2017-12-21 / Island History


The school committee unanimously passed a $6.23 million budget for 1999-2000 that represents a 6.7 percent increase, The Jamestown Press reported Dec. 23, 1998.

The ballooned spending plan was fueled by an uptick of 3.5 percent in teachers’ salaries. Transportation costs also jumped 3 percent.

100 years ago — Dec. 21, 1917 (Newport Daily News)

Christopher L. Champlin, senior captain of the Jamestown & Newport Ferry Company, died this week. He was 63 years old.

Champlin, a South Kingstown native, moved to town in 1874 and was appointed ferry pilot. When his mentor Thomas McDonald died, Champlin was named senior captain of the line. “Through his unfailing good nature and devotion to duty, he was held in the highest esteem by his employers because of his unquestioned integrity,” the story said.

75 years ago — Dec. 25, 1942 (Newport Mercury)

Harry S. Clarke, a Jamestown native who plays tackle for the Lehigh University football team, was named to the All-Pennsylvania third team by the Associated Press. The Bethlehem, Pa.-based team finished the season 5-2-1.

According to AP sportswriters, Clarke was considered for the first and second team but fell short of those honors. He will graduate with his class in January and then attend officers training school for the U.S. Marine Corps.

50 years ago — Dec. 21, 1967 (Newport Daily News)

Harry S. Westcott, Jamestown’s superintendent of schools, resigned to accept a lateral position in Scituate. He outlasted 14 candidates to earn his new position.

Westcott’s annual salary will be bumped from $12,500 to $15,200. Although he plans on fulfilling his contract, which expires in July, the school board said his “date of termination could be earlier if a successor were found” in the meantime. Westcott, 43, arrived in Jamestown in August 1965 from his principal’s post at Davisville School in North Kingstown.

25 years ago — Dec. 24, 1992 (The Jamestown Press)

Two weeks of emergency repairs to the Conanicus Avenue seawall are expected to cost the state nearly $100,000.

The work involved digging a trench along the back of the wall, installing plywood and then pouring concrete into the forms. Much of the damage was done by Hurricane

Bob in 1991, but those breaches were made worse by high seas and heavy waves that swept up the East Coast earlier this month.

10 years ago — Dec. 28, 2007 (The Jamestown Press)

The town council met in special Christmas Eve session to unanimously approve $3 million in bonding to purchase 140 acres of farmland on the Dutra and Neale properties.

The move followed the Conanicut

Island Land Trust’s decision to retreat from the publicized preservation deal. Quentin Anthony, president of the environmental organization, said the board withdrew from the deal because of contractual changes that were made. The original deal only allowed houses and barns on the 15 acres where they currently were located; the revised agreement, however, opened 2 acres of the preserved farmland for structures.

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