25 YEARS AGO — 1998
• Charles Schumer knows how he’s perceived around these parts. After all, northern New York is a Republican stronghold, and he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat. In fact, not only is he a Democrat, he’s a Democrat from New York City — a species that traditionally hasn’t endeared itself to this region. Schumer is also one of the nation’s leading gun-control advocates, while, by and large, the North Country is a place where the Second Amendment is often considered gospel. And, he even joked once on the floor of the House of Representatives that as far as he was concerned, the West starts on the other side of the Hudson River. Well, the nine-term congressman soon will no longer belong just to Brooklyn. In January, he’ll take over the Senate seat he won from 18-year Republican incumbent Alfonse D’Amato, (despite losing 47 of upstate’s 52 counties), and will represent all of New York for the next six years — the North Country included. “I know there’s skepticism about Chuck Schumer in the North Country,” the senator-elect said during a recent meeting with Press-Republican editors and reporters. “But I’m going to work as hard as I can to prove myself to the people here and work twice as hard to help” the North Country. “I didn’t come up here before the election asking for votes. I came here after the election” to learn about the area and find out how to improve it. “All I’m asking for is a chance.” So far, he has visited Plattsburgh, Watertown and Ogdensburg, visited the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base and toured Fort Drum with Rep. John M. McHugh, a Pierrepont Manor Republican whom Schumer calls a “fine guy.” Schumer acknowledged he has much to learn about northern New York. He’s just beginning to learn the needs of the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corp. But he said he understands the North Country’s need for good-paying jobs and the ability to attract industry here.
• The Clinton County Fair has a new manager, and he wants to bring a new, improved flavor to the annual event. Steven Frederick, who was assistant manager last year, has replaced longtime manager Bill LePage, who stepped down earlier this month after serving for 14 seasons. Frederick sees the move as an opportunity to breathe new life into the county fair. “I remember in the ‘80s the fair was so crowded you couldn’t walk,” he said. “Over the years, interest in the fair has dwindled. But I want my kids to be able to enjoy the fair as much as I did when I was a kid.” Frederick has already set a lot of goals for the fair, including an increased emphasis on education! “I’m the last generation of Frederick to have lived on a farm,” he said, explaining that his father sold the family farm a few years ago. “My kids are 2 and 4, and they have never been on a farm. There are fewer and fewer family farms around, and the fair is where non-agricultural kids can learn about agriculture.” He also wants to improve the fair’s role in attracting industrial exhibits. He plans to have some new displays on the lumber industry next year, including a working sawmill.
50 YEARS AGO — 1972
• “What is my part? What is your part?” Al Grissino, director of the park and beach complex asked 25 North End businesspeople at a recent meeting. He spoke to the businesspeople, motel and restaurant owners and representatives of the business association of the North Country Shopping Center at a luncheon at the Inn of the Nations. “I’ve never had an unsuccessful program and I don’t intend to start now,” Grissino told the gathering, explaining that the beach complex was “right down his alley” but that his experience with buildings like the Crete Memorial Civic Center was limited. He told them, however, that he had been in contact with over 200 arena managers and had feedback on operations from all of them. “We need cooperation for this,” he said. He then explained the Crete Center has limitations. It has a limitation of 4,000 people, he said. A floor can be put over the ice and a basketball floor can be put into use also. He added that a dance floor is now being ordered. However, he said, there are no small rooms to accommodate 30 or 40 persons. “You will be under the gun to provide this,” he told the gathering. “We will not have the ability to cater,” he added.
• Results of a poll of Northeastern Clinton Central High School students indicates more than 67 percent of 335 students responding want to establish a community youth center and are willing to work to build one, as reported by Stephen Southwick at a recent meeting of the Champlain Narcotics Guidance Council at the North Country Medical Center. The group decided to conduct a follow-up poll with a questionnaire asking for specific suggestions for the youth center from all high school students.
75 YEARS AGO — 1948
• State Senator Benjamin F. Feinberg said yesterday he would sponsor a measure in the 1949 legislature designed to “deal effectively” with undesirable comic books. The Plattsburgh Republican, who has been Senate majority leader since 1944, said that “unquestionably, certain so-called comic books have been a contributing factor to the rising wave of juvenile delinquency. Many of these books constitute an evil and demoralizing influence upon the minds of the younger generation during its formative years when the mind is most receptive,” he declared. Feinberg told a press conference that the matter was brought to his attention by the campaign against such books being conducted by many religious and civic groups throughout the state. Feinberg noted that “it is the duty of all good Americans to make certain that our children are reared and taught in a proper environment free of immoral influences which menace the home and the family.” Feinberg said he had no particular books in mind, but that he had asked his research council to make an “intensive and exhaustive study of the situation.”
• Fred Lavarnway, of Rand Hill, could nail the skin of a 300-pound black bear to his barn door today as proof that there are bears roaming the wooded reaches of the neighborhood. Lavarnway wasn’t looking for bear when he went into the woods near his home Saturday, the final day of the deer hunting season. Later he said it looked more as though the bear was looking for him. “I was going and he was coming,” he told a neighbor. Lavarnway emptied his gun at the approaching animal, which looked as big as an elephant. His last shot wounded the animal badly. Returning home, he enlisted the aid of Joseph Frenyea, a brother-in-law, and other members of his family. The seriously wounded bear had dragged itself about a mile, a neighbor related. When the party came upon it, its members were forced to fire eight shots into the animal’s body before finally dispatching it. Efforts by Lavarnway and Frenyea to drag the bear home were fruitless. A farm tractor and stone boat were brought into play before the hunters succeeded in returning home with the trophy. It looked yesterday as thought it would take the combined efforts of the family armed with pliers to remove the lead from the bear’s carcass.
100 YEARS AGO — 1923
• The Tuberculosis Clinics held in the City Hall during the year 1923 have been well attended. From January 1 to November 14, 14 clinics have been held. The specialists in attendance were Dr. H. A. Bray, Dr. J Weher, and Dr. H. S Van Nostrand, all from Ray Brook Sanatorium. They have been assisted by Miss Irene Goddeau, City Nurse. From those clinics, 115 persons have been examined; 16 positive cases have been diagnosed; 25 positive cases reexamined; 26. suspicious cases examined; 12 suspicious cases reexamined; 33 negative cases examined and 4 negative cases reexamined. Patients from all over the county attend these clinics, which constitute one of the biggest assets in our community health program. These clinics are financed by the Clinton County Committee on T. B. and Public Health and the committee is much gratified to present this report and hopes in the coming year to provide more clinics than were possible with the funds on hand this year.
• Miss Mary K. Sweeney of 5 Delord Street of this city, daughter of Patrolman John Sweeney, may soon have the satisfaction of seeing her own motion picture on the screen. Miss Sweeney, who is a student of the first high school grade at St. John’s School, has had a scenario accepted by a business in New York which has declared that the scenario should be well adapted for a motion picture. Miss Sweeney began writing motion picture scenarios when she was 15 years of age. The idea of the picture came through a dream which she developed and after considerable writing has completed. The scenario was sent to the Bristol Photoplay Studios in New York City and recently this business forwarded a contract to Miss Sweeney telling her that her motion picture would be forwarded to the leading producers in the country until it sold. The scenario appears to have undoubted merit. The story, entitled “Romance,” naturally involves a love affair as the basis for the plot. If produced, it is possible that Plattsburgh movie fans may have a chance to see this picture on the screen. Miss Sweeney has worked at her scenario outside of school hours and says that she takes great pleasure in the work. She has shown a rare ability for this kind of work.
— Compiled by Night Editor Ben Rowe
25 YEARS AGO — 1998