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North Pinellas history: 1945: OPA is blamed for meat shortage

1934: Looking north down Fort Harrison Street towards the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater.

Special to the Times

1934: Looking north down Fort Harrison Street towards the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater.

CLEARWATER — Last night, a Dunedin market proprietor laid blame for the acute meat shortage in the central Pinellas section squarely on regulations of the Office of Price Administration. The agency holds retailers' purchases from wholesalers at lower ceilings, he said, while allowing restaurant proprietors to buy choice cuts at a premium.

Tom Parnell, operator of a Dunedin food store, made the criticism. His normal weekly requirement of four to six carcasses of beef has been whittled down to just one carcass, he said. And his meat sales have dropped from an average of $1,200 a week a year ago to between $700 and $900 today.

Parnell had part of a quarter of Florida beef in his store yesterday afternoon, a little bacon and quite a lot of butter that wasn't moving very fast because of the hike in point value. Salesmen from the three big packing company branches at Tampa have called on Parnell this week. None of them had a pound of beef to sell him at any price. One offered one carcass of lamb and another two carcasses. Parnell has a customer load of around 500 per day. He has been getting from 50 to 75 pounds of ham to distribute among them.

"Restaurants can buy meat from the wholesalers at from five to six cents more than we retailers are permitted to pay," Parnell said. "My customers keep asking me for meat. I keep asking the packers' salesmen and they keep telling me 'there is none available.' The shortage is worse now than it has been since the shoe began to pinch early in January and I don't know what we can do about it, although I am ready to join retailers in Clearwater at any time in presenting a joint petition to the Tampa OPA office or anywhere else we might be able to get relief."

May 8, 1945

City officials suggest rationing water

CLEARWATER — Facing the worst drought in the history of the county, city officials last night were reported to be considering a modified form of water rationing. The city gets its water from driven wells and reservoirs east of the downtown section. Additional wells are being drilled regularly to safeguard a sufficient supply for normal needs, but the endless chain of rainless days has given city water department officials no end of worry.

May 4, 1945

Farmer's market shortages worse

CLEARWATER — With the Clearwater area in the grip of a severe meat shortage, housewives faced another food problem today when stalls at the local farmer's market were bare of poultry, either live or dressed. Mrs. Joy Belle Hess, market manager, attempted to assuage the grief of customers, however, with a bountiful offering of eggs. But fresh vegetables were also scarcer than usual.

May 8, 1945

Word awaited on end of World War II

CLEARWATER — Like other American cities, Clearwater yesterday went into a tailspin over a barrage of reports concerning the end of the war in Germany.

Veterans organizations have completed tentative plans for a parade and special prayer services to be held in several churches. But nobody seemed to know last night just when stores will close, when the long-awaited V-E day celebration will be held, or what form the program will take.

Last word on the subject was this: If final surrender is announced officially before noon Tuesday, then stores and public buildings will close for the remainder of the day. But if the announcement comes after noon, the shutdown will be all day Wednesday.

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North Pinellas history: 1945: OPA is blamed for meat shortage 05/03/08 [Last modified: Saturday, May 3, 2008 3:29pm]

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