Vos: the mayor insists on the quote | Opinion

The mayor of Sheldon, George Carl’s Court, sent a list of people and their fines in the 1960s to the newspaper for publication. I left out the names of the people, but I am sharing the type of fine and the cost of it.

  • Incorrect departure from a parked position, fine of $ 10, plus fees.
  • Public intoxication, fine of $ 15, plus costs.
  • Failure to stop for stop sign, $ 10 fine, plus costs.
  • Excessive muffler noise, $ 10 fine, plus costs.
  • Overweight charge, $ 24, plus fees.
  • Night speed, $ 10 fine, plus fees.
  • Driving a motor vehicle with an improper exhaust system is fined $ 10, plus costs.
  • Surcharge, fine of $ 11, plus costs.
  • Speeding with a truck, $ 10 fine, plus costs.
  • Driving overweight vehicle, fine of $ 32, plus costs.
  • Driving a motor vehicle with an expired driver’s license, $ 10 fine, plus fees.
  • Violation of a restricted driver’s license, driving a truck, tractor and trailer, fine of $ 25, plus costs.
  • Failed to come to a complete stop and yield to oncoming traffic, fined $ 10, plus fees.
  • Violation of written promise to appear, fine of $ 25, plus costs.
  • Illegal possession of beer, fine of $ 25, plus costs.
  • Speeding, fine of $ 15, plus costs.
  • Failure to give way, fine of $ 10, plus costs.
  • No driver’s license, drives motor vehicle without valid Iowa operator or driver’s license, $ 25 fine, plus fees.
  • Passing on the right, fine of $ 35, plus costs.
  • Profanity and disturbance of public order, fine of $ 50, plus costs.
  • Parked in an alley, $ 10 fine, plus costs.
  • Failure to have control, fine of $ 25, plus costs.
  • Failure to stop for a school stop sign, $ 10 fine, plus costs.
  • A preliminary hearing was held, demanded a jury trial, and posted a $ 100 bond.
  • Second offense of driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated, $ 500 bail, release, seeking jury trial.
  • Failed to stop for stop sign with tractor, corn picker and wagon, $ 10 fine, plus costs.

Compare the costs of these fines with today’s fines. Today’s fines are much larger than those on Mayor Carl’s list. Also note the types of fines and the types that we see today. Today we see more drugs, speeding, seat belt violations, tinted windows, no insurance, no driver’s license and fines for abuse.

The mayor of Sheldon was in his own column.

Mayor George Carl was accused of failing to surrender immediately by Police Chief Jack Nels because he caused an accident.

Carl’s Ford pickup truck skidded down an icy, snowy street and collided with a car driven by 18-year-old Gail Ruby. After the accident, he realized he had hit his niece’s car. The damage to his pickup truck was $ 8. Her niece’s car sustained $ 30 in damage. Obviously the damaged parts were metal, not plastic!

No one was injured in the crash, but Carl said it was his fault because he was driving on a slippery, snowy street and he should have been more careful.

The mayor had the police chief bring a complaint, and if he didn’t, he promised him he would likely fire him.

Carl fined himself $ 10 and $ 6, which was the court’s standard cost for this offense.

Surprise santa claus

George Carl wore a Santa Claus costume, hat, beard and boots and spoke with boys and girls during the Christmas season at designated locations such as the Sheldon Community Building or the Sheldon Public Library.

Parents took pictures of their children with Santa Claus and he gave the children candy canes. Many young children were afraid of Santa Claus and were crying.

Some had multiple items they wanted for Christmas.

Sometimes Santa Claus reminded children that he especially liked milk and cookies when he brought their Christmas presents. No wonder he is slightly overweight. Sometimes the children were given cookies and milk after visiting Santa Claus.

I lived around the corner from George Carl’s house. One night my two children were behaving badly. They just celebrated their birthday and were 3 and 5 years old on the last November and on the first of December. It seemed like all they could do was take it out on each other. Several times I had separated them as they irritated each other.

So, I told them that Santa Claus could watch them and if he saw them he could decide not to go down the chimney of our fireplace and bring them Christmas presents. I hadn’t told them that again when they looked up and Santa was standing outside and looking out the living room window. You should have seen their faces!

I went to the door and invited Santa Claus to come in. What good timing for his visit!

He spoke to them and told them that they had to be good or that he would not bring them any gifts. He spent time telling them about their behavior and promised them that if they were good for the three weeks before Christmas, he would bring them the presents they wanted.

He really made a good impression on them. He gave them a candy cane and they even thanked him without me reminding them to say it.

After he left, they were good. Throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas they kept asking me if I thought they were good enough for Santa to bring them presents.

They made sure we took out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve and made me write a note to Santa saying they had been nice. They thought Santa Claus would believe me if I wrote it down and signed my name on it. As their behavior improved, Santa Claus was forced to bring them whatever gifts they wanted.

I had no idea that Santa Claus was coming to our house that evening. I was as surprised as they were. Ironically, the timing of his visit was perfect. After every Christmas when I saw George Carl he would mention how much fun this visit was for Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas everyone and have a Happy New Year. Hoping we have a COVID-free vacation period!


Millie Vos is Secretary / Treasurer of the Sheldon Historical Society and Director of the Museum and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Sheldon Prairie Museum.


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Kevin A. Perras