2017-04-13 / Island History


Torpedo damage to the starboard shell of the USS Capella, looking aft. The cargo ship was accidentally struck in 1942. U.S. NAVY PHOTO Torpedo damage to the starboard shell of the USS Capella, looking aft. The cargo ship was accidentally struck in 1942. U.S. NAVY PHOTO A veteran police officer may face disciplinary action for firing a shot inside the police station in September, The Jamestown Press reported April 18, 1996.

According to the investigation, a semi-automatic handgun was accidentally discharged at the station’s video monitoring system while the officer was sitting at a computer terminal in dispatch. The $600 control box was destroyed.

The weapon, which was not the officer’s, had been confiscated as evidence in a suicide. The clip had been removed, but a bullet remained in the chamber.

Town Solicitor James Donnelly will meet with the police union’s labor lawyer this week.

100 years ago — April 13, 1917 (Newport Daily News)

A proposal to spend $30,000 for a new schoolhouse was defeated, 44-22, at the annual town meeting. The school committee recommended constructing a four-room brick schoolhouse for the children, who now are taught at Town Hall.

75 years ago — April 17, 1942 (Newport Mercury)

The USS Capella is anchored in shoal water at Potter’s Cove after it was accidentally torpedoed in Narragansett Bay.

According to a U.S. Navy release, the 4,070-ton cargo vessel “is in no immediate danger.” The report indicated the missile, which traveled 10,000 yards before striking the Capella, was discharged because of a defective firing circuit on the torpedo boat. Eight enlisted men suffered minor injuries.

While the Navy did not say whether the torpedo exploded, reports from Jamestown suggested two blasts, including one explosion that shook homes on the island’s northern end. At the time of the mishap, the Capella was lying about three-quarters of a mile off Gould Island in broad daylight.

50 years ago — April 13, 1967 (Newport Daily News)

Tuition to send 27 students to St. Catherine’s Academy will increase in the upcoming academic year, according to Superintendent Harry Westcott. The cost will be $525 more than the $9,450 budgeted by the school committee.

In other news, the board accepted the resignation of William Glen, who is retiring after 45 years as the school’s engineer. The committee also is opposing a Senate bill that would authorize the state Department of Education to suspend school throughout Rhode Island for bad weather.

25 years ago — April 16, 1992 (The Jamestown Press)

The town wants to pay its $3,000 dumping fee by using money owed by the state for cleanup costs at Mackerel Cove following the World Prodigy oil spill.

According to Town Administrator Bob Sutton, the town has not received “as much as one cent of reimbursement.” Sutton said the $3,000 would be considered a “partial payment of this overdue account.”

The council voted 4-0 to send a letter to Thomas Getz, head of hazardous waste at the state Department of Environmental Management. Previously, Getz refused Sutton’s offer, which forced the councilors to take action. According to Getz, there is no mechanism for accepting an uncollected debt as payment for a renewal application on waste management.

10 year ago — April 19, 2007 (The Jamestown Press)

A nor’easter with pounding winds and 3 inches of rain washed away parts of the seawall on Conanicus Avenue at the Emerson entrance to Shoreby Hill.

Damage from the storm was reported across the island. Downed utility lines on North Main and Plymouth roads forced a 12-hour power outage, while astronomical high tides and crashing waves closed the road between Mackerel and Sheffield coves because of ocean debris that washed ashore.

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