January 14, 2013

Lookback: Jan. 14-20


---- — 25 YEARS — 1988

▶ Federal kickback charges against Malone Public Works Supervisor Ralph Jesmer have been dropped, but charges could be re-instituted, according to U. S. prosecuting attorney Michele Hirshman. Jesmer was one of five North Country highway superintendents charged in an FBI sting dubbed “Operation Double Steel.”

▶ Schuyler Falls town officials and a consulting engineer resolved a lingering financial dispute, clearing the way for work to resume on the stalled Woods Mills Water District project. Under pressure from Woods Mills residents eager to see the project continue, the Schuyler Falls Town Board agreed to pay an outstanding $900 debt to Laberge Engineering and Consulting Group Ltd.

▶ Any major expansion of the Adirondack Forest Preserve could cripple the already ailing forest products industry in Tupper Lake, foresters warn. A forester with the St. Lawrence County Forester Department said that increasing the Forest Preserve by 10 percent, a stated goal of the Adirondack Council, would mean the eventual purchase of more than 500,000 acres, the impact of which would be devastating to that industry.

▶ More than two years after three deaths occurred on the Northway involving Canadian truck drivers, New York and the province of Québec have agreed to enforce traffic convictions against drivers from both sides of the border. The agreement is expected to stop Canadian truckers from ignoring traffic summonses written in New York.

50 YEARS — 1963

▶ Edward Joseph Fontaine, 18, and Joseph John MacKay, 17, were formally indicted for first-degree murder by the Clinton County grand jury. The two Mount Assumption Institute students, charged by city police with the bludgeon slaying last December of Rowe Buick automobile salesman Harold Stratton, were brought before Supreme Court justice Harold Soden for arraignment immediately following the presentation of the indictments.

▶ Fire caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage to the conveyors and crushers in the Republic Steel Corp. in Lyon Mountain. The blaze, which firemen think started in a faulty electric heater, will delay for at least a week the reopening of the mines a company spokesman said.

▶ Plattsburgh signed on the line for a new sanitary landfill, but the site probably won’t be in operation for a few weeks. Common Council happily signed a five-year lease on a 10 acre tract of land owned by St. Peter’s Church, on the south side of Main Mill St. and East of the D. & H. Railroad spur which runs to the Imperial mills.

▶ Morrisonville residents assaulted the Saranac River with chainsaws and pickaxes, as the river’s second ice jam in two weeks threatened to flood parts of the village. The chainsaws froze in near zero weather however, and pickaxes accomplished only a moderate channel in the frozen River, so demolition crews from Plattsburgh Air Force Base are scheduled to start blasting operations today.

▶ The Champlain Development Corporation thinks vocational training is Clinton County’s number one industrial need. The reason: Some industrial prospects are shying away from the County because it lacks skilled labor and the means of obtaining it from schools.

75 YEARS — 1938

▶ A fissure, forming rapidly on the lake 50 feet off the east shore of Cumberland Head sent one automobile to the bottom in eight feet of water, stranding another on the ice, and brought exciting hours to members of the winter colony off Gravelly Point. Three men narrowly escaped going down with the car, a Ford V – 8 owned and driven by Philip Murphy, guard at Clinton prison.

▶ Six persons were killed in the city of Plattsburgh, and 17 in the rural districts of the County by motor vehicle accidents during the past year according to the annual traffic safety report of Troop B State Police, for the year 1937. Essex County had six fatal traffic accidents in Franklin County 15.

▶ Paul Murphy, Latin teacher in the Dannemora High School, was arraigned on a charge of third-degree assault in connection with allegedly striking a student on a school bus passing through the town of Chazy. Murphy, who was in charge of a school bus load of Dannemora students returning from a basketball game at Rouses Point, is alleged to have struck a boy after the teacher stumbled over the youth’s feet, extended in the aisle.

100 YEARS — 1913

▶ Thoroughly disgusted with repeated falls from grace by Homer Mitchell, who has a failing for getting drunk on every possible occasion and usually takes an extra heavy load when a relative dies, a number of residents of Lake Placid determined to teach him a lesson in decency he will not soon forget. Putting a rope around him they hauled him through the streets, still loaded, and administered a horse whip good and hard, at the same time giving him warning that unless there was immediate reformation in his conduct he would get another dose of the same medicine.

▶ John M. Derby, the well-known labor leader of the city, has been commissioned by Samuel Gompers, the recognized head of the Federation of Labor, as district organizer for the city of Plattsburgh and vicinity, and he will begin his labors as such that once. This commission authorizes Mr. Derby to form local unions of all kinds in the name of the Federation of Labor which will, when formed, be affiliated with that body.

▶ A very largely attended and enthusiastic meeting of the Plattsburgh Taxpayers’ Association was held at the courthouse at which steps were taken looking to the securing of a legislative act that will provide for the city its proportionate share of representation on the Board of Supervisors. The taxpayers of the City of Plattsburgh pay at least one-third of the Clinton County taxes, but only have one-eighth of the representation on the Board of Supervisors of said county.

▶ Road building by convicts is advocated by Joseph F. Scott, superintendent of state prisons, in his annual report to the legislature. “I believe from my experiment in building roads in the vicinity of Clinton prison, that public sentiment would support the movement and stand for some escapes that would necessarily take place.” Twenty-five men from Clinton prison were employed last year in road construction between Plattsburgh and Dannemora.

— Compiled by Contributing Writer Shawn Ryan