Youngstown Municipal Airport records a high of 51 degrees, tying the record for Feb. 11 set in 1966 and 1976.

1974: Fire destroys Reed's Arena at 25 Oak Hill Ave., a 50-year-old landmark that hosted major high school and other events when it was known as Oak Hill Auditorium. The loss is estimated at $300,000.

The violence-plagued, 12-day strike by independent truckers in Ohio is virtually over, with privately owned rigs returning to the highways. 

1949: Three armed men robbed about 30 people at The Glen, a social club on Smith Street in East Liverpool, escaping with more than $3,000 in a getaway car that headed toward Youngstown. 

The proposal for a 100-mile conveyor belt that would carry ore and coal between Lake Erie and the Ohio River may cause a delay in a report by the Army Engineers on the Lake-to-River canal.

A brief business letter written by Abraham Lincoln in 1859 is found in the attic of the Case Institute of Technology, the school's historian discloses.