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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (May 10, 1914)
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PAGES ONE TO TWELVE
PAGES ONE TO TWELVE.
VOL. XLTLT NO. 47.
OMAHA, SUNDAY MOHNING, MAY 10, 1914.
las County's Care for
ndigent and Incompetent
kWO HUNDRED and eighty aged, Infirm.
crippled incompetent sick men and
womon, aro well carod for at the Doug
las county's poor farm and hospital.
Clean rooms, excellent food and spa-
clous, pleasing out-of-door surroundings charac
terize the county's charltablo institution.
Improvements brought into being principally b
the labor of the inmates themselves under a new
management' installed by the Board of County
Commissioners have made DouglaB county's poor
farm one of the best in the mlddlo west.
Mr. and Mrs. Fred C. Rogers who were placed
at the head of the poor farm by the county board
last February, might bo said to have brought with
them boxes of soap, barrels of water, carbolic acid
by tho bucketful and paint unlimited. At any
rate, the wholesomo materials appeared alinoat
simultaneously with ,the new managers. Then a
decision, reached as tho result of a consultation
between the members of the board and the new
superintendent, that it was for the best Interests
of the able bodied Inmates to work, caused a
gratifying change In tho institution, both inside
Now the poor farm 13 a place to which visitors
may bo taken with tho assurance that they will
go away praising this county for Its care of its
helpless men and women.
The Inmates themselves, says the superintendent,
show themselves appreciative to a surprising de
gree of efforts in their behalf. t A former mem
ber of Jesse James' "gang" named Callahan, doe.
the humble taskB assigned to him cheerfully. The
strong man of the institution, who is able to lift
weights totalling hundreds of pounds, but who Is
r.ffllcted with epilepsy, regularly pushes a lawn
mower over the county's beautiful grounds north
of the Omaha Field club.
A number of the men have regular tasks as
signed to them to which they are adapted. One
middle aged man, who has lost an arm, handle
the garbage, a hook being fastened to the stump
to enable him to carry pails. He isuite pleased
to be able to "earn his salt" The women assist
ir. the work Inside the big institution, the "seam-
si ress" being, however, a man in the insane ward
rather than a woman.
More than forty men and a number of womon
are doing labor, none from the tuberculosa or
surgical wards, of course, being expected to work
Work makes the inmates healthier and more cheer
ful, tho poor farm employes say.
The first work done was the, scrubbing of tno
walls and floors of the big Institution with a dis
infectant solution and the painting of tho walls
with cold water paint. This has been completed
ond the interior presents a dazzllngly clean ap
pearance. The kitchens have been cleaned and
painted and furniture and utensils scoured.
Several now outbuildings have been constructed
most of tho work being done with, the asslstanco
of only one hired carpenter who directed the labor
ot tho inmates. -The buildings include a new Icq
house holding 350 tons, a chicken house, hog yard
and feeding platform, which have been completed
and an implement house under construction. The
inmates have applied many gallons of paint to the
outside of the buildings and fences, and are stlU
A large flock of hens Is kept and "Chicken Joe,"
who looks and talks queerly, takes excellent care
of them. He also is a gardeneri An Incubator
will be purchased to increaBo the profits of the
Making garden is one of tho moat obvious way?
in which the Inmates may help themsalves and
the county at the same time and a good sized plot
U devoted to this purpose.
Hogs now are killed at tho farm Instead of being
sold and the county thus saves money. The keep
ing of hogs and chickons Is profitable, becauiw
quantities of table refuse are available for feed.
Twonty-threo acres of tho county's ' farm are
planted to alfalfa, seven to corn, four to potatoes,
two and one-half to clover and nearly three acrou
tc garden produce. This yoar tno farm work Is
nearly all done by Inmates under direction of a
skilled man. Tho county owns up-to-date farm
The Board of County Commissioners has ex
perienced some difficulty In connection with con
tracts for supplies to the hospital and poor farm.
I. learned that some contractors had been In tho
habit W substituting articles "Just as good" for
those on which bids had been made. Forms for
contracts now in use make it necossary for con
tractors to furnish figures on whatever brands or
kinds of artlolos they Intend to furnish aud the
contracts aro let on tho basis of the lowest prices.
The county now is buying eggs and oleouiai
gorlne In the open market, members of the board
having found this method more advantageous than
the former one of letting yearly contracts for those
supplies. Practically no attempt Is made to fur
nish real butter for tho inmates. Its high cost la
tho winter months Is prohibitive nnd tho board
members declare that they are unable to dolect a
difference In taste between buttr and a substitute
of good quality.
One chango In the manugoment of the poor
farm and hospital has been In tho personnel of
tho commltteo of tho county board which hus thorn
In charge. This year Henry McDonald, formor
chairman of the board, Is at the head of the county
hospital commltteo, the othor members bolni;
Frank Best and Thomas O'Connor. Mr. McDonald
succeeded Mr. Best as chairman of this committee.
Dr. J. E. Summers, chief surgeon nt the count
hospital, is In chnrgo of tho staff of internes and
nurses. Ho was selected for this position ono
year last January by tho county board, with tho
object of introducing a more rigid system' of dis
cipline than had previously existed. In this ho
has been entirely successful. The board yester
day created tho position of house physlolan and
named Dr. Charles F. Moon, an iuterno, to fill it.
Alex J. Young and Frank D. Ryder were selected
ar student Internes for the following year.
Changes have also been made in the staff of
nuruou in tho county hospital, Miss Margarot Mi
Grcovy, u graduato nurse of Wise Memorial hos
pital, having been mado chief nurse. Physicians
v ho work there doclaro that tho hospital will not
suffer by comparison with many privately owned,
hospitals. A training sqhopl is maintained theio
and thcro Is a staff of fourteen nurses.
The tuberculosis ward Is ono of the most Im
portant and costly departments of the big Institu
tion, and at tho samo tlmo ono of tho saddest.
Bocauoo tho poor victims of tho whlto plaguo who
j$o there aro usually In advanced stages of the dis
ease, many times tho troatmcnt is merely palliative
und not curative, Tho county does Its best for
pDtientB in tho deportment, supplying them with
newly laid eggs and other suitable food and ex-i
The tubcruclosl3 colony lives out of doors. Oa
tho couth sldo of tho big hospital building the
patlonts Uvo In an open dwelling enclosed by wire
netting. Most of the patients In this ward are
Economy as woll as efficiency is an aim toward
which tho mnncgomont of the poor farm directs
Us efforts. Although more than $600 has been
spent for .materials for permanent improvements
.during tho threo mouths Mr. Rogers has been iu
chargo, total oxpenses havo been only 1200 mora
thnn for tho corresponding period last year. Mr.
Rogers has agreed with tho county commissioners
that tho institution should not cost the county
more than ;?50, 000 per year tor running expenses
It the cost is kept within this figuro It will rosult
In a saving? of from $10,000 to X 17,000 per year.
A crltlcipm of tho county hospital mado by tho
Ipst grand Jury wa3 that no proper account was
Kept of supplios purchasod and used by tho various
departments. To corroct this tho superintendents
father, J. M. Rogors, has taken tho position oj
steward and oach day checks every article pur
chased and notoc to what department it goes.
Mr. and Mrs. RogerB wero proprietors of a hotel
for several years and Mr. Rogers has been con
nected with successful business establishments
since boyhood. Ho declares that In his opinion
the management of an Important public institution
is a man-sized Job, of which he may bo proud If h
accomplishes it In satisfactory manner and visitors
who obsorve the contentment shown by the help
less dependents who live at the poor farm, working
out of doors or in, lounging about In the inn, sit
ttag in wheel chairs or lying in their beds accord
ing to tho condition of their health, are disposed
to agree with him.