ISLAND HISTORY


Two firefighters stayed overnight at the Beavertail home of Town Administrator Frances Shocket during a late-season winter storm, The Jamestown Press reported May 25, 1993.

Firefighters Joe Perry and Mike Ehrmanntraut, who are trained emergency medical technicians, were invited to stay at the home after surges from the storm flooded the road at Mackerel Cove during high tide. This made them available in that area in case there were an emergency.

100 years ago — May 20, 1922

(Newport Mercury)

There is a strong probability that the U.S. battleship fleet will come to Narragansett Bay for two weeks in August.

75 years ago — May 23, 1947

(The Newport Mercury and Weekly News)

A pending bill to establish a direct primary in Rhode Island was discussed during a forum in Jamestown. Valentine Rohange, state representative from Portsmouth, and Mrs. William Foster, legislative secretary for the Rhode Island League of Women Voters, were the speakers.

Rohange, speaking on why there should be a direct primary, referred to his experiences at the capitol in Providence

“Unless you attend the session,” he said, “you have no idea of the idiotic things going on.”

According to Rohange, the state budget was $16.23 million in 1941, and he wanted to know why the state needs to double that figure for the upcoming fiscal year.

“Not a man in the statehouse can give an answer as to why we need it,” he said.

These lawmakers, he said, cannot be held accountable through an indirect primary.

Foster, however, said “the direct primary is not the panacea for our troubles,”

“The trouble is that men who were elected in the last election are voting on the bill,” she said. “They hesitate to change the rules of a game that they are winning, and they want as many safeguards as possible under the new system.”

50 years ago — May 19, 1972

(The Newport Mercury and Weekly News)

Skip Harrington, the captain of a 107-foot former submarine chaser, awoke to find his boat aground near the Jamestown Yacht Club.

Working to tow his engineless chaser with a 40-foot fireboat to Jamestown from Rockaway, N.Y., the disaster is among a series of incidents for Harrington, his wife, four children, two dogs and their cat.

With the threat of a $100 daily fine for docking disabled boats in the former ferry slip, Harrington waited for the tide to rise to tow the sub chaser with the 40-footer. With the danger almost cleared, however, the battery on the tow boat failed. Just in time, the U.S. Coast Guard arrived with its 44-foot rescue boat to tow the boats to safe harbor.

Safe on land, Harrington said the only thing he could do was “find a cup of coffee then go into church and think.”

25 years ago — May 22, 1997

(The Jamestown Press)

Republican Craig Amerigian has unanimously been elected president of the GOP-controlled town council.

“I really feel honored to be in this position,” he said.

Amerigian received the most votes during the election. His party mate, David Dolce, was elected vice president.

10 years ago — May 24, 2012

(The Jamestown Press)

Barbara Szepatowski, a former councilwoman, is expected to be named town moderator.

Szepatowski received two write-in votes during the 2009 election. Jim Donnelly, the only candidate on the ballot, resigned due to complications from back surgery.

The post goes to the next highest vote getter, and Szepatowski and Chris Powell both received two votes. Powell, however, is not interested in the position. There also were 20 write-in candidates who received a single vote, including “Mickey Mouse.”