2017-11-16 / Island History


Michael P. Smith, a retired U.S. Navy commander, died from a heart attack following his third annual Veterans Day speech at East Ferry, The Jamestown Press reported Nov. 16, 1989.

A veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, Smith, 72, enlisted as a Navy reservist when he was 17 and was called to active duty in 1941. He also was an avid sailor who designed and built the Rooster class sailboat that was popular on Narragansett Bay in the 1950s and ’60s.

100 years ago — Nov. 20, 1917 (Newport Daily News)

Teachers at the grammar school hosted an informal afternoon tea for the children’s mothers.

Superintendent Richard Tucker gave a short talk, asking for cooperation among the teachers, parents and children.

At the suggestion of the mothers, a club was formed, with the details of its nature to be decided at their next meeting. The tea was capped off with a performance by the ninth-grade girls, who also served refreshments.

75 years ago — Nov. 20, 1942 (Newport Mercury)

Servicemen from the Coast Artillery B Battery at Fort Wetherill defeated their counterparts from the A Battery in a WPA touch football game at the recreation field.

The only score of the game came when Kriz Konns crossed the goal line for the B Battery gridders.

50 years ago — Nov, 20, 1967 (Newport Daily News)

A man escaped injury when his car spun out of control and was extensively damaged at Southwest and Hamilton avenues.

Police said Norman Alves, of Narragansett Avenue, was driving south on Southwest Avenue when his car went off the road, snapping a utility pole, damaging a 30-foot section of guard rail and smashing into three concrete posts before coming to rest. The windshield, rear bumper and left rear quarter of the car were damaged.

25 years ago — Nov. 19, 1992 (The Jamestown Press)

The search for missing sailor Mike Plant has intensified.

Plant has been reported overdue from his single-handed sail from New York City to France. The 41-year-old departed the United States in mid-October and was expected to arrive in Europe around Halloween.

He hasn’t been heard from since he radioed a passing freighter, which was 48 hours after he left New York. In that communication, Plant told the freighter captain his 60-foot vessel had lost all electrical power. A week later, a brief distress signal was picked up from Plant’s onboard emergency satellite signaling beacon.

The Coast Guard is searching for Plant in two sections of the Atlantic Ocean: 640 miles northeast of Bermuda and 415 miles north of the Azores.

10 years ago — Nov. 21, 2007 (The Jamestown Press)

Nine days after voters went to the polls, ballots in town were recounted, although the results were certified with no change in the outcome.

Michael Schnack, who narrowly lost re-election for his council seat, had exercised his right for a recount because he trailed Barbara Szepatowski by 28 votes.

According to Rhode Island law, any candidate who falls within 2 percent of the total votes cast in an election with fewer than 5,000 votes can demand a recount. Schnack, a Democrat, had 774 votes compared to Szepatowski’s 802.

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