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Old dynamite stick found at L'worth store


February 02, 2011
Tony Gallina and partner Grant Jones, who own Stephenson's General Store in Leavenworth, notified authorities this weekend after finding an old stick of dynamite in the basement of the store.

"We have been preparing to use the basement as a place for a new line of hardware," Gallina said. "Grant and I were in the basement with a hardware salesman, and he walked over to an old refrigerator and opened it. The salesman saw what appeared to be an old wick — an old orange-colored piece of twine — laying on a shelf in the refrigerator. We hadn't noticed it before. Then, I raised up a piece of paper, and we realized it wasn't just a wick but a stick of old dynamite, as well. We knew it was old because it had a wick. Blasting caps were used to set off dynamite in more recent times."

The three men knew that old dynamite could be unstable and called the Crawford County Sheriff''s Department. The sheriff's department called a state police bomb squad.

"But one of our local firefighters, Jeff Lahue, came over and took it out of the store," Gallina said. "He took it out of town and met with the bomb squad."

Years ago, Stephenson's actually sold dynamite. The sticks of dynamite were stored in one old refrigerator and blasting caps were stored in another one.

"That was probably long before you had to have a license to use dynamite," Gallina said. "We recently found an old dynamite cap box down there, but it was empty and we saved it because it was so old. We never dreamed there was a stick of dynamite down there."

The bomb squad used a small blast from another source to detonate the stick of dynamite in a rural area, and there were no injuries or damage.

"We've just decided to have a little fun with it all," Gallina said. "We were thinking about naming our popular hot dogs 'dyno dogs' and maybe adding a small piece of spaghetti to resemble a wick.

"We haven't gone through everything down in the basement yet, but they used to have funerals here and I'm hoping there won't be any forgotten bodies down there, as well."

The store recently opened a laundry and now has lunch sandwiches and pizza as well as groceries and general merchandise.

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Schuler Bauer
Barbara Shaw
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