Lookback: Week of July 8 to July 15

Francis Neri of Plattsburgh holds a six-legged frog that jumped into his boat while he was fishing in the Saranac River. He said he once found a five-legged frog, but no one believed him because he set it free. Now that this one is documented, he plans to set it free as well. (1994)

25 YEARS AGO — 1994

• In some segments of the community, hope is still alive for Plattsburgh Air Force Base to stay open.

But Congressman John McHugh said that the chances for a re-direct are slim.

He spoke to Air Force Chief Gen. Merrill McPeak earlier this year and McPeak told him that it is unlikely the Air Force will seek a re-direct for PAFB.

“None of this means that it can’t happen, it won’t happen, and that we shouldn’t discuss it, though,” McHugh said.

• Not much is known about the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s proposal to breathe new life into Plattsburgh’s doomed air base.

Because even as tribal leaders talked up their ideas with federal officials, neither they nor the officials seemed eager to divulge many details except for the fact that it does not involve gambling.

It was the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs that first asked the Pentagon to reserve unspecified parcels of base land on the tribe’s behalf.

• More than 200 people watched as former SUNY Plattsburgh President Dr. Charles Warren unveiled his portrait at the Feinberg Library.

“There should be a picture of the hundreds who define the students, faculty and friends of this institution because that is what it’s really all about,” Warren humbly told the crowd.

As dozens of wellwishers shook his hand and patted his back, Warren joked that “I asked for a mugshot of Robert Redford to go in there.”

50 YEARS AGO — 1969

• Two basic problems stalling construction of the Crete Memorial Center are finances and location.

The city has not received federal grants to build the complex, the cost of which would exceed the $850,000 left by Arthur Crete.

Aldermen have disagreed on location.

Mayor Francis Steltzer wants the civic center built near the beach. Several aldermen want the center in the city.

• Motel owners in the north and along Margaret Street marched on City Hall recently and met face-to-face with Plattsburgh’s aldermen.

They made their point: their businesses are hurting because of debris that’s floating up on Lake Champlain beaches and because of demolition in the North End Urban Renewal project.

The owners asked for the city to provide some help for the beaches at their establishment.

But Mayor Francis Steltzer said this was out of the question: the city couldn’t step in and use taxpayer money to help private enterprise.

• More than 450 parishioners attended the fourth-annual Men of St. Peter’s picnic on Cumberland Head.

Volleyball, horseshoes and eating were the primary activities of the day.

Father Richards is said to be the horseshoe champ again this year.

Father St. Pierre proudly announced that there was no chief chef at the barbecue pit. Everyone happily cooked his own.

75 YEARS AGO — 1944

• An interesting letter was recently received by Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Burleigh of 8 Smith St., Plattsburgh, from their son, Pvt. Clarence Burleigh, who explained that during a period they had not heard from him, he had been to Rome for a Catholic celebration and had seen Pope Pius.

“The Pope gave us all medals,” he goes on to relate.

“There were only two men from each company and I was among the lucky ones to visit the Pope. I have a beautiful picture of him and do I admire it! And is St. Peter’s Cathedral ever beautiful! That is a sight not many get a chance to see.”

• A dinner was given for 98 supervisors and foremen of the Republic Steel Corporation, Port Henry division, at the Lee House in appreciation of the enviable safety record being established in the division, which has now operated at full force without a lost-time accident since April 3, during which time one and a half million man hours have been worked.

• In response to an urgent request from state headquarters, the Plattsburgh War Council will conduct a one-day special campaign to collect waste paper, shortage of which has created a serious hazard to the war effort.

100 YEARS AGO — 1919

• Humane Officer Hennessy has a fine six-year-old boy for adoption.

The child is perfectly healthy and of good parentage.

Anyone wishing to see the boy should call up Mr. Hennessey.

• There is a most urgent call for flower vases and playing cards in the wards at the Post Hospital.

Wide-necked bottles or bacon jars may be used. Contributions can be left at McGregor’s store.

• Capt. Frank K. Ryan, who arrived from overseas during the past week on the Leviathan, arrived at his home in the City of Plattsburgh on Sunday morning.

Few, if any, Plattsburgh boys saw longer or harder service than did he.

During the 14 months spent in France, Capt. Ryan was constantly at the front and it seems almost miraculous that he escaped without injury.

— Compiled by Night Editor Ben Rowe

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