William Bowen Thomas

William Bowen Thomas

William Bowen Thomas

William Bowen Thomas 
Born May 29, 1920 
Lived in Burley 1930-1937
A founder, CEO and President of Big O Tire Company


William Bowen Thomas, known early in his life as Bowen and later as Bill, was born May 29, 1920, in Castleford, Idaho. He lived in the Starrh’s Ferry area of Burley from 1930 to 1937. Those were important years for him. During that time he met and dated Wave Young, the girl he would later marry. He also learned to work hard, as did others who grew up during the Great Depression, and he absorbed the values of honesty, thrift, and courage that later would cause him and his contemporaries to be known as “the Greatest Generation.”

When Bill was fourteen years old, an accident occurred that would greatly affect his later life. As he came into the narrow outbuilding where the family car was, he stumbled over a pile of potato sacks. He fell forward, bumping his right arm. “The pants I was wearing were white,” he later wrote. “As I walked around the car, I could see my white pants were all black in front. As I walked out into the sunlight and raised my right arm, blood was shooting out and that black on my pants was red. That bump I had felt was a mower blade going into my arm.”*

Read the rest of this life story by clicking here


Proposed Property Tax Changes Will Impact Our Library (Kathleen Hedberg)

Recently I learned that Governor Otter’s proposal to eliminate the tax on business equipment (the personal property tax), would reduce our Burley Public Library’s property tax revenue by 9.52%. The bulk of our library’s revenue comes from property taxes.

I then went to Idaho State Tax Commission’s Report and found that this proposed cut would damage much more than our library. The property tax revenue to these local units would be cut by the following percentages:

Cassia County 14.61%

Minidoka County 18.39%

City of Burley 9.52%

City of Rupert 23.03%

Cassia County School District 16.23%

Minidoka County School District 18.39%

College of Southern Idaho 10.79%

Other Mini-Cassia cities and property tax-supported entities such as highway and cemetery districts would also receive cuts. (To see the full report go to

http://tax.idaho.gov/n-feed.cfm?idd=358 and click on the link near the bottom of the page that says 2012 Personal Property Tax Analysis.)

Such cuts would either decimate essential services in our area or would force local tax payers to make up the shortfall through the proposed local option tax. The bulk of the money that would be taken from our local area would go to large corporations, which, though they may provide jobs in Idaho, send their profits out of the state. (Small business will no longer have to pay this tax when Idaho’s growth reaches 4% and the law passed in 2008 becomes effective.)

If you are as concerned as I am about what these proposed cuts would do to our local area, please contact our legislators. They are being bombarded by the lobbyists from the large corporations. They need to hear from us.

Kathleen Hedberg

President, Friends of the Burley Public Library