Lookback: Week of May 18 to May 25

PRESS-REPUBLICAN ARCHIVESMiss Muffet (played by Samantha Lorey, on the witness stand, above) is cross-examined by Shae Spider's defense team, Janelle Frenyea and Zachery Welch. The prosecutor (at right) is Karie Matthews. In an experiment to learn more about how the criminal justice system works, the elementary gifted and talented enrichment program at Northern Adirondack Central School participated in a staged trial based around the "Little Miss Muffet" nursery rhyme. (1995)

25 YEARS AGO — 1995

• An abandoned rifle range near the elementary school on Plattsburgh Air Force Base poses no significant health risk to people using the area. That’s the conclusion of a group of engineers studying several environmentally sensitive areas on the base as part of the Installation Restoration Program. “This is an abandoned Army range that was used during pre-World War II when the Army Barracks was on base,” said Dave Farnsworth, an environmental engineer from the Air Force Base Conversion Agency. Lead bullets at the rifle and pistol range may still be found in about four acres of property near the Northside School. The bullets themselves would not be dangerous if swallowed, because they would pass through the body quickly.

• Keeping up with the politically correct times, the Clinton County Association for Retarded Citizens has changed its name. Executive Director Richard Minogue explained that the word “retarded” gives off a negative connotation. Also the group was looking to come up with a name that more appropriately describes what the organization is all about. The new name is now the Advocacy and Resource Center, but the initials ARC will stay the same. Minogue says he hopes the new name catches on fast. “We hope that ‘retarded’ will be phased right out, but we realize things don’t always change overnight,” he said.

• Both downtown festival-goers and organizers called Saturday’s North Country days a success, despite some less-than-crowded booths at the inaugural event. The bulk of the crowds seemed to gravitate to a North Country days side event a few miles outside of town: the Plattsburgh Air Force Base final community yard sale. Lines and bumper-to-bumper traffic clogged roads leading to the base for hours, according to reports.

50 YEARS AGO — 1970

• Roderic Glenn Giltz of Valcour Boulevard was elected Tuesday a director of the New York State Association of Insurance Agents at the Association’s 88th annual convention in Syracuse. Giltz is treasurer of the Northern Insuring Agency of Plattsburgh. He has been with the agency for 11 years. In his new position, Giltz will help direct the activities of an organization representing over 3,000 insurance agencies in New York State, and will represent a district encompassing Franklin, Clinton, Essex and Hamilton Counties.

• Merrell Leavitt is not unlike your neighborhood mailman. He gets the job done. Leavitt is the ace gymnast at Plattsburgh State College and this past season enjoyed another remarkable string of successes. Leavitt is also a local boy who has made good, although he was born in Corvails, Oregon in 1949. A junior at Plattsburgh State, Merrell attended Plattsburgh High School where he played football, wrestled and was good enough in pole vaulting to take third place in a New York State Jaycees’ meet. His father, Dr. Ted Leavitt, is a professor of mathematics at the college and his mother works at the prescription center.

• Plattsburgh Air Force Base cannot expect delivery of its FB-111 strategic bombers any sooner than early 1971, according to Lt. Gen. David C. Jones, commander of the 2nd Air Force. Jones said that production delays at the General Dynamics plant have set the FB-111 program back about six months. The Plattsburgh base is scheduled to receive 30 of the new planes, replacing the present complement of B-52s.

75 YEARS AGO — 1945

• Army Air Forces activities at the Plattsburgh Municipal Airport will be accelerated in the near future, it was announced at a recent meeting of the Municipal Airport Commission. Installation of radio-telephone facilities at the airport will begin immediately, adding to the steadily-growing facilities of the landing field. Immediately following installation of equipment, the installation being made to confirm to army requirements, the Air forces will proceed to fly ambulatory planes to Plattsburgh, carrying patients for the AAF Convalescent Hospital at Plattsburgh Barracks.

• A convict strike at Clinton Prison, Dannemora, rumors of which were rampant in Plattsburgh yesterday, was discounted as a routine matter by Warden J.V. Jackson last night, when asked about the seriousness of the reported riot. Rumors took two forms. One had it that there had been a strike. The other termed the matter a convict riot. Warden Jackson said that the matter was not deemed a serious one. About fifteen convicts working in the prison’s tailor shop, he said, had acted on the belief that “they were going to run things,” he said. “As a matter of discipline, they’ve been ‘keep-locked’ for a time until the matter is settled.”

• Ingenuity, allied with artistry and good taste, has been one of the distinguishing accomplishments of the Evelyn Erving Dance Revue since it first made its appearance before a Plattsburgh audience. The Revue has also been remarkable for the infinite variety of both design and color which have marked its costuming and background. The Revue has been in rehearsal for the past several weeks and it is indicated that the presentation here, which is sponsored by Court Mary Immaculate of the Catholic Daughters of America, will prove itself a worthy successor to the many fine Revues that have been so thoroughly entertaining.

100 YEARS AGO — 1920

• Plattsburgh devotees of the gentle art that made Isaak Walton famous are overrunning the river banks, the bay banks, the creek banks and the lake banks these days. The word has been past that the fish are biting as they have not bitten since the days when the lake Samuel Champlain fought the Iroquois for the right to sit on the bank and meditate on the high cost of living and how good luck and a few nibbles well placed might help to keep it down. In plain English, this is intended as a hint to anglers that there are more and bigger fish being caught this year than most old settlers have any recollection of.

• The Open Air Concert at the City Hall by the Plattsburgh City Band given last evening attracted a large crowd of spectators. The concert was under the leadership of John F. Laeffert, band master, and much of the credit of the success of the concert must be given to him for the high standard to which he has brought the band. Following the Open Air Concert, in the auditorium of the City Hall, the Plattsburgh Orchestra School displayed their musical talent to much advantage by playing several selections which were loudly applauded by the audience. This school consists of little tots mostly, and it was very interesting to view their successful attempts with the music.

• H.D. Fitzgerald of Malone, who is repairing the steeple on the First Presbyterian Church, attracted about as much attention yesterday as an airplane doing stunts at a height of several thousand feet. In fact, the nervy steeplejack was doing some pretty good stunts himself, although he was not making any grandstand plays, but was going quietly and systematically about his work of getting his rigging into shape, which of itself is a feat worth watching. The church had been casting around for a competent man with the required nerve and ability of going up the 225 feet to the top of the steeple and making the necessary repairs.

— Compiled by Night Editor Ben Rowe

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