January 21, 2013

Lookback: Jan 21 to 27


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25 YEARS — 1988

▶ Editors for the Akwesasne Notes and Indian Times newspapers are convinced that the recent fire that destroyed the newspaper’s offices was arson. Managing Editor Doug George said that the offices were torched because the paper had begun printing articles connecting organized crime to gambling and cigarette smuggling on the reservation.

▶ Plans to restore emergency telephone service on the Northway has suffered another setback. The Federal Communications Commission has ordered a test of the system’s radio frequency to determine if it will conflict with radio broadcast in Canada.

▶ Former Malone Town Highway Superintendent Gerald Safford was sentenced in federal court to two years probation and ordered to pay $4,900 in fines. Safford, one of five North Country highway superintendents allegedly caught in the FBI sting “Operation Double Steel,” pleaded guilty in December to having taken $1,900 in kickbacks and bribes between November 1985 and February 1987.

▶ On Feb. 18, the U.S. Air Force is scheduled to announce the names of four bases it wants to send the new “Stealth” bomber to in the mid-1990s. Congressional military aides say odds are the Plattsburgh Air Force Base may not be among them.

50 YEARS — 1963

▶ The Champlain Village Board hopes to have full information Jan. 30 on the costs of a water system improvement program. The question is whether to seek an extra $70,000 in federal aid toward a new water system whose overall costs will probably be about $200,000, according to Mayor Clifford LaPlante.

▶ Workmen have been working right through the winter at AuSable Point, preparing it for at least limited use as a recreational area late this year. Bulldozers were seen clearing out the 6,290-foot road into the game management area of the $500,000 project.

▶ North Country educators are seeking a school district or other agency willing to sponsor a trade school willing to serve Clinton County and parts of Essex and Franklin counties. Volunteers for the sponsoring job will be called for at a meeting of school administrators in Plattsburgh next week.

▶ Common Council will be asked next week to contact Clinton County Assemblyman Robert Feinberg to seek information from the state on whose responsibility it is to “clean up the waterfront,” along North Margaret Street. Dr. Joseph Rudmin, county health commissioner, headed the discussion that concerned itself with the debris that has accumulated over the years along the beach in the North Margaret Street motel area.

75 YEARS — 1938

▶ Phelps Smith, son of the late Paul Smith, and proprietor of the Adirondack resort established by his father, provided in his will for the founding of a college on St. Regis Lake and a country club, both of which were to bear his father’s name. Mr. Smith, who had extensive interests in the Adirondacks, died of pneumonia Jan. 17 at the age of 74.

▶ Fire companies from five nearby communities assisted in battling a fire at Willsboro early last evening, which, for a time, threatened to wipe out the entire business district. The fire started in the Coffee Pot restaurant located in the Edwards block or “Old Tin” block as it is commonly referred to by the residents at Willsboro.

▶ About 10 more days will be required to complete the Weston contracts on the Rouses Point bridge. At the present time, 60 men are employed but it is said that this number will be decreased in the next few days when the cutting of the piles for the fender booms is finished.

▶ At a regular meeting, the Plattsburgh Common Council repealed the local law governing the retirement of local employees on half-time pay. The repeal does not affect anyone now receiving half-time salary, but prevents others who have served 30 years in the city’s employ from receiving such benefits.

100 YEARS — 1913

▶ A peculiar and possibly fatal accident at what is known as the Manly flats and South Plattsburgh occurred recently where a number of young people were skating on the new ice. When the crowd was the largest, Viotor Santor, a lad of about 15, stumbled and fell. In the crowd which came up behind him was Rubin Cooke, aged about 18. Cooke fell over the prostrate skater and in doing so came in contact with the sharp field hockey skate, cutting a short but deep wound to his throat, possibly severing his jugular vein. The boy is at his home, near death.

▶ The strike at the mines of the Witherbee, Sherman Company at Mineville and Witherbee is now almost a thing of the past, practically half of the force of miners having returned to work, and the greater part of those who are still out have expressed the determination to resume work this week. Under these circumstances it is probable that the strike will be a thing of the past before the end of the present week.

▶ Bids were last evening opened by the Board of Public Works for the clearing and grubbing of 15 acres “more or less” of the property purchased by the city during the administration of Mayor Senecal, upon which it is proposed to build the new storage reservoir for the city water system. The Board of Public Works approved the bid of Baker & Gregory, they being the lowest bidders at $125.50 per acre.

▶ Jim Patterson, the slayer of his own brother, is now in the Essex County jail in Elizabethtown, held on a charge of murder in the first degree to await the action of the grand jury meets next month. That desperado, whom officers have long feared, walked into their hands so easily that they hate to tell of it. He was walking toward Port Henry to give himself up when they met him on top of Crow Hill.

— Compiled by Contributing Writer Shawn Ryan